Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond has been marked by a lot of controversy and also a lot of success. When Craig debuted in the role back in 2006's Casino Royale, the Bond franchise was at something of a low ebb artistically after a series of increasingly cartoonish movies starring Pierce Brosnan. Martin Campbell promised a grittier, more realistic Bond in Casino Royale, but there were some who found Craig a little too rough-around-the-edges to play the debonair secret agent.
Questions about Craig's ability to embody Ian Fleming's 007 mostly went away after Casino Royale hit movie screens. Craig's rough edges seemed to be just what the role needed and the movie launched the Bond series to greater heights than ever. Eleven years and three more movies later, Craig has reached a milestone that might have seemed unlikely to critics who bashed his hiring.
As of today, Daniel Craig has served in the role of James Bond longer than any other actor except for Roger Moore (via Twitter). Craig has wielded the license to kill for 4,147 days, edging him ahead of his predecessor Pierce Brosnan. Moore is still way out ahead in first place with 5,118 days as Bond. Sean Connery, still the greatest Bond in many people's eyes, had the role for 3,049 days while largely-forgotten '80s Bond Timothy Dalton had it for 2,863. George Lazenby who played Bond in just one movie, the classic On Her Majesty's Secret Service, held the crown for 875 days.
Not long ago, it seemed Daniel Craig might be eager to relinquish the James Bond role and let someone else have a crack, leading to rumors about Tom Hiddleston taking over the part. However, last year Craig went back on his remarks about no longer wanting to play 007. Bond producers have said they not only want Craig back but confirmed he is their first choice to play the role in the next Bond film, which will be the 25th in the series. If Tom Hardy has his way, he'll be in Bond 25 alongside Craig with Christopher Nolan directing.
Craig has now been in the role of James Bond long enough that, for some fans, he is the only 007. Older fans who reveled in the adventures of Sean Connery and Roger Moore back in the day may have taken to Craig with some reluctance but it seems the majority of them have now been won over. There's no debate about the box office success of Craig's Bond films, with Casino Royale, Skyfall, Quantum of Solace and Spectre all taking in big money worldwide.
Though Craig seemingly will be continuing as Bond for at least one more film, it's fair to ask whether now might in fact be the right time for Craig to walk away and hand the role off to a younger actor. After all, Moore did ultimately get stale in the role and the last couple movies with Moore are not among the most-beloved in the series. There is something to be said for knowing when to walk away. However, it doesn't seem that Craig is ready to walk away, and when it's all over he might still end up overtaking Moore to claim the Bond longevity crown.
We'll keep you updated on developments in the James Bond franchise.