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Bond 26: Everything We Know About the Next James Bond Film

The anticipation for the next James Bond film, tentatively titled Bond 26, continues to build as fans eagerly await the return of the iconic British spy. While no official announcements have been made regarding the release date or the next actor to portray 007, rumors and speculation abound in the world of Bond fandom. As the franchise celebrates its 60-year anniversary, the recent acquisition of MGM by Amazon has added a new layer of intrigue to the future of the Bond films. In this article, we delve into what we currently know about Bond 26, exploring the possibilities for the next James Bond, potential directors, and other exciting developments. Join us as we separate fact from fiction and dive into the world of Bond 26.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bond 26, the twenty-sixth film in the James Bond franchise, has not yet been officially announced, but its release is inevitable.
  • The next actor to portray James Bond remains unknown, with the producers considering diversifying the role and potentially casting actors from different backgrounds.
  • While speculation abounds, no official confirmation has been made regarding the director for Bond 26.
  • The release date for Bond 26 is expected to be in 2024 or 2025, with the film likely to be a reinvention of the Bond character.
  • Despite MGM’s acquisition by Amazon, the Bond films are committed to theatrical releases and will not go straight to streaming platforms.

Bond 26, the codename for the twenty-sixth film in the 60-year-old James Bond movie series, has not yet been officially announced, but its release is as inevitable as 007 enjoying his martini shaken and not stirred. Bond’s co-owner MGM was acquired by Amazon in 2022, and long-time 007 producer Michael G Wilson assured fans that the character will return.

“It’s a whole new world,” he said in 2022. “We’ve got to see what happens with Amazon. But there’ll always be a Bond.”

Tabloid rumors about the next Bond movie are a time-honored tradition in the UK, but should always be read with a liberal pinch of salt. So here, to sort the fact from fiction, is everything we know about Bond 26 so far.

Who will be the next James Bond?

This is the big question. More men have walked on the moon (12) than have played Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 on the big screen (six), making it one of the most coveted and career-defining roles in Hollywood.

Daniel Craig — and the events of No Time To Die — has ruled himself out of making a sixth film as Bond, thus leaving the door open for a new actor to play the role, but who it will be remains unknown at this stage.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, the decision-makers behind the Bond films, have shared a few hints about what to expect from the seventh actor to play 007.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson
Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson

Talking about the type of actors they will consider to play Bond, Wilson told Variety in 2020: “You think of him as being from Britain or the Commonwealth, but Britain is a very diverse place.”

“He can be of any color, but he is male,” added Broccoli.

“Nobody’s in the running,” Broccoli later told Deadline in June 2022. “We’re working out where to go with him, we’re talking that through. There isn’t a script, and we can’t come up with one until we decide how we’re going to approach the next film because, really, it’s a reinvention of Bond. We’re reinventing who he is, and that takes time.”

Later that year, speaking again to Deadline, Wilson added: “We’ve tried looking at younger people in the past. But trying to visualize it doesn’t work. Remember, Bond’s already a veteran. He’s had some experience. He’s a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He’s probably been in the SAS or something. He isn’t some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That’s why it works for a thirty-something.”

Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams explained to Radio Times why the next Bond won’t be in his twenties after they toyed with the idea for Casino Royale: “We did look at a lot of younger actors, and I just don’t think they had the gravitas, they didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the mental capacity to take it on because it’s not just the part they’re taking on, it’s a massive responsibility. So we kind of scrubbed that idea and went back to the drawing board and started again.”

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Many names have been bandied around by fans including Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, and Rege-Jean Page, but the most credible rumor to date is that Kick-Ass star Aaron Taylor-Johnson could be the next actor to play Bond.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson on the red carpet
Aaron Taylor-Johnson on the red carpet

 

Initial rumors published by The Sun were backed up by industry professional Matthew Belloni, who wrote for The Puck: “The Aaron Taylor-Johnson rumors are true — he sat with producer Barbara Broccoli, and the meeting went well, per sources. But while Taylor-Johnson fits the bill — great actor, British, fits the younger direction the Broccolis want to go, accomplished but not particularly famous — he’s about to be a much bigger star.”

Former Superman star Henry Cavill, 39, also seems a likely choice, having come close to landing the role in 2006’s Casino Royale. He lost out then for being too young (22) but could miss out this time around for being too old.

Regardless of which actors the rumor-mill decides to spotlight in the tabloids, we can only know for sure who the next James Bond will be when the producers are ready to confirm it.

When will Bond 26 be released?

Production on No Time To Die wrapped in 2019, but the film was delayed several times before it was finally released in November 2021. As such, Daniel Craig remained the official Bond of record until the promotional circuit for the film was completed deep into 2022.

DANIEL CRAIG NO TIME TO DIE
DANIEL CRAIG NO TIME TO DIE

It’s safe to assume Bond 26 is currently in development at EON Productions, the film company behind Bond, but there’s been no official word on when we can expect to see it in cinemas yet.

The closest hint came in September 2022 when Broccoli told Variety about the next Bond film: “It’s going to be a couple of years off.”

This points to 2024 or 2025 as the possible release window for Bond 26. However, once they pull the starting pistol, you can expect Bond 27 and beyond to follow.

Speaking on the Empire Podcast in 2022, Broccoli and Wilson said they would ‘probably’ get the ball rolling on Bond 26 by working with longtime writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade as a first port of call.

One thing we can be sure of: When Bond 26 hits cinemas, it will be released by Universal Pictures. Bond’s co-owner MGM signed a two-film deal with the studio to distribute No Time To Die and Bond 26.

