With Daniel Craig not returning as 007, Redbrick Film takes a look at who should take his place.

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Tom Hiddleston

The long and storied history of James Bond on the big screen has treated audiences to the sublime (Skyfall’s epic opening chase), the ridiculous (Roger Moore taking on voodoo priests and using Crocodiles as stepping stones in Live and Let Die) and, most often, a combination of the two (barrel-rolling an AMC Hornet in The Man With the Golden Gun or The Spy Who Loved Me’s submarine car). Yet, as the franchise has grown and matured, the image of the suave, distant, impossibly cool Bond has remained almost the lone constant. Enter, Tom Hiddleston. He may seem to many who call for a fresh take on the character to be a dull, conservative choice. But what they call stale, I call classic. Why mess with a formula that, as the most recent Bond outings have proven, can still produce smart and gripping popcorn movie gold? While he may lack the pure, fiery physicality that the departing Daniel Craig brought to the role, Hiddleston has proven with the recent BBC series The Night Manager that he is quite capable of playing the action hero. Add that to his unique brand of British charm and keen intelligence, and this is a man who was born to play 007. Let’s not let that go to waste.

by Jobe Close

Paapa Essiedu

With the call nowadays for more diversity in Hollywood, the argument is often made to introduce the first black Bond as Daniel Craig’s successor. When it comes to fan casting, established names like Idris Elba and Chiwetel Ejiofor are thrown around a lot, but it is time to introduce someone fresh and new. That’s why I suggest that the next Bond should be Paapa Essiedu, a relatively unknown stage actor who is currently playing the lead in the RSC’s Hamlet. It would be a big break for him, and he has the youthful charisma to pull off the role as the British spy, but can also handle complex, Shakespearian character drama. It wouldn’t be the first time a stage actor has jumped onto the franchise bandwagon (see Tom Hiddleston as Loki), and Paapa Essiedu has what it takes to reinvent James Bond in his own image, rather than simply recreating what has come before.

by Matt Dawson

Richard Armitage

When you think British actors at the moment that play rugged yet refined, handsome and caddish heroes there is only one name that springs to mind: Richard Armitage. The odds may be on Hiddleston, who has met Bond execs, but he suits the Bond villain over Bond. Armitage is younger than Craig, he’s had the experience of working with a major film franchise in The Hobbit, but mostly he’s been working in TV. Who doesn’t remember Armitage as the dashing Gisborne in the BBC’s Robin Hood? Bond doesn’t need the flashiest Hollywood star, nor does it want it. Craig wasn’t huge before Casino Royale and Moore was tied up with television series The Saint. Brosnan was known for television roles, Dalton came from television too, starring in Sins. Armitage has proved he’s got the acting chops, he’s proved he can carry a major role through a franchise and he’s damn good-looking to boot.

by James Moore

Dan Stevens

Despite the physicality and ferocity that Daniel Craig brought to Bond, he sorely lacked the debonair edge that always defined 007. Tom Hiddleston may be the bookies favourite to fill those expensive shoes but I would argue that he’s already too big a star for him to disappear into the role. Plus he’s just too damn likeable, even as a villain! Which is why I propose we opt for a more enigmatic man by the name of Dan Stevens. I understand that Downton Abbey isn’t exactly the most obvious place to pluck Bond from but from a practical standpoint he is a rising star that is ripe for a huge role to define his career. For those who don’t believe he could pull off the incredible action that defines this new age Bond, I would thoroughly recommend that you watch The Guest. He’s charming, sexy and twice as lethal. Give Dan Stevens a license to kill and he most certainly will kill it.

by Alex McDonald

Bill Nighy

Currently, we are in the middle of a super hero crisis, a crisis in which only the young play action heroes. The movie industry is in desperate need of an older hero. Only Colin Firth in his portrayal of Galahad, a parody of James Bond, achieved such status. By playing this character Firth proved to the world the possibilities of casting older men past their 50’s in action. Sadly it would be too jarring to have Firth play Bond, however, I believe that Bill Nighy has the potential to be even greater. Bond needs to be two things: smooth but deadly. We all know that Bill Nighy can be smooth, seeing as he’s almost always type cast as a charming man in his 60’s. The question arises whether Nighy can be deadly. The answer lies within his performances in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 1 and 2. In this film Nighy performs a stylish yet tasteful performance, Bollywood style, highlighting his agility and dexterity.  These attributes would certainly allow for some exciting chase scenes. Also, Bond carries a gun, so there is no real need for hand to hand combat; nobody is going to get past a gun. Nighy needs to be the next Bond; it’s his right as a man over the age 40. Everyone knows Bond is at his peak when he is above the age of 40. Why not go even higher with above the age of 60. In an age of young actors playing these big action hero’s, Nighy would be a perfect change of pace.

by Tom Edgerton

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