In the least shocking news since I woke up to a blue sky this morning, the world appears to have finally accepted that Daniel Craig is done being James Bond. Apparently those wrist-slitting threats weren't enough of a clue, and a cool hundred million can't tempt Danny back.
With that in mind, I thought it could be fun to turn my attention to which actor will be next to take orders from M, banter with Q about technology and bread, and do the whole creepy-but-sexy thing with random European women half his age. Let's take a look at five strong, slightly left-field choices to take over as 007.
The Game Of Thrones Choice: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Obviously it wouldn't be possible to compile this list without a Game of Thrones actor in the mix, so let's get that out of the way first. Tyrion has proven he can womanize, but he doesn't quite have the stature of Bond. Jaime Lannister, though? I can picture that.
Coster-Waldau is Danish, but it wouldn't be the first time Bond didn't hail from the scepter'd isle — I'm looking at you, George Lazenby — and his English accent is pretty decent. More importantly, he's been seriously convincing as a suave on-screen killer; just check out his performance in the crazy and extremely brilliant Norwegian action-comedy Headhunters (which has many shades of Bond in itself) for definitive proof:
Verdict: A left-of-center choice, but handsome, charming and talented enough to make it work.
Score: 7 martinis out of 10.
The Retro Choice: James McAvoy
In the Daniel Craig era, Bond hasn't been much of a gent, more a killing machine with an insane body and a decidedly grumpy outlook on life. Back in the '70s, Roger Moore's 007 was somewhere at the opposite end of the spectrum — a camp ladies' man with some questionable fashion choices and an eyebrow that came to life every time he made a double entendre.
McAvoy's take on the world's most famous spy could sit somewhere in the middle of these two character types; believable as an athlete and a killer, but slightly more averse to spending time charming the ladies, and comfortable enough in his own sexuality to drive around in a yellow Citroën. Check out his role in Wanted and Danny Boyle's action-thriller Trance to see what our boy James can do.
Verdict: McAvoy has the experience and the look for Bond, but does he have the edge? And is he simply too much of a nice guy?
Score: 5 martinis out of 10.
The Gender-Swap Choice: Hayley Atwell
Now we're talking. Atwell, the British bombshell who did such good work as Agent Peggy Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has already thrown her hat in the ring to take over as Doctor Who:
Personally, though, I don't like Doctor Who and I'd be annoyed at having to watch it if Atwell was the new Time Lord. I can totally see her as Jane Bond, though.
The evidence? Well, any Marvel movie, or specifically Agent Carter, in which Atwell's spy takes numerous names on both the East and West Coast in the '40s and '50s, all the while looking impossibly gorgeous. Two-part TV drama Restless also finds the Brit in super-sleuth mode. Well worth checking out.
Verdict: With a gift for comedy and a habit of kicking ass in basically everything she does, Atwell would be the ultimate choice for a female Bond. But would the world accept her, or is it a creative reinvention too far?
Score: 8 martinis out of 10.
The Ladies' Choice: Aidan Turner
American audiences might not be too familiar with Turner, but Brits know him for his habit of making 50 percent of the viewing audience fall in love at first sight, whilst the remaining 50 percent is consumed by instant jealousy.
Turner made his name as one third of a vampire-werewolf-ghost triad in the excellent Being Human, before appearing in Desperate Romantics, in which his character enjoyed a frankly indecent amount of sex and occasionally wrote a poem or two. James Bond doesn't do poetry, but he did once utter a cunnilingus/"cunning linguist" double entendre. And it was everything.
Verdict: Male audiences might resent Turner a bit to begin with, but there'd be a whole new female audience for Bond 25 if he came on board, and he's young enough to play the role for years.
Score: 8 martinis out of 10.
The Badass Choice: Idris Elba
Elba has said in the past that he wouldn't enjoy being the "black Bond," but honestly, this man is such a force of nature that by the time the opening credits rolled on his first movie, he wouldn't be the black Bond — he would simply be Bond.
There's only one role that anybody need look to for evidence of his magnetism, and that's his titular role in Luther, the British police drama in which Elba's cop basically runs around London in an amazing coat, tearing perverts and serial killers a new one. Like Craig, Elba's Bond would be brutal rather than suave, but even the jaded DCI John Luther has an optimism that is lacking in the spy at present.
Verdict: Nobody is better suited to step into 007's tailored tux than Elba, and if there's any justice in the world, he will be the next James Bond.
Score: 10 martinis out of 10.