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12 Actors Who Could Play James Bond (And 13 Actresses Who Would Be Better)

Speculation has been running rampant as to who will continue the 007 legacy now that Daniel Craig is set to leave the James Bond franchise. Despite his blunt response to being asked if he would reprise the role in 2015, stating he'd rather... well, let's just say he'd "rather not," the actor has confirmed his return in the upcoming Bond 25 film and possibly Bond 26. Though fans eagerly await news regarding the next installation in the over 50 year-long franchise, many are excited to learn who will take Craig's place moving forward. There has been much outcry demanding the traditionally white character to be played by a person of color, some even going as far as wanting a woman to play the role.

Believed to be a title passed down from one agent to another, some were wary of Daniel Craig taking on the role of the new 007. His blond locks and piercing blue eyes were a complete departure from previous versions of James Bond, known for their brunette hair and dark eyes. Also, instead of being the suave gentleman and charming womanizer, Craig portrayed Bond as a deeply conflicted individual struggling with his inner demons. Despite the controversial casting, Craig took the franchise to new heights with Skyfall becoming the highest-grossing James Bond film in 2012. With his days becoming numbered, a replacement is needed to fill the role of the iconic MI6 agent and CBR has a few suggestions on who best can carry on in the character's footsteps.

25 IDRIS ELBA

Idris Elba has been the frontrunner to replace Daniel Craig ever since rumors first swirled regarding the actor's hesitation to return to the franchise. Despite concerns the actor is "too street" to play the character, Elba has remained a strong contender and fan favorite for the role, until very recently, when he announced he would not be playing Bond.

The actor has been wary of stirring fans' hopes, concerned some want him only to "have a black guy play James Bond" instead of truly wanting him for the role based on his talent. Elba has also remarked he'd rather see "something different" done with the character by having it played by a woman.

24 HENRY CAVILL

The Man of Steel actor has battled against Idris Elba and quickly risen to the top of fan favorites to replace Craig. In an interview with Yahoo UK, Cavill strongly stated his stunt training during Mission Impossible Fallout could easily carry through to the Bond franchise.

In 2006, the actor was a runner-up for the role during the production of Casino Royale but ultimately lost out due to his young age. Now in his mid-30s, Cavill is of the age to carry on a major franchise but his commitments to Mission Impossible and the DCEU may prevent him from fulfilling his dreams of espionage.

23 TOM HIDDLESTON

Well-known in the Marvel Universe as the trickster Loki, Tom Hiddleston has shown his impressive acting skills in various films and earned a Golden Globe for his performance in The Night Manager. Despite his award-winning range, his acting skills have failed to impress Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.

Finding the actor to be "too smug" and "not tough enough" to play James Bond, Hiddleston's chances of becoming the new 007 might be on shaky ground. Hiddleston has also been quick to downplay rumors that he was next in line to replace Craig, stating he doesn't believe "that announcement is coming" any time soon.

22 JON HAMM

In 2009, the Mad Men actor received Daniel Craig's approval to replace him as Bond, and in 2016, The Inquisitr was quick to announce he'd beaten Tom Hiddleston for the role. If ultimately chosen, Hamm would be the second American to play the British character, joining Barry Nelson among the list of Bond actors.

Considered "a tortured and frequently unravelling character," Hamm's performance as Don Draper echoes much of Craig's version of Bond in Skyfall; both characters sharing a sense of raw vulnerability that threatens to undo years of building and maintaining a wall of apathy.

21 TOM HARDY

Accustomed to playing sinister villains and men of few words, Tom Hardy isn't new to the realm of famous film franchises. He also is no stranger to immersing himself in each role he plays and pushing his body to the limits.

As an April Fool's prank, various news outlets reported the actor had been confirmed as Craig's replacement and began circulating a fan-made teaser poster. Despite support from former Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, Hardy has remained quiet when it comes to speculation that he is in the running for the role.

20 DAMIEN LEWIS

In 2016, The Mirror reported the Homeland actor had been strongly considered for Craig's replacement by the films' producer. Lewis even teased he had done everything to try to land the role, including sending shirtless pictures of himself fresh from the gym.

Despite his best efforts, the actor admits he has yet to receive the call. Should Lewis end up as the new 007, he would be the first ginger Bond as well as the oldest actor to play the role, beating out Roger Moore who was 46 at the time of his film's release.

19 MICHAEL FASSBENDER

The X-Men alum has remained a constant fan favorite when it comes to recasting Bond. The actor, however, has remained wary of his fans' desires to see him in the role of James Bond, despite expressing his thoughts about how the character's story should be told.

Fassbender shared his belief that the role should played by a woman, asking "how about Jane Bond?" He has also warned diehard fans not to let their hopes get the better of them; stating those on their list of favorites are never the ones who end up getting the role.

