The casting of the next 007 is a contentious issue for cinephiles around the world, especially for those in Bond’s native United Kingdom. He’s among the most iconic fictional people to ever be fictionalized—Bond fans are more protective of him and his legacy than perhaps any other fervent fan group is of their precious heroes (save, maybe, One Directioners).
Accordingly, the internet has stirred itself into a hilarious frenzy over which actor will be blessed with the opportunity to don the famous tux and shoot people in beautiful, remote, locations. Below is a temporal record of this never-ending brouahaha.
October 2012: Skyfall, the third Bond film to star Daniel Craig, premieres.
Craig suggests that Steven Gerrard, the Liverpool football star, succeed him as the next James Bond.
November 2012: Craig is rumored to be on contract for two more Bond films after Skyfall.
Fall 2012: The Idris Elba rumors begin.
January 2013: Craig suggests that Robert Pattinson, an actor best known for his role in the vampire franchise Twilight, be the next James Bond.
July 2013: Skyfall director Sam Mendes announces that he will return to direct the next Bond film.
Summer 2013: Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Daniel Radcliffe, boxer David Haye, and One Direction’s Niall Horan are all rumored to be the next James Bond.
September 2013: Three-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis is rumored to be the next James Bond.
Three-time Oscar Winner Daniel Day-Lewis shoots down rumors that he will be the next James Bond.
Fall 2013: Tom Hardy, Damian Lewis, and several other handsome white British actors are rumored to be the next James Bond.
January 2014: Idris Elba says there is no truth to the rumors that he will play James Bond. “It’s a rumor that’s gotten out of control,” he says.
Spring 2014: A twist! Kevin Spacey and Chiwetel Eljiofor are rumored to be the next Bond villains. Neither rumor proves to be true.
September 2014: Denzel Washington says he’d like to be the next James Bond.
December 2014: Sony reveals the cast of the next Bond film, called Spectre.
Leaked Sony emails reveal that former Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal supported the idea of Idris Elba as the next James Bond.
The Idris Elba rumors begin once again.
American conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh says James Bond cannot be black.
February 2015: Former Bond star Pierce Brosnan endorses Idris Elba for Bond 2016.
March 2015: Eighty-seven year old former Bond actor Roger Moore says Bond should be “English-English.”
April 2015: For some reason, there are more Ryan Gosling rumors.
June 2015: British oddsmakers give Damian Lewis the best chance to become the next James Bond.
August 2015: David Oyelowo announces he will voice Bond in an upcoming audiobook, becoming the first “black James Bond.” The internet later begins to wonder if he should play Bond on screen, too.
September 2015: Anthony Horowitz, an author of James Bond novels, says Idris Elba is “too street” to play Bond.
Horowitz apologizes the very same day.
Tom Hardy becomes the bookies’ favorite to play Bond, ahead of Lewis and Elba.
Rumors swirl that British soccer legend David Beckham could be cast as the next Bond. Beckham laughs, but the internet is serious.
Brosnan predicts the next Bond will be white, and, unfortunately, he’s probably right. (After all, big studios still love casting dweeby white kids as superheros.)
Craig says that Spectre will likely be his last Bond film, despite reportedly being under contract for one more. More rumors commence.