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When people consider who should play James Bond after Daniel Craig is done with the role, Idris Elba’s name has probably come up more than any other. Everyone from the studio chiefs to Chris Hemsworth has backed the actor as a prime candidate to play the next 007.

Now, however, it’s looking very unlikely he’ll ever play the part. The actor feels disheartened at the number of people who say he can’t be Bond for one prejudiced reason: Because Ebla is black. “James Bond is white,” those people say, never mind that several people have also floated the idea of a female Bond. 

Why Idris Elba feels discouraged about being Bond

Idris Elba
Idris Elba | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

People quoted Elba’s interview with Vanity Fair where the actor expresses his disillusionment with the backlash over his proposed casting as Bond. 

“You just get disheartened when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be.’ And it really turns out to be the color of my skin,” Elba explained. “And then if I get it and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the color of my skin? That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.”

His frustration is understandable since the backlash is rooted in blatant racism. That said, many have his back. Sony studio chief Amy Pascal had stated that Elba should be the next Bond, although the choice is not up to her. That’s up to Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the heads of Eon Productions, which has produced all the official James Bond movies since 1962 — these do not include the spoof Casino Royale from 1967, or the Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery.

Would Idris Elba play James Bond?

Bond 25, on which filming is now underway, is the final film on Craig’s contract. However, Elba is not pursuing the role, although he may still take it if it were offered to him.

“Of course, if someone said to me, ‘Do you want to play James Bond?,’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah!’ That’s fascinating to me,” he told Vanity Fair. “But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond.’ Because, by the way, we’re talking about a spy. If you really want to break it down, the more less-obvious it is, the better.”

Who else could play James Bond?

Jamie Bell: The one-time  Human Torch may seem a bit young to play Bond, but at 33 he’s about the same age Sean Connery was when he inaugurated the role with Dr. No. Here’s a sign he was seriously considered: He starred in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, the rare non-Bond film made by Eon Productions. 

Emily Blunt is one of several women who have been suggested as Bond, and she surely has the acting and physical chops to pull it off, as she proved not only in the underseen Edge of Tomorrow but in Sicario as well. 

Tom Hardy is certainly no stranger to franchises, having been in both The Dark Knight Rises and Venom, but he tends to be iconoclastic with his roles, and we can’t imagine he’d want to be Bond for very long. 

Hugh Jackman has already been one iconic franchise character: Wolverine. He’d no doubt cut a dashing figure in a tux, but we do doubt that he’d want to shoulder yet another massive franchise so soon after finishing 

Chris Hemsworth plays a very Bond-like character in Men in Black International, but he’s still got that hammer to the clutch. Since Thor made it through Avengers: Endgame in mostly one piece, he’ll probably be tied up in the MCU for many years to come. 

Robert Pattinson was suggested by Danny Boyle, who had planned to direct Bond 25 before leaving the project. However, Pattinson was just cast as Batman.

That said, Elba is 100% fit to play James Bond. He’s got the charisma and the acting chops, which are the only two criterions for the role. When Eon does pick a new Bond, they’ll likely go with someone who is not an immediately recognizable name, as that’s what they’ve done almost every time. But fans can still hope that Elba makes the cut.