James Bond will undergo a dramatic change after No Time To Die, set for release next spring, when Daniel Craig departs following 14 years in the title role. His replacement has yet to be confirmed but that isn’t stopping fans flooding to the bookmakers to put money on their favourites.
Luther star Idris Elba is holding his place among the frontrunners with bookies and is still priced at 8-1.
According to Coral spokesperson John Hill, Elba snagging the role as 007 in the next movie after No Time To Die could set bookies back.
While Outlander actor Sam Heughan is still favourite for the job, priced at 5-2, there’s a chance Elba could be the first black actor to play the part in franchise history.
“Sam Heughan continues to attract the most bets in our next James Bond betting and is the clear favourite to replace Daniel Craig as 007,” Hill said.
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“There have been calls for support behind Idris Elba becoming the first ever black actor to play the role and as a result of that gamble, that would be a costly result for the bookmakers,” he added.
“Richard Madden and Tom Hardy both have their fair share of supporters too which proves that the filmmakers have a strong list of candidates who tick all the right boxes when it comes to James Bond.”
Venom star Hardy is priced the same as Elba at this point, as is Michael Fassbender.
Meanwhile, Bodyguard’s Madden is among the leaders of the pack on 5-1 behind Heughan, as are Tom Hiddleston and James Norton.
Elba has previously revealed how he would respond if he was asked to take on Bond after Craig leaves, telling Vanity Fair: “James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey.
“Of course, if someone said to me, ‘Do you wasn’t to play James Bond?’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah!’ That’s fascinating to me.
“But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond,” he added.
The Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw star also responded to the backlash the idea of him being cast as the new 007 had elicited from certain fans.
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“You just get disheartened when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be,” he explained. “And it turns out to be the colour of my skin.
“And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the colour of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to,” he added.
Frontrunner Heughan has also previously addressed the possibility of being cast as Bond in an interview with STV.
The Outlander star said he thought any actor who says they don’t want to play 007 “would be lying”.
“I think it’s about time we had a Scottish Bond again,” he continued. “I think Ian Fleming had a good connection with Scotland and I believe James Bond was supposed to have been brought up in Scotland.”
In a separate interview with The Scottish Sun the actor joked he would only play the role if his character wore a kilt.
Craig’s final outing as Bond will arrive in cinemas next year as he takes on a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology in No Time To Die.
Retired from active service at the beginning of the movie, he’s soon roped back in after an encounter with his old friend Felix Leiter (played by Jeffrey Wright) who asks for his help rescuing a kidnapped scientist.
James Bond: No Time To Die is released in UK cinemas April 3, 2020.