18  LUKE EVANS

Another name further down the list of potential 007 replacements is Luke Evans. The actor is no stranger to major film franchises, starring in three of the Fast and Furious films as well as two Hobbit films.

The actor managed to beat out Idris Elba and Tom Hardy in a poll by GQ which asked readers who they'd prefer for James Bond. While Evans is intrigued by the prospect of playing Bond, he admits trepidation at taking such a demanding role. Also, the actor is now committed to the second season of the TNT thriller The Alienist, which may prevent him from stepping into another franchise.

17 AIDAN TURNER

aidan turner beard

Poldark star Aidan Turner has had to fight back rumors that he is a strong contender for the Bond role and remains coy about accepting such an offer, stating "when it's free, I'll have a look at it." The actor is still attempting to break into the world of film, casting doubt on his potential to enter such a beloved franchise as the main lead.

However, his fans quickly tossed his name into the ring after seeing his character Ross emerge from the sea toward the beginning of Poldark's fourth season, far surpassing Daniel Craig's entrance in Casino Royale.

16 KIT HARINGTON

Nominated for his outstanding performance as Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, Kit Harington understands the meaning of honor and survival at all costs. The actor has also gained knowledge of what it's like to be a spy in the 2015 thriller film Spooks: The Greater Good.

As the young protege of an MI5 agent, Harington experiences his fair share of Bond-esque stunts including smashing through windows and walls, leaping from buildings, and rooftop fight scenes. However, when it comes to actually portraying Bond, the actor remains wary and admits he may be too young to take on such a role.

15 RIZ AHMED

After his breakout role in Nightcrawler, Riz Ahmed has quickly risen to stardom. Being the first Muslim to win the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his performance in The Night Of, Ahmed has gone on to star in Jason Bourne and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Seeking to help the movie industry realize ethnic actors have the talent to portray more than just stereotypical roles, Ahmed has been a strong advocate for racial diversity in films and is eager to see Bond be played by a non-white actor. Whether producers share his desire remains to be seen.

14 RICKY WHITTLE

Another actor looking to spread diversity to the United States and the world of James Bond is Ricky Whittle, who admits much like Idris Elba, that he has struggled to break away from typecasting to star in more ground-breaking roles. Former Reebok model turned actor, Whittle in known in the United Kingdom for his role on the soap opera Hollyoaks.

Seeking to be the "first Black Bond", Whittle has made the leap to America, starring in Single Ladies on VH1, Mistresses, and The 100. He is most well-known for his portrayal of Shadow Moon in the Starz television series American Gods.

13 GILLIAN ANDERSON

When fans started demanding a female bond, actress Gillian Anderson happily threw herself among her male contenders for the role after tweeting a fan-made poster of herself declaring "It's Bond. Jane Bond."  After battling extraterrestrials and a sadistic cannibal, Anderson has shown she has what it takes to deal with the toughest of enemies.

Since the revival of The X-Files in 2016, Anderson's career has skyrocketed, earning her popular television roles including the modern goddess Media on American Gods, where she portrayed the likeness of David Bowie and Marilyn Monroe. If cast, she would be the first American female to earn the coveted Bond role.

12 EMILIA CLARKE

Though casting for the Bond role has still yet to be determined, the Mother of Dragons has already cast Leonardo DiCaprio as her "Bond-boy" co-star and Rolling Stone was quick to create a fan-made trailer announcing the arrival of "Jane Bond" to the big screen.

Despite her small frame, Clarke's fierce attitude as Daenerys Targaryen shows she is quite capable of holding her own in battle. With her fate on Game of Thrones still up in the air, there's potential Clarke could fulfill her "unrealized dreams" of playing 007.

11 ELIZABETH BANKS

In an EW roundtable discussion with fellow actresses, Elizabeth Banks revealed her dream role would be James Bond, adamant about keeping the name despite the gender swap. Well-known for her comedic roles, Banks has recently begun delving into action films such as the Hunger Games franchise, The Lego Movie, and the 2017 Power Rangers movie as Rita Repulsa.

Banks' desire to enter the world of espionage landed her the role of Bosley in the upcoming Charlie's Angels reboot. Should the film be successful enough to earn another franchise, Banks may have to hold out on being Bond until a later time.

10 MARGOT ROBBIE

The Best Actress nominee is busy building ties in the DCEU. After starring as the quirky Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, Robbie has since committed herself to Birds of Prey, Gotham City Sirens, and a work-in-progress film with The Joker.

