Bond 26 is still a while away, but in the meantime, here are our picks for the next big villain.
What does a Bond villain need? A vaguely menacing European accent, a wardrobe replete with skimpy coats, and a penchant for world domination: these are just a few of the prerequisites for any major baddie willing to do battle with Mr. Bond . The best of them are as ingrained in our memories as the superspy himself – think of Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale or his successor in Skyfall , the strange Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
And when we were picking up our Nintendo 64 controllers to play GoldenEye in multiplayer, who were we playing with if not Pierce Brosnan ?With Oddjob, Jaws or Alec Trevelyan.
In that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of our picks for the next big bad. Could it be Lady Gaga, who would no doubt be trying to steal a billion dollars from the EU to prepare for the role? Or Jamie Campbell Bower , whose duplicities in Stranger Things 4 could see him guffawing from his remote island lair at the end of the play? And the Joker himself, Joaquin Phoenix ? After all, we’ve never seen Bond cackle himself to death.
Our opinions below.
The pop sensation is one of the biggest artists in the world, but Gaga uses her star cache to make some very astute acting decisions. Her role as Ella’s Ally in Bradley Cooper ‘s A Star is Born should have earned her an Oscar, for example, and her display of crazy theatrics was easily the film’s most visible. House of Gucci elevating her far beyond what she had a right to be. Now, it’s quite possible that she’ll go from being a near-Italian assassin – a relatively small gamble, even with the world’s most famous fashion house in the crosshairs – to a greater cause of villainy, taking over the world in much the same way that it already does it as a megaforce of pop.
Come to think of it, it almost seems like the only viable option: The producers say they want to “evolve” Bond, both the character and the franchise, and what better way to center Gaga as a relentlessly ostentatious, classically over-the-top baddie? After all, we already know that she knows how to put an accent.
After winning over fans with his on-the-minute one-liners and car-salesman charisma, Bob Odenkirk was the unlikely recipient of the Breaking Bad future , taking the lead role of Bryan Cranston in the Better Call Saul sequel. In this case, it was made with the love of the fans, and the spin-off was just as celebrated by critics and audiences as its predecessor, if not more. Last year, he had a wonderful action role in the movie Nobody , in which he played a family man chased by a drug dealer, struggling to get out of a series of sticky situations, so we know he can get his hands dirty. If what the Bond producers are looking forBond 26 is a charismatic quack, a guy who can bring a touch of black comedy to his evil deeds, look no further.
The conventional choice would be to cast a real European for the Bond 26 villain , and not just a German, but Daniel Brühl ‘s star in blockbusters is very much on the rise, starring as the villainous Baron Zemo in Captain America: Civil War. and Falcon and the Winter Soldier (he’s the guy who fabricated said Iron Man vs. Captain America infighting ). Rumors and speculation have it that he will lead the titular anti-hero supervillain squad in Thunderbolts , which will arrive in 2024, around the time the next Bond is expected to appear….so maybe, just maybe, it’s the year of Brühl .
Look, we all have to face the inevitable truth, as much as it hurts: The chances of Idris Elba playing Bond are slimming down, unless it’s a one-off stop before a longer stint in the tuxedo ( think of George Lazenby doing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service between Connery and Moore ). But that doesn’t mean Elba can’t be a Bond villain . After all, he has the material for it: his starring role in Luther is more of a flawed antihero than a virtuous protagonist, and Bloodsport , ofSuicide Squad , he’s an excellent villain. What better way to please fans than to slip in Elba as a smart old dog disenchanted with MI6 , in the style of Trevelyan ( GoldenEye ) or Raoul Silva ( Skyfall )? He could take on Bond in a battle to prove he’s the better spy, with a sly nod to years of casting fans.
He is one of the best and most demanding in the business, so one wonders if he would think he is below him. But if asked, and if he says yes, we think Phoenix could be one of the most suitable Bond villains to date: he’s already known for his evil deeds and his anti-heroes, from the Joker to Commodus in Gladiator, and has the kind of generational acting chops with the propensity to elevate any script, necessary for the best Bond villains. If he was given the right script, he would surely be a BAFTA candidate, and he wouldn’t get it if the script wasn’t good.
Charlize Theron has already ruled herself out as a candidate to reprise the mantle of Double O, so even in the unlikely event that the Bond producers turn to a female spy for the next installment, we know it won’t be her. As with Elba, though, that doesn’t mean she can’t appear as an enemy: her previous role in Atomic Blonde was all the proof we needed that she can kick ass in a spy thriller. Now we want to see her across the table.
Jamie Campbell Bower
Certainly a popular choice for Stranger Things. The British Jamie Campbell Bower became famous throughout the world for his role as Vecna in the fourth season of the science fiction series. Sure, he’s younger than a Bond villain (they’re usually more mature and gruff), but we see in Bower a younger Gustav Graves : he could be a menacing tech chief like Elon Musk or even another posh MI6 traitor . In any case, the series would benefit from his insidious elegance.
Oscar Isaac is something of a franchise nomad, appearing in projects like Dune, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, X-Men, and Star Wars in recent years. While you might think your Moon Knight is going to be a Marvel mainstay in the future – and he’s booked and busy with at least four other projects at the moment, including a return to the Spider-Verse – why not introduce him? also in Bond? After all, he was the titular villain of X-Men: Apocalypse, and if a guy who played a character with the literal name of Apocalypse isn’t fit to be a Bond villain?, we’re not sure who it is.
A couple of years ago, Diane Kruger appeared in The Operative , playing a renegade Israeli Mossad agent. She in statements she admitted that she “always thought it must be great to be James Bond “. Even if she’s not high on the betting list for super agent, she’d make a pretty good Bond villain . Just think of her role in Inglourious Basterds (2009), where she played Bridget von Hammersmark, a German woman who collaborated with the Allies in World War II .
Ah, perhaps the biggest surprise on this list on paper, but with a little research, you’ll be convinced. On the one hand, Stewart is a generational talent: She’s one of the best going, as her recent portrayals of Princess Diana in Spencer and her collaborations with Olivier Assayas ( Personal Shopper, The Clouds of Sils Maria ) have shown. Stewart has a dark touch, a really fascinating ambiguity that could lend itself very well to a mercurial shapeshifter, perhaps a villain .with a redeemable side, or at least with rounded and sympathetic motivations. We’re not looking at a world destroyer, because fundamentally we want Stewart ‘s villain to be likeable, but menacing at the same time.