At 24 installments and 54 years, the James Bond franchise is one of the longest-lived and most successful in Hollywood history. It’s also one that has attained newfound success and uncertainty both in the form of Daniel Craig, who helped rejuvenate the property with 2006’s Casino Royale – and was (infamously) open about his desire to stop playing 007 on the big screen while he promoted the release of Spectre last year.
The internet has since been awash with speculation and excitement over who could take over the super spy’s big shoes, and now – well, it seems that one self-nominated candidate may be in formal talks to assume the role, after all.
BMD today reports that a well-placed insider has sent them word that Tom Hiddleston, who’s best known for his portrayal of Loki in the Thor series, is in “advanced talks” to play cinema’s most famous protagonist. The actor has made no secret of his intense desire to take on the part, but the website makes it a point to stress that it doesn’t actually know whether Daniel Craig is, indeed, out or not. It very well could be that Eon Productions, the studio behind Bond, is attempting to pressure Craig to stick with his commitment, a tactic which certainly isn’t unheard of in Hollywood.
While the transition from one actor to the next in the film series is nothing new – if chosen, Hiddleston would be the seventh James Bond – what makes this particular passing of the baton so closely watched is what it could mean for the newly-rebooted franchise. Casino Royale famously brought the character back to his roots, showing him on his progression to the accomplished, slick, gadget-laden government operative that the whole world had already fallen in love with. Would Hiddleston and the next batch of movies continue this grittier, more realistic, continuity-resetting take, or would his casting prove to be another pivot to yet another direction for the franchise?
Beyond the narrative implications, there is the actor himself. Hiddleston may not strike most moviegoers upon first blush as the most debonair or otherwise ideal candidate to portray James Bond, but he actually was originally in contention to play Thor as opposed to his evil adopted brother. He’s likewise proven to have a wide dramatic range since, starring in such diverse vehicles as the Gothic love story Crimson Peak, historical drama War Horse, and the spy drama mini-series The Night Manager. Hiddleston could prove to be the most dynamic Bond yet.
That’s in the scenario where Hiddleston actually lands the 007 role, of course, and the James Bond franchise producers take the series in a direction that can serve his talents (and not, say, try for a retread of the cheesy Pierce Brosnan days). And this really will prove to be the lynchpin of Bond’s future greatness or repeated failure – the cast can only service the material they’re given so much; after that, it’s a matter of directorial intent and writing quality.
James Bond 25 (official title TBA) isn’t expected to reach theaters until 2018 or 2019.