Though rumored to be in the running to play the next "Bond-girl," fans of the actress are desperate to see her in the lead role instead. Robbie prides herself on having done the majority of her stunts in Suicide Squad, including the elevator scene where she runs up the wall, demonstrating she's more than able of enduring the intense stunt-work the Bond films are known to include.

9 RIHANNA

The seductive songstress has earned Daniel Craig's favor, seeking her as his new "Bond-girl." Various news outlets have been quick to confirm she's been tapped to make a cameo or potentially sing the film's theme song.

However, one fan argues she would be better as the secret agent himself and took to FUSE to argue their point; stating with her raw and unrelenting independence and swagger already having been displayed in her music videos, "there's no way a feature film of her doing the same... could fail." You have to admit, the girl can rock a power suit!

8 PRIYANKA CHOPRA

When asked if she would be interested in playing a "Bond-Girl," Chopra answered that she's always preferred "to play Bond." Working closely with the writers of Quantico, the actress has been adamant about changing the way women are perceived on screen.

Her desire to see women depicted as more than sex objects is clear in her rejection of playing one of Bond's many "side-pieces." Even if she didn't get the part, Chopra admitted she would to see such iconic roles "be played by women... in a genderless way."

7 ROSAMUND PIKE

Gone Girl actress Rosamund Pike is wholly against a female Bond only because she believes the character is inherently a male. Instead, the former "Bond-Girl" suggests giving one of her fellow counterparts a story of her own or make a female agent completely independent of the male-dominated franchise.

In her opinion, Pike asks "why should a woman get sort of sloppy seconds?" As Amy Dune, Pike was able to successfully fake her own disappearance and manipulate those around her into believing she was the victim of an abusive marriage, demonstrating you don't need a man to do a woman's job.

6 LUCY LIU

Trained in martial arts, rock-climbing, and horseback riding, Lucy Liu can tackle much of the physical demands needed to play James Bond. Her experience as a member of Charlie's Angels and fight-skills in the Kill Bill franchise show she can easily blend into the top-secret world of a 007.

As a gender-swapped Watson on Elementary, Liu demonstrates her capability to perform equally if not better in a male-dominated role making her a top contender in the race to have a female Bond.

5 HAYLEY ATWELL

Having lost the race to become the new female Doctor, perhaps Atwell might have better luck becoming Bond? Fans of her as Peggy Carter strongly suggest her experience as the no-nonsense agent proves she has the qualifications to play the coveted role.

Showing a fierce loyalty to those she cared about, Carter often found her sense of morality hindered during times when a tough call needed to be made. This echoes Bond's wavering doubt during Skyfall when he questions M's motives and respect toward him. Despite strong support from Marvel fans, Atwell has yet to respond to rumors about her potential casting.

4 EMILY BLUNT

As legendary soldier Rita Vrataski in Edge of Tomorrow, Emily Blunt showed a tough streak in her otherwise delicately posh exterior. Having played a variety of roles in various film genres, the actress proves she can take on any challenge given to her.

Blunt's performance in Sicario as an FBI-agent seeking an end to the drug war perfectly encapsulates the essence of who Bond is: vulnerable yet emotionally distant, loyal but conflicted, a person of violent action with many regrets. Though Blunt has remained tight-lipped about potentially playing Bond, husband John Krasinki is eager to see her in the role.

3 CHARLIZE THERON

In the action-packed thrill ride Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron unleashed her female fury as undercover MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton. Doing roughly 98% of her own stunts in the film, the actress suffered two broken teeth along with a few scrapes and bruises.

Remaining tough-as-nails, Theron has played a variety of independent female roles including Aileen in Monster, the evil queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman, and Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. In regards to playing Bond, Theron remains unsure and suggests Idris would be perfect for the role.

2 NAOMIE HARRIS

Going head-to-head with Bond, Naomie Harris took down the infamous agent with one bullet in Skyfall. At the end of the film, she is revealed to be the franchise's crush-worthy secretary Miss Moneypenny and is reunited with Bond in Spectre where they work together to bring down Blofeld.

Despite the character's tease she's "not fit for field work," many are eager to see Harris take over the role as 007. However, the actress states she'd prefer the role to go to another British actor, suggesting Jamie Bell for the part.

1 HELEN MIRREN

Proving age is merely a number, Helen Mirren demonstrated her ability to tangle with the best of baddies in Red and Red 2. As Victoria Winslow, the actress showed her familiarity with firearms, dissolved bodies with acid, and was part of an epic car-chase.

Thoroughly impressed with her demonstration of pure rebellion against the patriarchy, a collective of Tumblr users proposed an "inverse spy flick" starring the femme fatale alongside Lucy Liu and Matt Bomer. Mirren, however, is adamant she is "too old" to pursue the role of Bond having the missed opportunity to play the part in her prime.

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