Today is a very special James Bond Day. Bond fans around the world are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the film series (marking the release of the first 007 film Dr. No on this date in 1962). Bond fans are taking a moment to salute their favorite spy by rewatching a favorite Bond film, taking a leisurely drive in their DB5’s (well, if they had one they would) and raising a martini to Mr. James Bond.
And while 2022 has been a time to look back and acknowledge all the years of excitement and thrills our revered hero has given us and bid farewell to Daniel Craig as 007, it’s also a time to look ahead and consider the future of the Bond film series. What awaits Bond fans? What new big-screen adventures lay ahead? What directions will the Bond producers take the films?
AND – WHO WILL BE THE NEXT JAMES BOND???
Now that Craig has signed off from the role of James Bond in No Time To Die and went out in a blaze of…..well a blaze, one of the most talked about castings of a fictional character ever has once again become ‘WHO WILL BE THE NEXT JAMES BOND?’
I’m sure Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson will consider a long laundry list of candidates to be the heir of the valuable license to kill. Heck, there’s already been countless articles, news reports, betting pools and fan speculation over what will certainly be a huge global announcement of who will become the next 007. And it will only gain more and more attention as the inevitable day approaches when the official announcement arrives.
Since the beginning of the Bond series, that’s how the hunt for every new actor selected to play James Bond has gone down.
Everyone would have their own picks of actors, there would be debates of who would better fit into the role, there would be an anxious wait to find out who would play James Bond, then when it was ultimately decided and announced, press attention over the announcement would shine a worldwide spotlight on the new 007.
Now, all of that will happen again.
There have already been a good amount of suggestions and candidates who have been mentioned to be in the running for the role or hoped to be cast by fans. And I don’t really have any strong feelings on any of them at the moment or can share any predications of who I think will ultimately be cast as the new Mr. James Bond.
But, I’m willing to bet one actor that we can completely rule out of being the next James Bond is Idris Elba.
Regardless of all the clickbait articles that pop up saying Elba is the top choice, that he’s in talks, that it’s guaranteed he’s going to be announced as the next 007 very soon – IT’S ALL NONSENSE and there’s not a lick of truth to any of it!
My best advice is if you have to bet on any 007 casting guesses, bet on that – Idris Elba will not be the next James Bond.
Elba’s name first came up as a possible contender for the role of 007 way back in 2009, and the idea of him being cast has somehow just stuck around ever since.
Even when Elba himself would dismiss the idea of his casting outright with a clear cut “No.”, he remains a lot of folks primo pick to be the next James Bond. It’s really become a rather strange delusion that people just can’t shake. I’ve gotten so tried of seeing misleading headlines touting ‘Elba Will Be The Next James Bond’ I scroll right past them without any hesitation or interest.
Elba is probably the most confused about his long association of being Craig’s Bond’s successor than anyone saying, “I’m probably the most famous Bond actor in the world and I’ve not even played the role.”
“It’s a rumor that’s gotten out of control, basically, but that’s all it is. There’s no truth in it whatsoever.”
It started innocently enough when back in 2009 Elba’s name became mentioned to play the ‘first black James Bond’. I think it’s worth pointing out that at the time it was only the previous year that Craig had done his second Bond film Quantum of Solace and it would be four years until the release of Skyfall.
At the time the 37-year-old Elba sounded willing to consider the opportunity saying, “Who wouldn’t like to play Bond? Do I think it will happen? No, but I’ve got what it takes to do it. I can run around, flirt with ladies and drink. Plus, I’m English.”
In 2010 Elba still sounded like he wasn’t ruling out the possibility of wanting to play 007, but with a caveat: “I’d definitely consider it. I just don’t want to be the black James Bond. Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.”
The following year he was still being asked about Bond and if he would accept the role. He was asked would he take a cab meeting with the Bond producers Elba answered, “I’d take the taxi driver out of the car, hostage, jump out while it was moving, jump onto a pedal bike that was just past the door as I got on it, and then get onto a plane – on the wing – land on top of Sony Studios, slide through the air conditioning, and land in the office.”
Like a clumsy game of ‘Telephone’, the press being prepared to print anything and ready to jump on the intriguing ‘Elba Is The Next James Bond’ story for flashy headlines and clicks, the idea of his casting in the iconic part started to take root and started to spread.
Big news hit in 2013 that at first seemed to add legitimacy to all this ‘Elba Bond Gossip’. Elba starred with Naomie Harris (aka Miss Moneypenny) in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. During one interview to promote the film, Harris SUPPOSEDLY revealed that Elba had met with Bond producer Broccoli about taking the role of James Bond.
