It’s become somewhat of a real-life spy thriller trying to figure out who would portray James Bond after Daniel Craig. After Craig’s confirmation for the upcoming Bond movie, there has been much speculation regarding who will succeed him when he ultimately decides to stop portraying 007. Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Richard Madden, the villain from Hobbs & Shaw, and Tom Hardy, the hero of Venom, are some of the front-runners in the latest round of rumors.
Here’s a less-than-scientific look at who the bookmakers think will win and who Hollywood may have lined up in case Craig decides to hang up the bowtie forever.
1. Kit Harington
Kit Harington, a.k.a. Jon Snow, would have easily won the Olympic gold medal in perennial poutine if there were a contest, and the British field was already strong. With Game of Thrones almost over and his face firmly cemented as one of Hollywood’s most bankable up-and-comers (a simple Harington haircut makes for important news), Harington may be a dark-horse casting choice for a Hollywood producer who concludes that Jon Snow might actually know something, after all, notably how to order a certain secret agent’s favored martini.
2. Richard Madden
This Game of Thrones actor could make an appearance in another popular series. Following Daniel Craig’s retirement from his Walther PPK, Richard Madden, a.k.a. Robb Stark from Game of Thrones, is said to be the front-runner to take over as James Bond. This is especially true given his outstanding performance in Bodyguard. Producer of the Bond films Barbara Broccoli has reportedly noticed Madden, according to The Sun: “It’s seriously looking like he [Madden] is going to win the job. He’s not just at the top of Barbara’s list; she’s getting ready to offer him the job.
3. Charlize Theron
If there is one need for playing James Bond, it is the ability to control a supercar at high speeds, preferably while shooting various weapons at the bad guys. Therefore, Charlize Theron is the ideal candidate for the job. The South African actress, who played Atomic Blonde’s closest resemblance to a female Bond, kicked ass, shot, swore, and more.
4. Tom Hiddleston
Although Hiddleston first gained attention in Hollywood (and the hearts of fangirls) for his performance as the scene-stealing Loki in the Marvel films Thor and Avengers, he has a unique background in both stereotypically English leading man action roles requiring guns (Eton, Cambridge) (The Night Manager, Kong: Skull Island). Tom Hiddleston still has the skills and cheekbones to pull off a turn as 007. And while Hiddleston’s Bond odds may be a little longer following his breakup with Taylor Swift, shrug it off, Tom!
5. Sam Heughan
Sam Heughan, the actor of Outlander, tried out for the role of Bond before Daniel Craig, who was ultimately cast. Can he give it another go? We know he can get in shape for it because he revealed his Outlander workouts to Men’s Journal.
6. Henry Cavill
Hollywood producers wouldn’t have to think too hard about choosing Cavill as the next 007, even though he may not be the bookies’ current favorite. This is especially true after he got epically ripped for Justice League. As for Cavill’s credentials as a spy, he made a name for himself in the genre of espionage with the 2015 film The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (he wasn’t sipping a Vesper, but still).\
7. James Norton
The 31-year-old Norton is a veteran of iconic British TV shows like War & Peace and the detective drama Grantchester. He is British as tea and red double-decker buses and attended Cambridge and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. However, it was his performance as the evil killer Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley that seemed to solidify his position as a dynamic, varied actor in the public’s mind.
8. Idris Elba
Elba, a working-class immigrant from Sierra Leone born in London, could expertly create a Bond-like character for the British working class that is both smoldering and a no-holds-barred action brawler. He’s won honors for his leading parts in BBC One’s Luther and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, as well as his iconic performance as Stacker Pentecost in the contemporary cult classic Pacific Rim. He also has real acting chops, and since he’s already working on a TV program about physically punching his way around the globe, he could easily bring his impressive martial arts prowess to the role.
9. Jack Huston
Huston may not yet possess the on-screen presence of other potential Bond actors. Still, he has the pedigree: the descendant of a real British dynasty (his maternal grandfather was the 6th Marquess of Cholmondeley) as well as the famed Hollywood directing dynasty (his grandfather is John Huston), Huston is the overwhelming favorite to portray the next Bond, per bookmaker website Oddschecker.com.
He has also held down jobs in high-concept films (David O. Russell’s American Hustle) and high-profile main roles (the 2016 Ben-Hur remake) that call for range and action variety, as well as a few distinctly English film and television roles.
10. Tom Hardy
If only because he can appear to be so very tough to define, Hardy is one of the UK’s most enigmatic actors. He can be seen hitting Batman in The Dark Knight Rises or whipsawing through the desert in Mad Max, and then the next moment, he’s holding down an entire screenplay by himself while only driving and talking on the phone (Locke). Or, as in Warrior, he might be punching the crap out of someone else. The fact is, Hardy could easily continue the Bond torch started by Daniel Craig—that of a physically strong, enigmatic 007 who is equally at ease dispatching bad guys with his Walther PPK as he is with his bare hands.