Discounting the maligned original Casino Royale, the seventh incarnation of Bond is on the way. With the official departure of director Sam Mendes and all but confirmed Daniel Craig leaving the 007 name behind, it’s time we take a look at a series of new names to take the Bond franchise in daring new directions for the upcoming reboot.

Shane Black

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros.

There is only one Shane Black in Hollywood. Under Black’s script and direction, the new series would thrive on foundations from his already established work. His low-stakes keep the action contained but still extravagant in how the heroes dispatch the villains, and the aura of mystery is present to keep narrative momentum constantly in forward thrust. From three-dimensional henchman to dark but funny narratives, it’d be a crime not to have Black work on a Bond film.

Kathryn Bigelow

Columbia Pictures

Columbia Pictures

Although I personally feel Kathryn Bigelow has yet to capitalize on her genre work following the western-vampire-gothic-romance Near Dark, she remains, without a doubt, one of the strongest directors working today. Her framing of action and visceral intensity has carried through her entire filmography, earning her an Academy Award for The Hurt Locker and several nominations for Zero Dark Thirty. It doesn’t matter what producers would want in the series, give it to Bigelow and our wildest dreams couldn’t come up with Bigelow’s final cut.

Michelle Maclaren

AMC

AMC

Known primarily for her vast work in television (your favorite episodes of Game of Thrones, The X-Files, and Breaking Bad), Michelle MacLaren has solidified her credentials as one of the most cinematic storytellers working on the small screen. It’s time for her to make the transition to big budget films to show the world what she’s made of on a massive scale.

Steven Soderbergh

Relativity Media

Relativity Media

Given his hybrid of stylization and fluid narratives, what better way to introduce a new era of Bond than the proclivities of Steven Soderbergh? With Haywire we watched Soderbergh’s direction lend itself to the basis of an action movie premise as well as a heist or caper flick (Ocean’s Trilogy and Out of Sight in particular). The rush Soderbergh discovered in Haywire would be on display tenfold if he were handed the reigns of a Bond flick. Now about that “retirement” he was so adamant about…

Kenneth Branagh

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Is there any undervalued director as classy as Kenneth Branagh? He’s had his fair share of misfires to be sure, but there’s a consistency to his handle on genre material. His previous outing on the espionage spectrum left much to be desired, but this is also the man who brought the God of Thunder down to Earth – literally and figuratively – in his first appearance. It’s too much to hope for a Bond movie where any extravagant mysticism is added into the proceedings, but maybe it’s time Bond was brought down to a more human level with his charm and wit intact.

James Wan

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

After blowing audiences away with the seventh installment of the evolutionary Fast and Furious franchise, Wan has proven he is more than just a horror director. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with being a horror director either. In fact his use of horror tropes helped create Jason Statham’s Jason Vorhees-pseudo villain in Furious 7. And who doesn’t want to see James Bond go up against an unstoppable villain who serves as his own henchman?

Michael Mann

Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures

A Michael Mann entry on a Diego list? Shocking, I know. But hear me out. Mann is fixated on men straddling lines between duty and their pursuit of happiness. Do their obligations bring them happiness in their own right or does it isolate them from what people perceive as normal lives? Does Bond love his job because he loves his country or is it the only thing he’s capable of doing? And then everyone will complain about his digital cinematography, but we here at AE will probably love it anyway.

Featured Image: MGM/Columbia Pictures