What Bond Can Be: 5 Interesting Actors to Take James Bond into the Next Decade

As we all wait for November to see if we’re finally able to see the twenty-fifth installment of the James Bond franchise, No Time to Die, speculation continues about who the next 007 will be. While many people continue to hedge their bets on established names in Hollywood like Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, and Tom Hardy (it’ll be none of these by the way), history tells us that the keepers of the James Bond flame, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, rarely do what is expected of them.

You need only look back to 2005 when they choose a blond-haired, blue-eyed Daniel Craig as the successor to Pierce Brosnan. Nowhere near a popular pick at the time, Craig grew on fans quickly, strongly aided by a new, grittier tone in his movie installments. In one fell swoop, he left behind the campy feel of previous century’s films for dead.

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Now, in my opinion, even before who’s going to be the new 007, the Bond franchise has a serious problem it needs to take on. James Bond got old, both literally and figuratively. While he was looking for Spectre in a meandering mix of films, cinema cashed in on the Spy genre big. In fact, many other movies do much of what Bond did better. Mission: Impossible has the best action. Kingsman has all the gadgets. The Fast and Furious franchise has the cars. Jack Ryan has all the international intrigue. Jason Bourne has the shaky-cam. How does Bond get back his cinematic capital?

It’s simple. The franchise needs to once again reinvent itself and the way to do that is through character. Diverse backgrounds. Different experiences. Wider appeal. You can keep the core of James Bond (orphan, loner, hero) without having the same type of portrayal we’ve gotten for a half-century. Do your Paint by Numbers, but use broader strokes, is what I’m saying.   

Here are five of the most interesting English actors who, if given the franchise, could reinvigorate it for the next decade.  

Will Poulter

Age before beauty. Under thirty, Will Poulter would be the youngest Bond ever chosen. The Chronicles of Narnia and Maze Runner actor has boyish good looks and at 6’2 and he could more than cast the Bond silhouette. There is a street toughness about Poulter that might play against the tailored bonds of a tuxedo, but any internal conflict you can get is going to help his character.  

The stories would lend themselves to a younger crowd, maybe even prior to being in the British Secret Service and working up to being recruited. While it seems like his selection might be straying a little bit into Kingsman territory, you could work to create a story that took itself more seriously and focused on character over spectacle.

Henry Golding

Henry Golding is Malaysian born English actor who could take Bond in places it has never gone. He broke onto the scene with Crazy Rich Asians, had a great showing in Guy Ritchies The Gentleman and is the lead in the upcoming Snake Eyes (G.I. Joe Snake Eyes, not the Nic Cage 90s film). Hes a unique international star whos primed to make billions for a franchise.

Golding would be one of the more unique picks for Bond. While nowhere near George Lazenby in the inexperienced territory, he is a relatively new actor on the scene with little more than a handful of film credits. Then again, On Her Majestys… is some peoples favorite Bond film.

Riz Ahmed

Riz Ahmed would be a great choice for Bond. At 5’8, he might be a little too short to be a double 00, but if at 5’7 Tom Cruise can make a million Mission: Impossibles, Ahmed can make three James Bond films. It would be controversial to some to have a Bond with Pakistani lineage, but it’s a diverse avenue an Aston Martin could drive down.

It’s my feeling Bond Producers probably don’t want anyone already linked with a franchise. Ahmed has already done his Spiderman universe film Venom and a Star Wars film Rogue One, so he’s ready and available, unless DC comes calling.

Alfred Enoch

Barbara Broccoli said in a recent interview that “Bond can be any color.” Give me a better actor of color then Alfred Enoch. He’s had roles in Harry Potter franchise, TV’s How to Get Away with Murder and has also done Shakespeare. At 6’4, he’s the perfect height to take on Spectre and at age 30, he wouldn’t command the price and demands of a more established Hollywood actor. 

There have been many voices wanting a person of color to portray James Bond. Without much competition in the field yet, Enoch would be leading the charge in a developing demographic of the global film industry.    

Dev Patel

Being of Indian descent, Dev Patel would be a revolutionary choice for James Bond, but he’s mainstream enough that it’s not too radical of an idea. He, of course, came onto the scene with Slumdog Millionaire and has had lead roles in the films Hotel Mumbai and Chappie. 

Patel, age 30, would be a dynamic choice for the role. You can not understate the cultural impact the selection would have on the world’s nearly one billion Indian population. In a day and age where immigration and diversity are still hot topics, the stories would write themselves and be incredibly compelling.

What do you think of these choices? Who would you pick to be the new James Bond? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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