Whoa! This was a real scoop! Miss Moneypenny has confirmed Elba’s casting! The press ran with the story and it popped up in internet articles, entertainment news channels and websites. Seeing Elba’s name connected to James Bond in so many places it must be true! Well, here’s a newsflash, the story was all nonsense!
Harris would later say none of the story was true. When asked about her starting the rumor of Elba as James Bond she said, “No, that is not true! Do you know what happened? A journalist said to me, ‘You’ve just finished working with Idris Elba on Mandela, do you think he’d make a great Bond?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely, I think he would.’ And then the headline is ‘Naomie says Idris Elba to be next Bond’.”
Harris’ misquote might’ve been the key fuel that ignited the persistent nuisance of Elba being asked about playing James Bond everywhere he goes ever since. It’s been going on for over ten years now and he’ll probably have to continue to respond to these Bond questions for quite awhile longer.
In June 2022, when asked about the casting of the new Bond and when fans can expect to see the next film, Broccoli has said, “Nobody’s in the running. We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is and that takes time. I’d say that filming is at least two years away.”
For those old enough, do you remember how Pierce Brosnan became everyone’s popular candidate to be the next James Bond when Roger Moore would leave? The contenders narrowed and zeroed in on Brosnan as the only man to pick up the 007 mantle. Ultimately, he didn’t get the role in 1987, but he became so closely associated with playing the part, when it was announced that Timothy Dalton was the new James Bond and not Brosnan, everyone was stunned and disappointed.
Brosnan’s time as a ‘Bond Nominee’ only went on for a few years. In comparison for Elba, it’s been going on for over a decade!
Elba playing James Bond has gained both support and opposition. The idea of his casting opened up the discussion of whether the color of the Bond character is an issue and should the role only be played by a white man.
In 2014, thanks to the hacked Sony email scandal, it further fed the ‘Elba Rumor Mill’. Amongst the hacked emails it was revealed that Sony chief Amy Pascal had written an email voicing her thoughts on who should play 007, saying that “Idris should be the next Bond”.
This further ingrained the discussion of Elba being Bond for everyone. He became so strongly associated with becoming the next 007, it almost seemed like everyone forgot that Craig was still making Bond movies!
In the same year Elba coyly addressed him playing Bond tweeting – “Isn’t 007 supposed to [be] handsome? Glad you think I’ve got a shot! Happy New Year people.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh jumped into the conversation saying Bond “James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming. He was a white and Scottish, period. That is who James Bond is, was. But now (they are) suggesting that the next James Bond should be Idris Elba, a black Briton, rather than a white from Scotland. But that’s not who James Bond is. I know it’s racist to probably even point this out.”
Bond writer Anthony Horowitz caused a stir in 2015 when he said, “For me, Idris Elba is a bit too rough to play the part. It’s not a color issue. I think he is probably a bit too ‘street’ for Bond. Is it a question of being suave? Yeah.”
Horowitz would later apologize, saying “I’m really sorry my comments about Idris Elba have caused offense. That wasn’t my intention. Clumsily, I chose the word ‘street’ as Elba’s gritty portrayal of DCI John Luther was in my mind but I admit it was a poor choice of word.
Yaphet Kotto who played Bond villain Kananga in 1973’s Live and Let Die said, “James Bond was established by Ian Fleming as a white character, played by white actors. Play 003 or 006, but you cannot be 007. A lot of people say we should be allowed to play everything. Don’t be ridiculous. If I say I want to play JFK, I should be laughed out of the room.”
The race of James Bond became a major talking point. Of course Elba was asked about it and he reiterated that he did not want to be ‘the black James Bond’. “When you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be’. And it really turns out to be the color of my skin. And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”
In 2015 Elba was speaking at the British Film Institute. He said he was tired of the speculation, saying, “Honestly, it’s a rumor that’s really starting to eat itself. If there was ever any chance of me getting Bond, it’s gone.”
Elba also blamed Craig for the ongoing link he had as being the next James Bond, “Daniel Craig set the rumor off. About four years ago he said Idris Elba would be a great Bond and then it started to creep. I blame Daniel.”
For awhile Elba seemed to have fun with being the popular pick to play James Bond. In 2018 he tweeted out the simple message – “My name’s Elba, Idris Elba.”
That tweet went viral and was enough to set folks again placing some validity into this casting speculation and igniting more clickbait articles. Even after Elba followed up by tweeting “Don’t believe the HYPE”, it didn’t calm things down. This was just a wildfire and there was no chance people would let go of the idea of his casting.
Gradually the fun of being linked to 007 and being constantly asked about it appeared to wear down on Elba and he began to give short, succinct, clear-cut responses about it. It became more apparent he would be less interested in taking on the role. And as unbelievable as it might seem to everyone else, he would actually refuse to play the part!
