Idris Elba has apparently announced that he would not take over as the next James Bond after Daniel Craig.
When asked if he would be taking over the 007 mantle at the world premiere of his new Netflix film The Harder They Fall, the Luther actor said bluntly: “No, I’m not going to be James Bond.”
Elba did, however, say he’d be open to take on the part later in his career – “Who wouldn’t?” he said. What a fantastic idea to create a Black James Bond!” – but it’s safe to conclude that the 49-year-old has no desire to become the legendary character’s next incarnation.
Elba has been the most frequently mentioned contender among all the actors in the running to replace Craig over the previous decade, and he is a favorite of both fans and industry insiders.
In 2014, for example, a Sony email hack disclosed a communication from the company’s then-Chairwoman, Amy Pascal, that said, “Idris [Elba] should be the next Bond.” Since then, the actor has consistently sat atop the odds charts to take over the part, with Elba himself frequently fueling the speculation with suggestive tweets (see below) and cryptic comments.
But Elba’s current remarks – which also represent a rare explicit denial of his interest in the role – come as he prepares to star in a feature-length Luther film on Netflix, which may explain why he’s no longer eager to add gasoline to the Bond movies.
Earlier on Esquire, the actor contextualized his newfound apathy by stating that Luther already satisfies his desire for a heroic playing part. “I say this in jest, but is my Bond,” Elba said. “[He] is my main character, and he lives in the same world as the Bournes and the Bonds.” Not in terms of spying or spy operations, but this is a character that battles evil and will go to any length to do so.”
It’s evident that Elba is preoccupied with his long-running BBC character, and despite his aforementioned remark about how amazing it would be to see a Black James Bond, we can’t help but feel that the actor’s time on the 007 merry-go-round has come to an end.
The franchise may pivot in the future to explore the lives of an elder Bond, but we’d argue that this territory has already been covered in Craig’s final three films. In all likelihood, Barbara Broccoli and company will seek to revitalize the series with a younger Bond – which, sadly, would rule Elba out.
So, who will be the next James Bond?
With Idris Elba almost certainly not in the running to portray the next James Bond, who is?
We compiled our own list of potential Bond candidates ahead of the release of No Time to Die last month, which includes more recent suspects like Robert Pattinson, Regé-Jean Page, James Norton, Sam Heughan, and Richard Madden, as well as long-touted names like Michael Fassbender, Damien Lewis, and Tom Hardy.
For our money, it’ll be one of the former — Regé-Jean Page and Richard Madden appear to be the safest bets – though the Bond producers may decide to throw a curveball into the mix by appointing a lesser-known figure, as they did with Craig’s appointment in 2005.
However, the next James Bond is unlikely to appear for quite some time. “It’s difficult to think about the future until [No Time to Die] has its time,” Broccoli told Total Film recently, adding, “I think we just really want to celebrate this and congratulate Daniel, and then when it becomes quieter, then look at the landscape and figure out what the future is.”
So there’s plenty of time to speculate.