The Search for the New James Bond: Here are the Top Contenders for the Next 007

James Bond's longtime 'Q' actor says franchise requires 'something quite radical' for next 007 entry

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Sep 30, 2021, 12:25 PM EDT

With Daniel Craig officially vacating the role of James Bond after the release of No Time to Die next week, the hunt for a new 007 will kick off sometime next year. In addition to finding a new actor to play the iconic character, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson also need to decide how the series will move forward both narratively and thematically. Will they keep the tone and characters of the Craig era or do something totally different?

Appearing on the most recent episode of the Just for Variety podcast hosted by Marc Malkin, Ben Whishaw (the actor who plays gadget-master Q), was asked about the future.

In particular, Malkin broached the topic of Bond being Black, gay, or female. Whishaw explained that the IP needs to continually evolve and adapt if it wants to stay relevant. That's exactly what Casino Royale did back in 2006, eschewing the goofiness of past installments in favor of the grounded and more cynical attitudes reflected in post-9/11 spy films like The Bourne Identity.

"There's been 25 films. It's not like people are starved of seeing that kind of iteration of the character," the actor said. "And I think if they want to continue with this character in the franchise, I think you can explode it and do anything. I don't know what that should be, but it seems to me like it should be something quite radical [and] something really different. It's got to change, it's got to keep changing. We're in different times now. But yeah, we'll see. I suppose there will always be people who want it to stick to the way it was whenever ago. And they're important because they love these films, but I just think you can do both. You can honor the character and the tradition and you can push it forward, too. I think you have to if it's not just gonna become a kind of museum piece."

No Time to Die — which opens in U.S. theaters next Friday (Oct. 8.) — represents an unprecedented step forward for the long-running franchise in that it's the first mainstream Bond title to be directed by an American filmmaker: Cary Fukunaga.