The Next 007 Could Be Gay, Black or a Woman

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Why you should care

Because he’s the world’s favorite British agent.

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Terrorists have secured the compound, sharpened their machetes and grabbed their prisoner. Tinged with sand, sweat and desperation — the setting’s all too familiar. But when the handcuffed one in orange is told to give their name, the bowed head lifts. “Bond,” she says with a cunning grin.

Fans have been counting on Britain’s famed Secret Service agent for 54 years, thanks to Eon Productions and its 24 flicks, which have raked in more than $7 billion worldwide as six different faces have offered their inner spies on the silver screen. But now that the latest Bond, Daniel Craig, has rung the bell for last call, many are wagering on who will fill the penguin suit next. And remember: Craig was a surprise the last time around. “He wasn’t one of the front-runners,” says bookmaking giant William Hill’s press officer, Joe Crilly.

Eon Productions certainly won’t comment on who might make for a perfect new Bond, and many believe Tom Hiddleston of spy-like Night Manager fame has it locked up as “the red-hot favorite,” Crilly says. But that doesn’t mean all bets are off among British bookmakers. Sexy Aidan Turner — visions of a scythe-wielding Poldark may come to mind — isn’t far behind, followed by Tom Hardy and Idris Elba.

And how about this for a modern-day twist to what should be a martini-fueled, star-guessing game: a gay, or perhaps female, Bond? The character is “elastic enough to be taken in lots of directions,” contends international entertainment and brand agent Seamus Lyte, noting how Dame Judi Dench raised eyebrows as M but quickly made the role her very own. So could Rupert Everett or Alan Cumming fit the bill? Many Doctor Who fans are calling for a feminine lead of their own, and fans of Gillian Anderson have pushed the X-Files star for consideration in the role of Bond. So maybe it’s time for Craig to hand the reins to his wife, the stunning Rachel Weisz, or ask Emma Watson to cast a spell over the role.

But picking a Bond from across the pond is where Lyte draws the line: “I think … whoever plays Bond has to be quintessentially British.” Sorry, Matt Bomer.

Before the next Bond makes an explosive debut, who would you wager on to fill 007’s shoes? Suggest your pick for others you’d like to see as contenders.

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