Despite repeated delays to the release of No Time To Die, the latest edition in the James Bond series, Daniel Craig’s time in the tux will come to an end.
While it’s been confirmed the 007 code will transfer to Nomi, a new character played by Lashana Lynch, there’s no such certainty about who’ll take up Craig’s mantle as Bond. The debate on who’s next to pick up the pistol, then, is only just starting.
Plenty names have been bandied about for the next Bond, but these are largely based on opinion. So, what does the data say on who should take over?
Studying the full series of films, and each of the featuring lead actors, we’ve created a profile for the successful Bond. This has been based on several criteria such as their current level of fame, number of acting credits and certain physical appearances to find those who match previously appointed Bonds the best.
Bookies’ favourite Tom Hardy doesn’t make the cut
The odds-on favourite to replace Craig, at the time of writing, is Tom Hardy. However, he didn’t even make the top 50 in our research, never mind the top 30.
Historically, those filling the role haven’t been widely known beforehand. With 50% more acting credits than the average profile and a top-100 popularity rating, according to IMDb’s STARmeter, Hardy scored only a 5% match by our calculations.
The table is actually topped by Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire), Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Elyes Gabel (World War Z) and Charlie Cox (Daredevil), who match the profile on every factor bar one. They’re joined by Harry Lloyd (Legion) who just makes the top five picks despite a couple of near misses on the Bond Blueprint criteria.
Robert Pattinson, Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam have all been touted as possible Bonds, but find themselves among the lowest scorers on a 35% match – largely let down by their place in IMDb’s top 500 actors. Martin Compston, otherwise known as DI Steve Arnott in Line of Duty, scored higher.
While the next Bond is uncertain, his car definitely isn’t
The effort of working out a profile for a successful Bond car is a wasted one, with Aston Martins featuring in five of the superspy’s 10 highest-grossing films.
And in three of those it was the DB5 specifically, the car most associated with Bond after its first appearance in 1964’s Goldfinger. British film production firm behind Bond, EON Productions, know a fan favourite when they see one.
No Time To Die will feature four Aston Martin models – the previously seen DB5 and V8 Saloon, alongside the DBS Superleggera and yet-to-be-released Valhalla hybrid, giving Bond an eco-friendly option that still has all the performance he’s used to.
A closer look at the top 30 Bond candidates
In total, 15 actors scored within 10% of the 50% match required to get into the top 30. Among them, Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan and Nonso Anozie of RocknRolla and Game of Thrones. Star Wars’ John Boyega and The Umbrella Academy’s Tom Hopper are also unlucky to miss out.
Basing our age parameters on the youngest and oldest actors to take up the role (George Lazenby at 29 and Roger Moore at 45), meant a one-time frontrunner in Idris Elba missed the mark.
That said, his increasing involvement in Hollywood and not-so-under-the-radar status would likely also rule him out.
After inflation, Sean Connery earned the franchise £4.3 billion
In all, the James Bond series has generated over £10 billion after inflation. Especially when considering the films’ arguably most iconic lead actor, Sir Sean Connery, earned nearly half of that himself, there’s a lot riding on it.
The Scot’s mother, Effie Maclean, could also in some way be part of the same clan as Sir Fitzroy Maclean – the politician and Major-general that many believe to be a main inspiration for Bond author Ian Fleming.
Of the 10 highest-grossing editions, Connery featured in four – Thunderball, Goldfinger, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever – and grossed just over £4.3 billion in the process.
Will James Bond need a new double-0?
Bond’s 007 tag has stuck with the character since his first appearance in Dr No almost 60 years ago. This is about to change - in No Time To Die at least - with Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch taking the title, showing that there may be some more dramatic format changes to come in the classic spy series.
It’s certainly refreshing to see an established franchise scouting a new, diverse generation of talent to continue bringing the character to new audiences.
As an average of the lead actors to feature in the 10 highest-grossing Bond films, our Bond Blueprint was created to find current actors who are the closest matches according to data.
Using IMDb’s Advanced Name Search, 50 criteria-matching contenders between the ages of Bond’s youngest and oldest actors (as of their first films) were added to the database and scored against the success profile. The % match reflects how suited each actor is to that profile.
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