More men have walked on the moon than played James Bond. Twice as many, in fact, if we only count the official productions. (Twelve against six.)
Being James Bond is a bit like being England football captain or Prime Minister – it's a responsibility as much as a role, one that comes with the burden of history and a perpetual spotlight upon you.
Your tenure will be debated long after you are gone. You will be set against your predecessors and successors, your place in the pantheon assured but your status endlessly in flux.
Of course, the next James Bond will be following one of the greats, perhaps the greatest, give or take a Sean Connery. No pressure, 007.
In a better world, we'd be looking forward to the impending release of Daniel Craig's swansong No Time To Die. Alas, we must instead get our 007 fix with that classic parlour game – speculating on the next one.
To make life interesting: vote for your preferred candidate.
We also reached out to our friends at William Hill, who have provided odds and a one-line verdict. If you fancy a flutter, the book can be found here.
Whomever is leading the vote on May 1 will be crowned the Square Mile readers' official candidate for the next Jame Bond. A celebratory article will duly follow.
You can discover more info about our candidates below:
Vote here or at the bottom of the page
VOTE – WHO GETS THE TUXEDO?
These talented actors would make a fantastic Bond – but has their moment been and gone?
Has been linked with the job for the last decade. Would be a historic choice as the first black James Bond.
Argument for: If you entered ‘masculine ideal’ into a computer, a picture of Idris Elba would come up. Has the looks, the charisma, the presence, the pedigree - need we go on?
Argument against: Age, alas. It’s true of everyone in this group but Elba would be gone 50 by the time of his debut outing. His tenure would have to be short and sweet.
William Hill says: Would be a great choice if he was ten years younger. 12/1
Another perennial contender with established blockbuster pedigree. Would be ‘hardy’ to turn down... (It’s a Bond article: embrace the bad puns!)
Argument for: Hardy could undoubtedly pull off the combination of suavity and thuggishness that has served Craig so well. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Hardy’s Bond paired with regular collaborator Christoper Nolan?
Argument against: His similarities to Craig may work against him. Like US Presidents, Bonds tend to be the antonym of their predecessor. It’s how we went from Roger Moore in a clown costume (Octopussy) to Timothy Dalton feeding unarmed henchmen to sharks (Licence To Kill).
William Hill says: Was favourite a couple of years ago but is unable to smile. 16/1
Steely yet soulful, the Shame star has all the necessary tools for the part.
Argument for: Watch the scene in X-Men: First Class where Fassbender’s Magneto executes two former Nazis. Add a bit of his ultra-smooth Lieutenant Hilcox from Inglorious Basterds and you have a Bond for the ages.
Argument against: Those films came out in 2009. Plus, his stint as Magneto might rule him out of another iconic franchise.
William Hill says: Had a real chance when they chose Daniel Craig. 10/1
A bit of a wild card, yes, but after Peaky Blinders could you rule the man out?
Argument for: He would be a real departure from Craig, a Bond of silk rather than steel. Plus there’s precedent: both Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan had major TV roles before donning the tuxedo.
Argument against: Murphy’s Bond is a tantalising prospect, but he might be even better suited for a Bond villain. Those gorgeous blue eyes have evil in them…
William Hill says: Peaky Blinders is perhaps too big for him to make the transition. 10/1
Established stars with time on their side – but does their face fit?
The multi-talented Welsh actor has been a Hollywood regular for more than a decade – and would certainly look hella good in a tuxedo.
Argument for: Has a ton of blockbuster experience but wouldn’t be overshadowed by a signature role (see: Fassbender). Could also be the first Bond to sing the title song – he has a beautiful baritone voice.
Argument against: As with Murphy, Evan is another who you suspect is more likely to figure as an antagonist rather than Bond himself.
William Hill says: Not impossible but still an outsider. 66/1
Could the dashing Cavill be a super man for the job? (God, even Moore might have rejected that stinker.)
Argument for: It was between Cavill and Craig last time round - with the former deemed too young. He’s not too 23 anymore…
Argument against: Can you really play Superman and Bond? It feels as though Cavill’s subsequent career might have been too successful. He’ll probably cope.
William Hill says: He has already played a wooden superhero and cannot see them choosing him as Bond. 16/1
Seemingly around forever, the Marvel star is somehow still in his 30s.
