That tragic day has finally come: We must put to bed our dreams of Idris Elba revitalizing the 26-films-and-counting James Bond franchise. The charismatic (and hunky! SO hunky!) star of the BBC’s Luther recently confirmed that, despite years and years of industry rumors and fan speculation, he will NOT play 007. My martini isn’t the only thing shaken, not stirred, by this news.
I’m honestly not sure how I will cope, beyond repeated viewing of Luther and this one ridiculously hot clip from his time as Stringer Bell on The Wire:
But just because Idris has taken himself out of the running doesn’t mean the race for a POC as Bond is over! Here are my suggestions for stars of color who could take the iconic role through the next decade and beyond.
In my opinion, Harris is actually the most obvious choice to take James Bond in a new direction, since she’s already entrenched in the universe as Eve Moneypenny. Imagine Daniel Craig’s Bond falling in the line of duty and Eve taking on the mantle of 007 to seek vengeance or finish his last mission. She’s brilliant, capable, gorgeous, and already a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. It would be a smooth, story-based transition, staying within the continuity established by 2006’s Casino Royale. Also, I admit I’m not over the Eve/James shaving scene in that movie. Whew! Talk about cutting it close!
Just because Idris isn’t interested doesn’t mean we still can’t have a devastatingly handsome black British man play Bond! One of the criticisms I saw about all the Idris spec was that he’s too old. We don’t have that issue with 26-year-old Boyega, who has already been part of two blockbuster franchises—Star Wars and Pacific Rim—and could easily lead a third franchise for the next decade. Bonuses? He played Idris’ son in this year’s Pacific Rim: Uprising, so it would be a nice little nod to him picking up yet another legacy from the actor—and he even did a cute ad spot for Google that tips its hat to all the Bond casting rumors!
Night Of and Rogue One star Ahmed, who takes a villainous turn in this fall’s Venom, is already an actor, an activist, and a rapper—why not add globe-trotting spy to the list? The multitalented star has been very outspoken about the importance of diverse representation, but he’s also proven his mettle when it comes to playing out tense, action-driven plots. Plus, he’s incredibly attractive. All the pieces are there to put this British Pakistani Bond puzzle together! (And, okay, I would enjoy seeing heads explode over the first Muslim 007! Who even needs a Walther PPK?)
So, the adorably coifed (Sorry, I’m fixated on his hair!) Patel is one of our own: In a 2016 interview, the Lion and Slumdog Millionaire star rooted for Idris to play James Bond. In the same chat, the actor revealed, “Give it a couple of years and I’d love to be a Bond villain, that would be amazing,” and added that a good Bond villain is “menacing.” Does anybody really want to see this handsome fellow menace people? Come on now! And his next project is a retelling of David Copperfield slated to debut in 2019. If he can step into Dickensian shoes, why not turn Ian Fleming’s canon on its head as well?
Bollywood bombshell Chopra is no stranger to action and intrigue after heading three seasons of ABC’s Quantico, and she’s already expressed interest in the role — bypassing 2016 talk of her being a Bond girl by saying, “But f— that — I wanna be Bond” and adding that the role can easily be played by a woman. “And not Jane,” she told Refinery29 that same year. “She should be James Bond, and she should be able to sell it. Why not?” Can Chopra sell it? I certainly think so! Not to mention that it would be a nice kick in the pants to the post-colonial masculine hyperfantasy of 007 to have an Indian woman take on the Bond moniker!