“I don’t think that playing Bond will satisfy some of my personal goals. It will definitely satisfy the will of a nation. I’m not going to lie. Every corner of the world I go…they always go, ‘Bond’. And I feel it is beyond me at this juncture.”
The size of the role and stepping into the legacy of the part Elba says is not something that interests him. “Bond is one of the biggest franchises in the world, and for that reason, whoever ends up playing it, lives it. You’re that character, and known as that character for many, many years. I’m creating characters now that can still live alongside Idris, not ones that take over me and solely define me.”
He flatly has said, “No, I’m not going to be James Bond.” That hasn’t convinced anyone. I guess, his flat refusals were difficult for a lot of people to understand. Or maybe they just don’t want to accept his refusal. So, Elba, still gets asked about it.
Still, Elba seems to have gone back and forth having fun with the idea of becoming 007 and helping keep the rumor flame lit to becoming annoyed and tired when he’s asked about it.
In 2019, which at the time Craig’s final Bond film No Time To Die was set to be released, Elba tweeted out a very funny photo of him sitting next to Craig at the Golden Globes. The only caption to the photo he added was “Er….”
“I have no more answers for it. I just tell people ‘aw, don’t ask me that.'”
Since Elba has been the main actor mentioned in all these ‘Who will be the next James Bond’ conversations and there’s been plenty of written and talked about him picking up the ‘License To Kill’, the rumors not surprisingly caught the ears of Broccoli and Wilson who ended up being asked about his casting. Broccoli has said, “We love Idris. The thing is, it’s going to be a couple of years off. And when we cast Bond, it’s a 10, 12-year commitment. So he’s probably thinking, ‘Do I really want that thing? Not everybody wants to do that. It was hard enough getting [Daniel Craig to do it].” Wilson added, “And he was in his early 30s at the time!”
Elba turned 50-years-old in 2022.
It’s looking like it will be an extended hiatus for Bond fans until they see 007 back on the big-screen. Times have changed. It’s not like how Dalton made his debut as Bond two short years after Roger Moore left the role. This time it’s going to be a much longer wait for a new Bond.
As Broccoli said, “When we get to a point, like we are now, we have to think about the trajectory of the Bond films and the storylines and where we want to take them. So, that’s really the main focus at the beginning. Once we have a sense of where we want to go, then we’ll start thinking about casting. We’re not just casting someone for one film. We’re casting someone hopefully for a decade, at least. It’s a big decision to make, and we’re nowhere near making that decision.”
Let me repeat – Elba is now 50-years-old. He’s no longer the 37-year-old man when these Bond rumors first started up.
Put aside his race and just consider the fact he is 50-years-old. He’s only four years younger than Craig, who just left the role. If he were to be cast and Broccoli stuck to her plan, Elba would be well over 60-years-old by the time his tenure as Bond would end. He doesn’t appear to be an actor that would fit into the producers plans for Bond AND it’s not a role that he seems the least bit interested in getting.
Wilson spoke about the casting challenges for the new Bond and specifically mentioned the age range they are looking at. “Remember, Bond’s already a veteran, he’s had some experience. He’s a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He’s probably been in the SAS or something, he isn’t some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off – that’s why it works for a thirty-something.”
Based on all this, it’s not unreasonable to rule Elba out of the running to be the next James Bond. Some news outlets have waved the white flag and have said these recent statements “seemingly” rule out frontrunners Elba and Tom Hardy, who is 45 as the contenders for the next James Bond.
“Seemingly”…..still people can’t completely let the idea of Elba go. It’s crazy, they want to hold onto this casting idea like grim death!
Here’s a half-ass theory of mine as to why the rumors of ‘Idris Elba Is The Next James Bond’ has taken such a stranglehold over everyone:
Older Bond fans will recall back when Moore’s time as Bond was winding down. There was only one man who was the overall popular candidate to pick up the mantle of 007, that man being Pierce Brosnan.
Brosnan had pretty much everyone’s vote to be the next James Bond. AND HE REALLY WANTED THE PART!
Thanks to his role on Remington Steele, he played up his Bond-like image any chance he got and was anxious to sign his 007 contract as soon as he could. I’d bet if social media existed back then, Brosnan would have been tweeting, Instagramming and TikToking videos of himself acting as James Bond and tagging producer Cubby Broccoli!
Sure, there were other actors suggested at the time, but Brosnan was the overall favorite by fans and the press to be the next Bond. He ultimately didn’t get the part in 1987 and had to wait until 1995, but Brosnan campaigned hard and made it known he really wanted the role, and most people were backing him up.
Today, there really hasn’t been an actor who has reached the top of all the ‘Who Will Be The Next James Bond’ lists in such a unanimous way.
Elba has topped the candidate list for a very long time and no one has managed to eclipse him. He appears to have all the aspects to what fans want to see in James Bond. He’s a good actor, he’s English and could probably handle the role just fine.
