Fan-Favorite Actor Reportedly Drops out of Running to Be Next James Bond

There has been longtime speculation about Idris Elba potentially starring as the next James Bond actor, but all that has come to a rest, as the Beast star has reportedly pulled himself out of the running. The upcoming 26th Bond film will be the first without Daniel Craig, whose Bond met an explosive end in No Time To Die last year, since 2006. Craig starred as Ian Flemming's 007 five times.

Elba reportedly suggested other actors play Bond during conversations with producer Barbara Broccolli, The Sun reports. "Fans and Barbara wanted Idris but he wants to create something for himself," a source told the outlet. "However, he's put forward names to play 007. He's 'informally' in the decision-making process as he's been in talks with producers for so long."

During a January interview with Deadline, Broccoli praised Elba, who has long been considered one of the finest actors of his generation. "We know Idris, I'm friends with him," Broccoli said. "He's a magnificent actor." She later added that Elba was "part of the conversation, but it's always difficult to have a conversation when you have somebody in the seat" before No Time To Die ended Craig's run.

At 49, Elba's Bond run would have to start off with an older 007. Craig, 54, was 38 when Casino Royale was released in 2006. Pierce Brosnan was 43 when GoldenEye came out in 1995, and timothy Dalton was 41 when The Living Daylights hit theaters in 1987. Henry Cavill, 39, and Rege-Jean Page, 34, have emerged as bookies' favorites to replace Craig, although Broccoli and her half-brother, co-producer Michael G. Wilson, haven't said anything about them.

In September 2021, Broccoli told BBC Radio 4 they will not have serious discussions about Craig's replacement until this year. "We're not thinking about it at all. We want Daniel to have his time of celebration. Next year we'll start thinking about the future," she said at the time.

In other Bond news this week, MGM confirmed the 26th movie will still be distributed by Universal Pictures International, just like No Time to Die. The movie was carved out of a new distribution agreement the Amazon-owned MGM announced with Warner Bros. Sunday. The deal will go into effect next year.

No Time to Die became the third consecutive Bond film to win Best Original Song at the Oscars and was also nominated for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound. It grossed $774.2 million worldwide, proving that Broccoli and Wilson were correct in holding the film back for theatrical release after it was delayed multiple times because of the coronavirus pandemic.