Idris Elba has reportedly confirmed that he won’t be taking over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.
Asked by several outlets whether he would be inheriting the 007 mantle at the world premiere of his new Netflix movie The Harder They Fall, the Luther actor responded with the blunt reply: “No, I’m not going to be James Bond.”
Elba did, however, add that he’d be open to taking on the role later in his career – “Who wouldn’t? How amazing would it be to have a Black James Bond?” – but it’s safe to assume that the 49-year-old has little interest in becoming the next iteration of the iconic character.
Among all the actors in the running to replace Craig over the last decade, Elba has proven the most frequently touted candidate – a favorite of both fans and industry insiders.
In 2014, for instance, a Sony email hack revealed a message from its then-Chair, Amy Pascal, reading “Idris [Elba] should be the next Bond.” Since then, the actor has regularly sat atop the odds charts to inherit the role, with Elba himself often encouraging the rumors with suggestive tweets (see below) and cryptic comments.
my name’s Elba, Idris Elba. pic.twitter.com/kEyyaVg8JXAugust 12, 2018
But Elba’s latest comments – which also mark a rare outright denial of his interest in the role – come as he gears up to star in a feature-length Luther movie on Netflix, perhaps explaining why he’s no longer keen to add fuel to the Bond fire.
In a recent interview with Esquire, the actor contextualized this newfound indifference by explaining that Luther already satisfies his cravings for a heroic acting role. “I say this in jest, but [Luther] is my answer to Bond,” said Elba. “[He] is my big character that lives in the same space as the Bournes, as the Bonds in the world. Not in terms of spy works or spying, but this is a character that fights evil and then will stop at nothing to do it.”
It’s clear, then, that Elba has his hands full with his long-running BBC character, and despite his aforementioned addendum on how great it would be to see a Black James Bond, we can’t help but feel as though the actor’s time aboard the 007 merry-go-round has run its course.
The franchise could pivot towards exploring the life of an older Bond in the future, though we’d argue that this ground has already been covered in Craig’s final few films. In all likelihood, Barbara Broccoli and co. will look to reinvigorate the franchise with a younger Bond – which, unfortunately, would put Elba firmly out of the picture.
So, who will play Bond?
With Idris Elba almost definitely not in line to play the next James Bond, then, who is?
Ahead of No Time to Die’s release last month, we put together our our own list of potential Bond candidates, which includes more recent suspects like Robert Pattinson, Regé-Jean Page, James Norton, Sam Heughan and Richard Madden alongside long-touted names including Michael Fassbender, Damien Lewis and Tom Hardy.
For our money, it’ll be one of the former – Regé-Jean Page and Richard Madden seem the safest picks – though the Bond producers may decide to throw a curve-ball into the mix by opting for a lesser-known name, as they did with Craig’s appointment in 2005.
Whoever plays the next James Bond, though, they’re not likely to do so for some time. Broccoli recently told Total Film that “it’s tough to think about the future until [No Time to Die] has its moment,” adding that “I think we just really want to celebrate this and celebrate Daniel, and then when the dust settles, then look at the landscape and figure out what the future is.”
Plenty of time to speculate, then.