Then there’s his race. Despite Elba not wanting to be known as the ‘first black James Bond’, that description would inevitably be used by the press to describe his casting. So, if he were to get the job, that alone would be viewed as a progressive direction the film series was taking and the mainstream media would applaud the decision and give it a lot of positive attention.
Race-swapping or gender-swapping fictional characters has become a popular direction films and television have taken today and it has become a prevalent modification a lot of franchises have taken.
Critics have often targeted the Bond series specifically as badly needing to be updated. Whether it be by writing stronger women characters, dropping the disfigured villain trope or changing the race of the Bond character himself, everyone is always whining about the outdated nature of the Bond films. Elba’s casting would satisfy those demands of change for those critics.
Lastly, there’s been a lot of time in-between the Bond films in recent years, to give energy to these discussions. There have been arge extended gaps that occurred between some of Craig’s Bond films that might’ve helped ‘The Idris Rumor’ burn for so long. Five years of waiting here. Four years between those two films. Craig said he doesn’t want to do another Bond film. There were very long wait times for fans to do nothing other than to speculate whether Craig was stepping away from playing James Bond and the possibility there would soon be an opening for the role that needed filling.
In 2016, when fans were just beginning the long five-year wait for Craig’s farewell Bond film No Time To Die, Elba was naturally asked again about getting the Bond role on Good Morning America “I think I’m too old for that man, running around in cars and ladies and martinis. Who wants to do that? Sounds terrible.” He was being part sarcastic, part serious and a part where it sounded like it was an offer he’d be crazy to pass up.
Even as recently as 2022, now that the Bond vacancy has officially opened up, Elba again was asked about playing James Bond. Really, for the amount of time the guy has talked about the role he should be put on Eon’s payroll.
“You know, it’s not a question of ‘Should I?’, ‘Do I?’, ‘Will I?’, it is what the will of the nation dictates sometimes. I’m not that guy, but in everyone’s world I might be. Because the truth is, you know, a lot of people are really seeing Idris playing Bond as the ‘alternative Bond’. And as long as that alternative is existing, that’s great for the growth of f**king casting.”
So, with all that being said, will Elba actually be cast as the next James Bond?
Nope. Not going to happen. No matter how many passionate words are written used to reenforce this prophecy it’s time to forget it. It doesn’t matter if it’s labeled as “news” or supposedly comes from reliable sources or something someone overheard. No matter what intriguing teases Elba tweets out to his followers – Idris Elba will not the next James Bond. We can rule him out with complete certainty.
I sound pretty certain about Elba being ruled out as Mr. Bond don’t I? Ok, I’ll admit, there is a slim chance he could still land the role and become the next James Bond.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Elba will have a change of heart, suddenly sees something in the role that interests him and actually wants to do it. Maybe his age and race will be aspects the producers will decide that fits into the new incarnation of the character they envision and Elba would suit right in with it.
There’s a possibly there just won’t be any other actors on the planet who want or will be willing to play James Bond, so Elba will become the only choice and he’ll agree to it since he has nothing else going on. Or it’s not inconceivable Elba, Barbara and Michael all have been lying to us all this time, there’s this grand plan in place, they have just been waiting for Craig to hit the bricks for the perfect time to make the announcement of Elba’s casting hoping it will catch us off guard.
I guess if we want to call that a “chance” and something like that does happen, then sure, Elba could perchance end up as the next James Bond. Is that any way possible??? As likely as all those scenarios might sound to Elba fans, I think I’ll stick to my original wager that Elba is out as the next James Bond.
So, don’t be fooled by Elba’s name being mentioned by media outlets and fans as being the frontrunner as the next Bond. ‘The Elba Rumor’ should have died a long time ago, but it remains alive and kicking.
Elba will still have to do his best to answer the Bond questions without rolling his eyes for awhile longer. He won’t find his solace from being the center of this ‘Bond Rumor Ordeal’ until Craig’s successor is officially announced by Broccoli and Wilson. Then maybe he can breathe a sigh of relief.
It’s likely that some ‘journalist’ will corner Elba the following day after that announcement and ask his opinion about the new officially christened Bond actor and if he feels disappointed he didn’t the part. He should be ready for that!
Once the new Bond actor is officially announced, Elba’s association with the Bond character will be over. All this ‘Idris Elba is the next James Bond’ nonsense will become a footnote in the history of the Bond film series and years from now we’ll be saying to each other, “Hey, remember when everyone said Idris Elba was going to play James Bond?”
Of course, all this doesn’t mean Elba couldn’t play some other role in a Bond film. He could make a pretty good M. Or maybe he could pull off playing a cool Bond villain! That’s a bet I’d consider taking.