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12Idris Elba

Idris Elba

Kicking things off is an obvious candidate, one that fans have been calling for for roughly a decade. Before Craig was selected to star in the 2006 film Casino Royale, Elba was considered a heavy fan-favorite for the role. His name has come up in connection with 007 several

times in the years since, most recently this past summer, when Bond author Anthony Horowitz said that Elba was "too street" to play the part. Poor phrasing aside, Horowitz went on to say that he thought Adrian Lester (star of the BBC series Hustle) would be a better choice for the character, but the cultural fire was already lit. Which begs the unavoidable question: is the world ready for a black Bond?

Changing an established character’s race is always a controversial move, especially one as well-known as James Bond. Purists will surely argue that no changes to the character should ever be allowed, despite how perfectly-suited Elba seems to be for the role. Ultimately, however, the decision may simply come down to timing. The absolute earliest we could expect to see the release of another Bond film would be 2017, when the Beasts of No Nation star would be turning 45, and that could only happen if pre-production on the series' 25th film were already underway. For the record, Roger Moore was also 45 when he first portrayed Bond in Live and Let Die, though his advanced age was a common fan complaint until he stopped playing the character at age 57.

Bottom line: Elba's casting may just be a bit too controversial for the creative minds behind the next film to rationalize. Despite all this, Elba still hasn't given up on the role. "If everyone wants something, they can make it happen," he told Variety back in September. If Elba ever manages to land the part, at least he'll know who to thank.

Richard Madden as the Prince Kit in Cinderella (2015)
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