Daniel Craig is due to begin shooting his final Bond film next month. The 25th instalment in the cinema’s most enduring franchise will be released on Valentine’s Day 2020. After that, the search for the next James Bond will begin in earnest. 

So who are the runners and riders already jockeying for pole position? And what are their odds for success, aside from being better than 500-1 outsider David Beckham’s

Tom Hiddleston 

Hiddleston starred in the BBC hit adaptation of John Le Carre’s The Night Manager so Bond is just another suave spy on his CV. Tall, charming and handsome, he will bring his fans along to the Bond audience, along with some of their alarming fan-art… 

The biggest obstacle seems to be Barbara Broccoli, Bond producer and guardian of the family flame, who called him “too posh”. Does that mean she wants a ‘bit of rough’ to play Bond?  

Bookmakers are convinced and have Hiddlestone universally listed as the favourite but only just. Coral offer 5/2 on Tom Hiddleston being the next James Bond

Richard Madden 

Robb Stark returned triumphantly in The Bodyguard, catapulting Madden back into the spotlight and firmly into the Bond reckoning. A patchy film career threatened to derail his ambitions, but the BBC drama changed that. The vulnerability of David Budd lends itself more to the current incarnation of Ian Fleming’s creation as opposed to those previous. 

Madden made no secret of his desire to play Bond but told GQ that he didn’t “want to curse anything by saying anything. I think that’s the curse of that. If you talk about it, you’ll curse it.” 

Ladbrokes quote odds of 3/1 on Richard Madden being the next James Bond. 

Idris Elba 

For as long as anyone can remember, The Wire and Luther star has been designated the first Bond from an ethnic minority. A recent YouGov poll found the public had no issue with the colour of Bond’s skin, giving the producers the perfect opportunity to take that step. As an aside, Sean Connery found himself confirmed as the nation’s most loved Bond. 

Barbara Broccoli’s intervention only strengthens Elba’s hand, with the daughter of legendary Bond producer Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli declaring the “time is right” for a non-white actor to play Bond. 

While he isn’t the only ethnic actor in the running but Ladbrokes offer odds of 5/1 on Idris Elba being the next James Bond which are certainly hard to turn down. 

Tom Hardy 

After nailing the Jackanory market, unless Tom Hardy wants to appear in the soon-to-be-revived Crackerjack Bond is the last British institution to crack. His legion of fans is keen for him to so.  

Pierce Brosnan declared Hardy would “put a bit of wiggle” into the role, whatever that means. We’d hope for a cleaned-up cross between the menacing lunacy Hardy brought to his portrayals of Charles Manson and the Krays with Ricki Tarr, he’s onto a winner. 

Another one who refused to encourage interest in the Bond role – “There’s a saying amongst us in the fraternity of acting… that if you talk about it you’re automatically out of the race. So I can’t possibly comment on that one!” – Hardy would be a hugely popular Bond, even if he were given Dalton-esque scripts.  

But will Barbara Broccoli make such an obvious choice? William Hill offers 6/1 on Tom Hardy being the next James Bond so he’s not forced himself out of the running just yet. 

Any Female James Bond 

A female James Bond? Would she be Gemma Bond? Jamie Bond? Jane Bond? Who knows?Barbara Broccoli, who has a lot to say on the subject – with good reason – declared in October 2018 that “Bond is male”, ending all conversation on the matter. 

Not to everyone it seems. There is plenty of speculation that the next Bond girl might be Bond himself – or herself – with Charlize Theron among the front-runners, driven by her performances as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road and in the lead role in Atomic Blonde. 

For Claire Foy, it’s a big leap from playing Queen Elizabeth in The Crown to braining someone on behalf of Liz’s government. Many fancy her to do just that, however. Margot Robbie, meanwhile, rocked it as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad which sets her firmly in the running for the first female Bond.  

Despite Broccoli doing so, bookmakers such as Ladbrokes think a female Bond could happen, offering 12/1

Published by Stuart Stratford

Stuart is a freelance writer based in the UK with more than a dozen years experience. He previously worked with Daily Mail betting, 10bet, Betway, Come On and a number of other international bookmakers, as well as ITV and Goal. Contact Stuart at stuart@aclfarsenal.co.uk.

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