Argument for: Another one who would offer a genuine reimagination of the character post-Craig. Hiddleston’s Bond won’t be running through any brick walls.
Argument against: Hiddleston comes with baggage both onscreen - his Loki is a recurring character in the rather popular MCU - and off. Apparently the producers really didn’t like his very public fling with Taylor Swift.
William Hill says: Shot himself in the foot with Taylor Swift disaster. 13/2
Right age, right profile, right moment – these could be the men to beat.
The chiselled Yorkshireman has become a frontrunner in recent years after acclaimed turns in Grantchester and McMafia.
Argument for: An established TV actor with limited exposure on the big screen? That’s an ideal CV for the next JB. Being handsome hunk of man flesh doesn't hurt, either.
Argument against: No obvious one, although the casting might lack a certain pizazz. But he’s a strong contender, no doubt.
William Hill says: Very smooth and has all the assets required. 5/2
Get this man a scythe! And remove his shirt! And swap the scythe for a gun! Shirt stays off.
Argument for: Critically acclaimed TV role that showcased some serious acting chops while turning him into a sex object? Check. It’s looking good for Aiden…
Argument against: Um… he played a lovelorn dwarf in the Hobbit? That’s the best we’ve got. It’s really looking good for Aiden.
William Hill says: It will be a dark day if they choose Poldark. 12/1
Far from the most ‘Outlander-ish’ choice on offer. The last Scot turned OK, too.
Argument for: Critically acclaimed TV role that showcased some serious acting chops while turning him into a sex object? Check. It’s looking good for Sam…
Argument against: He turns 40 at the end of April. Our hunch is the producers will be looking mid-30s or younger. Our hunches are often wrong, however (too much desk work).
William Hill says: Another Scot who could make the franchise his for many years to come. 8/1
Could the King in the North become the spy in the south?
Argument for: While Madden made his name in Game Of Thrones, it’s his taciturn turn in Bodyguard that really boosted his Bond credentials. Bonus points for being Scottish.
Argument against: Very, very few. As with Turner and Norton, the stars are aligned for him. Can he pull off a good quip? Probably: he’s an actor, after all.
William Hill says: Was great on BBC but too much hype compared to reality. 8/1
Are the producers looking to get the lowdown on Lowden? (OK, we think that one was rather good.)
Argument for: Not only does the CV look right plenty of TV, smattering of film), Lowden also boasts impressive stage credentials. Shakespeare, Sophocles, Ibsen…fair play.
Argument against: He looks a lot younger than his 29 years. May be a case of right man, wrong moment.
William Hill says: A great Scot who could follow in the footsteps of Sean Connery. 4/1
It's not impossible – but it's unlikely...
A seriously talented actor, O’Connell could prove an inspired choice – but would certainly be a risky one.
Argument for: His signature performances combine a latent vulnerability with a palpable aura of violence. Remind you of anyone?
Argument against: O’Connell can do intense but can he do effortlessly suave? We think he can, but it’s a question worth asking nonetheless.
William Hill says: We like him but just not as Bond. 100/1
He's proved his credentials on the big screen, small screen and stage. Why not follow Daniel with Daniel?
Argument for: We hope – and suspect – the character will be taken a completely new direction. Kaluuya could certainly provide it.
Argument against: Like O'Connell, another fine actor who it's hard to visualise as Bond. But that could yet work in his favour.
William Hill says: A little obscure for now. 66/1
Bear with us. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
Argument for: Dunkirk proved Styles to have some serious acting chops. He really would bring Bond into the 21st century. And think of the box office!
Argument against: There’s such a thing as thinking too far outside the box (office). Harry Styles: James Bond may be it.
William Hill says: He is a singer not an actor. 500/1
A late entry but Bond's never been one for the rules (he's gone rogue from MI6 on multiple occasions). Welcome to the party Mr Winston Duke.
Argument for: Tall, handsome, the right age, the right profile, plenty of swooning fans, fills out a suit, and looks like he could handle Jaws and Oddjob simultaneously. That's a lot of boxes ticked.
Argument against: Duke is Trinbagonian–American, and you suspect the producers want a Brit. But Henry Cavill played Superman, and if the Americans can accept a Limey as their cinematic icon, there's no reason we should be precious about ours.