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Idris Elba Responds to James Bond Rumors—And It’s Not Looking Good

Idris Elba in Luther as DCI John Luther

James Bond is one of the most successful cinematic franchises of all time, but the next actor to take on the role has yet to be announced. Since the first Bond movie, Dr. No, was released in 1962, seven different actors have played James Bond in feature films, including Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and, most recently, Daniel Craig.

With Craig’s final outing as the titular hero in No Time To Die premiering back in 2021, audiences are beginning to wonder who will take on this iconic role next. Idris Elba, known for his roles in The Wire, Luther, and Pacific Rim, among others, has been a fan favorite choice for years, and speculation around his involvement has run rampant.

It’s no surprise that Idris Elba has been a frontrunner with fans—he embodies the essence of James Bond’s character. He’s handsome, suave, charismatic, and can certainly handle the action-heavy plots demanded by a James Bond story, as many of his previous roles have proven. And, given the last few Bond outings have taken on a more emotionally heavy tone—with great success—Elba would also be a good fit for the role, as we know he can balance more dramatic and serious storytelling with humor and sophistication. A true Bond fan can ask for no more than that.

Idris Elba addresses Bond rumors

And yet, despite his seemingly perfect candidacy, Elba recently put the idea of him as Bond to rest once and for all. In an interview with The Guardian, Elba said this of the rumors about him being the next James Bond: “It’s a compliment and an honor, but it’s not the truth.”

Though he speaks very highly of the franchise itself and the producers (to whom he’s very close), he adds: “From my perspective, there’s never been any sort of truth to any of it.” In the interview, Elba sneakily implies that there may have been discussions at some point, and yet he makes a point of reiterating that nothing ever came close to happening. It would seem that any last shred of hope that Idris Elba will be next in line to take on the role has officially vanished—so who will be the next James Bond instead?

In October 2022, No Time To Die producer Michael G. Wilson stated that they were looking for a “thirty-something” for the role, someone who can believably shoulder the burden of the 007 monicker for a while without aging out of the part too quickly. Names that have been tossed around, besides Elba’s, include Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Henry Cavill, Richard Madden, Regé-Jean Page, Tom Hardy, and Henry Golding, among others. At this point, there’s no telling who will be cast, though all these options are equally plausible.

For those of us mourning the loss of Idris Elba as James Bond, there may yet be a silver lining. Elba compared his work as DCI John Luther in the BBC series Luther to the role of James Bond, with big ambitions to take the character and his story to the levels of similar action franchises like Bourne and Mission Impossible. DCI John Luther now has the chance to prove his mettle and his franchise potential, with Luther: The Fallen Sun, a movie continuing where Luther season 5 left off, recently premiering on Netflix. Idris Elba may not be the next James Bond, but he’s got plenty of exciting work still to come.

(via The Guardian, featured image: BBC)

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El (she/her) is a UK-based writer and lover of all things Marvel, Star Wars Tolkien, Pokémon, and more. She has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and hopes to one day publish an original fantasy novel.