*Following the release of Spectre, a lot of James Bond fans started anticipating stories about a change in casting. Daniel Craig brought a wonderful new feeling to the franchise in Casino Royale and Skyfall (we won’t mention Quantum of Solace…), but it felt it was time for a new Bond when Spectre earned a mediocre reception and the actor started talking about the role as if it had completely exhausted him. However, fans are pretty much <em>always</em> speculating about who might be next in line to play 007, and that can cause us to jump the gun whenever rumors of a change arise.
There have been a few indications since the aftermath of Spectre that Craig will indeed be on board for one more film, and recently in an interview about the upcoming show Purity (which Craig will star in), Showtime’s CEO even felt the need to reassure the public that the role wouldn’t preclude Craig from playing Bond one last time. That certainly makes it sound like a fifth Bond film is in Craig’s sights.
Even if this is true, it seems very likely that the fifth will be the last, and that means it really is about time to start thinking about who’s next. And we all know the popular figures being discussed: Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, or Jon Hamm. Some have even suggested that Emily Blunt could take up the challenge of being the first female (presumably Jane?) Bond. But here are 10 more obscure choices you may not have seen or thought of just yet.
1. Aidan Turner
He may not be the most obscure choice on this list, but Turner is an intriguing pick. He actually did make it onto one list of interesting Bond candidates at Yahoo Movies, but there isn’t a whole lot of buzz about the idea. Turner, who’s just 33, became popular with audiences after playing Kili in The Hobbit films, and he stars on Poldark now. He has yet to secure a breakout role, though, and this could be it.
2. Noel Clarke
Idris Elba may be the popular choice as the first black Bond, but he’s likely to be a little too old to be starting in the role by the time it’s available. Noel Clarke is older than some of the other actors on this list also, but he’s got a few years on Elba and he’d have the surprise factor. Best known for a supporting role in Star Trek Into Darkness, he’s an intriguing actor who seems to be made for tense situations and thrilling scenes. Plus, he looked pretty sharp in a tailored suit in Storage 24.
3. Dan Stevens
If you happen to be a fan of Downton Abbey, Stevens isn’t obscure at all. The 34-year-old played Matthew Crawley on the popular show. But to many who didn’t see that show, he’d be a fresh face with the perfect twinkle of amusement to play Bond.
4. Allen Leech
Leech is another Downton Abbey veteran, but he was perhaps most impactful as John Cairncross in The Imitation Game. He’s far from a traditional choice, not representing the typical demeanor of a Bond actor, but he’d be unexpected and he certainly has the acting chops to pull it off.
5. Ryan Thomas
This 32-year-old actor from Manchester is best known for his role on the British ITV soap Coronation Street. And if that sounds too out there for Americans, keep in mind that the long-running British soaps are still very popular. This one’s following is so strong it has its own room in an online bingo hall, where different rooms are based on different settings and shows. However, Coronation Street is officially licensed on the platform and caters to thousands of players each day. The show has been running for decades, and Thomas is currently a main cast member, meaning he could be primed to try something bigger. He doesn’t have the traditional look, but he’s not too far a cry from Craig.
6. Joe Dempsie
If they really wanted to shock people with a new direction for James Bond once Daniel Craig departs, one way to do it would be through the casting of a 30-year-old in the role. That would be about what they’d get with Joe Dempsie, who’s now best known as the little-used Gendry from Game Of Thrones. As one article pointed out, Dempsie already has one of those faces that gives you déja-vu, having also appeared as Chris Miles on Skins. Even so, he’s far from a household name (or face, for that matter). Dempsie has a dark and brooding quality ideal for a Daniel Craig follow-up, and he’s ready for a bigger role.
7. Clive Standen
Standen has actually had a fairly active career, and rose to fame relatively recently as Rollo on the popular History Channel show Vikings. But he also hasn’t become a household name and would be way off the radar for most people speculating about the next Bond. Yet, he might actually be the most interesting option on this list. Handsome but brutish, imposing but not without a certain grace, he’s something like an Irish Keanu Reeves crossed with a lost Hemsworth brother. He’s be very capable of maintaining the same bare-knuckled approach Craig has brought to the franchise.
In all likelihood, the studio will go with an A-list star when the time comes to replace Craig. But people will see a Bond movie no matter who’s in the role, and that gives the studio an interesting opportunity to pick someone unexpected and see what happens. Any of these seven would be fascinating.
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