If the early reports are to be believed, Daniel Craig will be passing on the mantel of 007 to a new actor. Really, this shouldn’t come as a surprise given Craig’s statements during the press tour for Spectre. But who can blame the guy? Craig has had one of the best runs as the character, and at 48 it’s not surprising that he doesn’t want to spend his days jumping from trains or wading through frigid waters. But the great thing about Bond is that the character always returns, and we at AE have some inspired picks for a fitting replacement. We kept casting ideas open, with the caveat that the actor filling Bond’s shoes has to hail from the UK or Great Britain. We’ll easily bend on our American superheroes hailing from across the sea, but Bond is special and belongs to queen and country. Without further delay, here are seven actors we’d like to see replace Daniel Craig as James Bond.

Emily Blunt

Lionsgate

Lionsgate

The Goods: By now you’ve probably seen Emily Blunt pop up on our casting wish-lists a number of times and there’s a reason for that: she’s just that damn good. Blunt carries a spark that’s unmatched by either her male or female contemporaries. Charismatic, classy, humorous, emotionally engaging, and a true badass, Blunt has displayed all of the qualities to have defined James Bond over the course of her career. Blunt typically brings the weight of experience with her in her roles (Edge of Tomorrow, Looper) and it isn’t hard to imagine her as experienced field agent. There’s no one better for Bond.

The Grade: A+

Idris Elba

Focus Features

Focus Features

The Goods: Idris Elba is smoothness defined. He’s got a roguish charm that we could easily imagine getting him out of any tough situation. There’s also a unique physicality to Elba, not just in terms of sheer physical perfection, but in his carefully controlled body language that always seems to be a natural extension of his environment. Bond should be the coolest spy in the world, and Elba has the ability to sell that cool. Elba’s the closest we’ll ever come to replicating Connery, and given the chance he could certainly give the Scotsman a run for his money.

The Grade: A+

Carmen Ejogo

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

The Goods: Carmen Ejogo has been around in the industry for a while, but she really caught people’s attention in 2014’s Selma. With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Alien: Covenant on the docket, Ejogo is finally making her way into franchise films. While she may not immediately seem like an action-star, there’s an undeniable intelligence in her performances. If the Bond franchise continues to evolve like it always has, it would make sense for spy-work to become more reliant on intelligence gathering. Bond is said to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the world, and we believe Ejogo could easily convey that.

The Grade: A-

 Richard Madden

Focus Features

Focus Features

The Goods: Richard Madden is your classic Bond pick. He’s young, dashing, and has the appeal of being on a hit TV show behind him (Game of Thrones). Like Chris Hemsworth or Henry Cavill, 29-year old Madden is the kind of name that studios love to turn into stars. Like Connery, he also has the benefit of being Scottish. He’s displayed his ability to be a fierce if sometimes naïve warrior on Game of Thrones, and a romantic heartthrob in Cinderella, which would easily allow him to step into the character’s classic shoes. Sometimes franchises find their continued stride in sticking to status quo and if we want Bond as we’ve always known him then there’s no one more fitting than Madden.

The Grade: A-

Rhona Mitra

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

The Goods: Rhona Mitra has made her mark in a number of action movies that have become cult favorites over the years, but she’s yet to have the truly breakout role to make her a household name. Enter Bond. Not only does Mitra have the prowess to handle any action scene thrown at her, but she has the enigmatic quality that’s been a trait of the character in some of the very best Bond films. Craig’s Bond came to increasingly rely on his support team throughout his franchise, but perhaps its time to return Bond to a lone wolf status. Mitra, who’s displayed a knack for cunning and manipulative roles, could allow us the opportunity to see a Bond whose a little more rough around the edges.

The Grade: B+

Tom Hardy

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

The Goods: What can be said about Tom Hardy that hasn’t already been said a dozen times over? The guy’s a magnet, plain and simple. Similar to Craig, Hardy could clean up nicely in a tux, but he’d be equally impressive in a more causal attire. Hardy’s Bond would essentially be a serrated blade in the dark, seemingly smooth but efficiently brutal. This is a Bond who’d bring pain to everyone around him, not necessarily because he wants to, but because it’s in his nature. Somewhere out there is a Tom Hardy Bond film directed by Christopher Nolan that’s just waiting to happen.

The Grade: A+

Karen Gillan

Relativity Media

Relativity Media

The Goods: After a list of dark and tortured Bonds it’s time to head in the other direction. Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy favorite, Karen Gillan would allow for a lighter exploration of Bond, one closer to Roger Moore than Daniel Craig. Gillan would not only bring a can-do sense of cool but also a smart sense of humor that never undermines the stakes or overall tone of the Bond franchise. Maybe after being held at a distance from Bond’s inner life, it’s finally time to let us in. If any actor on this list can allow us to see the inner workings of Bond, it’s Gillan.

The Grade: A-

 

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Featured Image: Focus Features