In 2021, Daniel Craig officially wrapped up his time playing James Bond with the release of No Time to Die, which capped off a five-film run that started when the actor donned the tuxedo in Casino Royale after replacing Pierce Brosnan.
It seemed like Craig was preparing to move on from the role when you consider he said he’d rather slit his wrists than do another Bond movie ahead of the release of Spectre in 2015. However, he was unable to turn down the $25 million he was reportedly offered for one last ride.
There was already a ton of speculation about who might succeed Craig before No Time to Die hit theaters, and it’s only increased in the wake of the movie’s release.
A number of notable names have been floated for the role of the iconic MI-6 agent. Speculation a woman could play the spy for the first time has been dismissed by Craig (a sentiment reflected by Ana de Armas), and while Idris Elba did emerge as a candidate, it seems unlikely he’ll be the man for the job.
Earlier this year, casting director Debbie McWilliams said the franchise will likely be avoiding young and largely unproven actors. However, neither of those descriptors apply to Aaron Taylor-Johnson or Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden, who are both rumored to be top contenders for the vacancy.
Madden declined to address a question concerning that possibility last year, but plenty of people were convinced he’d dropped a hint thanks to a recent video where he was filmed drinking what appeared to be *gasp* a martini with a lemon peel garnish (Bond’s drink of choice) with Stanley Tucci.
It’s obviously a huge stretch to suggest Madden is sending a hint by drinking that particular cocktail, but based on the relative lack of information we have at our disposal, it’s easy to understand why plenty of fans have convinced themselves that’s the case.