Daniel Craig can’t be James Bond forever. He has already headlined the franchise in three films, with a fourth, Spectre, on the way. With the actor and producers teasing that he could potentially retire his impeccably tailored suit any day now, fans are placing bets as to who will take his place when the job is done. According to some new buzz, Damien Lewis has emerged as a likely contender.
This update doesn’t come from any intrepid journalist, anything official from the studio, or even an interview response taken out of context and blown out of proportion. This comes from…bookmakers in the U.K. According to The Hollywood Reporter, William Hill revealed that it slashed its odds of the Homeland star becoming the next James Bond by more than 75%, from 25/1 to 3/1. This propels Lewis ahead of Idris Elba (5/2), Tom Hardy (4/1), Henry Cavill (5/1), and Michael Fassbender (7/1). While we may not know the intricacies or influences of U.K. bookmakers, this doesn’t seem to be anything more than a friendly wager among friends.
Back in 2013, Lewis joked to The Telegraph that Skyfall "paved the way perfectly for a redheaded Bond" by introducing the Scottish heritage. He also told Esquire magazine that it would be "wonderful" if he could pick up the mantle, but he would cross the bridge when he got there.
Earlier this year, we were on the set of Spectre in Mexico City, where we spoke to producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson along with a crop of other journalists. In speaking about Craig’s future as James Bond, they said that he has an "open-ended contract" and implied that he can decide which films to do on a case-by-case basis. As expected, their official statement was that they’d like for him to play the character forever, but as Broccoli noted, a role like this eats up an actor’s life and most people have to be talked into it. Whether that’s something Lewis is still interested in is beyond us, and there’s not much evidence to suggest the actor is an actual contender. Even Elba, for whom fans have been campaigning to become the first black Bond, doesn’t seem like a legitimate contender.
We still have a ways before we know if Craig will drop out of the franchise. Spectre is cutting it close with production for a November release. 007 will face someone from his past, as well as the villainous organization from the canon. Depending what the writers cook up next, Craig could still return for Bond 25, considering the films picked up again in popularity with Skyfall.
Don’t like this choice? There are other names on the short list to replace Daniel Craig, in time. Let’s talk them over.