Despite the latest wave of rumors suggesting Idris Elba might take up the role of James Bond, it's still unlikely the Luthor and Thor star will don the iconic tuxedo and Walther PPK. Elba, of course, is one of Hollywood's brightest stars and has long been a fan favorite to become Bond once Daniel Craig's run ends; Bond 25, currently slated for a late 2019 release, is reportedly Craig's last.
The dashing, charismatic Elba could probably pull off the role in his sleep at this point, but there are a few factors that make it seem like a pipe dream. For one, Elba would be the oldest actor to take on the role; currently 45, he's the same age as Roger Moore when he took over the role from Sean Connery, and he'd be pushing 50 by the time the first post-Craig movie got off the ground. Elba is also, frankly, possibly too big of an actor for the role; virtually every actor to take on the role of Bond has been an up-and-comer, either a relatively minor movie player or a TV star making the leap to the big screen. Idris Elba is already a Hollywood A-lister, and there's no guarantee he'd even be interested in the notoriously strenuous obligations of heading up the Bond franchise.
Elba aside, there are still plenty of great candidates to fill Craig's shoes. A few parameters: we're only including British actors (nobody wants the Bond version of Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes) and an age range of 30-40 years old, give or take a year here and there. Most everyone on this last has been rumored at one point or another for the role, and all of them would have obvious strengths as Britain's favorite super spy.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is one of the most versatile actors working today. After a small role in Steven Spielberg's Amistad, Ejiofor had roles in the polarizing Christmas romcom Love, Actually, Alfonso Cuaron's dystopia masterpiece Children Of Men, and in Joss Whedon's big screen Firefly continuation, Serenity. Ejiofor was vaulted to mainstream notoriety by his harrowing performance in the Academy Award-winning drama 12 Years A Slave, which he followed up with appearances in mainstream hits like The Martian and Doctor Strange.
Ejiofor's a versatile actor, and could likely inhabit several different versions of Bond, be it the more lighthearted Roger Moore iteration, or another take on the gritty, intense Daniel Craig version. At 41, Ejiofor is on the older end of actors who could realistically take on the role (and a potential obligation to Doctor Strange 2 could complicate matters), but he'd be a great fit.
Michael Fassbender has been one of the most bewitching screen presences in film over the last decade. After minor but memorable turns in films like 300 and Inglourious Basterds, Fassbender became a household name when he took on the role of a young, raw Magneto in X-Men: First Class. Magneto's mission of vengeance as he hunted former Nazis across Europe in 1960 invoked more than a little of the steely intensity that has defined Daniel Craig's Bond. Fassbender has that preternatural ability to wear a custom cut suit while murdering very bad people like it's second nature.
The main issue with Fassbender may be whether or not he wants to take on another franchise. He's played Magneto four times, including the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix, and he's become the face of Ridley Scott's Alien prequels. That said, the Disney/Fox merger may radically alter the status of both of those franchises. If Fassbender is in the market for a new tentpole, Bond may be the right fit.
"Marvel has a villain problem" is one of the most oft-repeated popular film truisms of the last decade, though it usually comes with one caveat: "...except for Loki". Hiddleston's performance as Thor's mischievous brother has ended up stealing more than one Marvel film from under the hero's feet, and it's easy to imagine the first Avengers film crumbling without his odious presence at its heart. Hiddleston has made some noise outside of the MCU - most notably in Kong: Skull Island and the award-winning miniseries The Night Manager - but he seems poised to take a bigger step into A-list stardom.
Hiddleston has long been rumored as a candidate for Bond, with many suggesting he was the odds-on favorite when it was looking as if Craig may not return. It stands to reason he'd still be near the top of that list a few year from now.