Despite MGM’s acquisition by Amazon, producers say the Bond films will never go straight to streaming.

“We focused on making the films for theatrical release, and I think that’s our position,” Broccoli told Sky in 2021. “[Amazon] certainly have told us that the films will be theatrical films in the future. And we’ll see what happens.”

Bond 26 rumors

While who will be the next James Bond is the most persistent conversation around Bond 26, there have been a number of rumors around the movie that have generated headlines around the world.

Richard Madden ‘drops hints’ he is the next 007

In April 2023, Stanley Tucci shared a video on Instagram which showed him sipping vodka martinis with Citadel star Richard Madden. The post was instantly flooded with comments saying that Madden should be the next 007, with some suggesting that this was the Scottish Game of Thrones star’s way of letting fans know he was in contention for Bond 26. But would any actor in the running for Bond 26 risk his chances for the sake of some likes on Instagram? Seems unlikely.

Richard Madden
Richard Madden

Denis Villeneuve is ‘frontrunner’ to direct Bond 26

Instagram rumor-mongers Deux Moi claim “Denis Villeneuve is the #1 target for Bond producer Barbara Broccoli,” which is not outside the realm of possibility. In 2018, Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve was on the shortlist to direct No Time To Die. He ruled himself out in favor of making Dune, but has long admitted a desire to direct a Bond film one day. In 2021, he said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast: “I would deeply love to one day make a James Bond movie. It’s a character that I’ve been with — like everybody — since my childhood. I have massive affection for Bond. It would be a big challenge for people to try and reboot it after what Daniel did.” Villeneuve is currently in post-production on Dune: Part Two, which will arrive in cinemas in November 2023, so there’s a chance the stars could align in time for production to begin on Bond 26.

Denis Villeneuve
Denis Villeneuve

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the ‘first choice’ to direct Bond 26

On April 1, 2023, The Mail On Sunday published a story that claimed that the Fleabag creator had been in ‘early discussions’ with Bond producer Barbara Broccoli and was now her ‘number one choice’ to direct Bond 26. In June 2023, Waller-Bridge debunked the rumor while promoting Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, telling Vanity Fair: “My mom sent me that rumor too,” before denying the rumor flat out, pointing out that she’d only ever directed one music video before. “So the obvious leap is James Bond,” she jokes.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge
Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Daisy May Cooper ‘will be the new M’

In March 2023, The Sun published a sensational scoop that claimed the Bafta-winning creator of This Country “is in talks to join the Bond franchise — as spy chief ‘M.’” An unnamed insider claimed: “Bosses hope the 36-year-old would bring a comedic and quirky edge to the role,” as the producers make the films “a bit lighter and more comedic going forwards.” However, Cooper has already dismissed this claim, saying “the only M I’ll ever be is Mental.”

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Daisy May Cooper
Daisy May Cooper

Phoebe Waller-Bridge ‘will write Bond 26’

In September 2019, when No Time To Die was in post-production, trusted Bond insider Baz Bamigboye wrote for the Daily Mail that the Fleabag creator — and co-writer of No Time To Die — was being ‘wooed to help write a future James Bond film. “The award-winning writer and actress are being wooed to contribute to the script for Bond 26, which is still years away,” he claimed. “How much she’ll actually work on Bond 26 will depend on who directs it.”

Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. (Lucasfilm)
Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) and Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. (Lucasfilm)

Bond 26 may not be filmed at Pinewood

In 2019, Disney signed a deal to lease Pinewood Studios — the home of Bond and the location of the fabled 007 Stage — in a years-long deal. With Disney’s crowded production slate, this could mean the next Bond film may need to find a new home. The BBC reported, though, that a deal could be made between EON and Disney to ensure Bond 26 still has a home at Pinewood: “Despite the Disney deal, it is believed that there is a possibility that, given its history, future James Bond films will still be filmed there.”

Daniel Craig giving the then-Prince of Wales a tour of Pinewood in 2019
Daniel Craig giving the then-Prince of Wales a tour of Pinewood in 2019

Jacob Elordi might be in the running to play Bond

In March 2022, Instagram rumor-mongers Deuxmoi claimed that Australian Euphoria actor Jacob Elordi was being considered as the next 007. This was based on an anonymous tip sent to them that said “There has been interest in Jacob Elordi becoming the next James Bond. The franchise wants a younger leading man for the reboot. But it’s very early days.” You can probably chalk this one up to thirsty fans of the 25-year-old star of Netflix’s Kissing Booth series.

Jacob Elordi
Jacob Elordi

Who will direct Bond 26?

The conversation and speculation around who would direct the next James Bond film only really began during the Pierce Brosnan era. Prior to Michael Apted directing 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, Bond films had traditionally been helmed by journeymen directors such as John Glen, who directed all five 007 films released in the 1980s, or Guy Hamilton (four Bond films) and Lewis Gilbert (three).

However, since then, the series has sought out increasingly more acclaimed directors as the series evolved into the prestigious, award-winning franchise it is now. Landing Sir Sam Mendes for 2012’s Skyfall gave the series a new level of artistry previously unseen, and he returned for 2015’s Spectre, before Oscar-winner Danny Boyle was hired to take on No Time To Die.

Boyle left the production early on and was replaced by Emmy-winner Cary Joji Fukunaga, who delivered the finished film and later expressed an interest in directing another Bond film, telling Yahoo in 2021: “I would never say never.”

Beyond Fukunaga (who seems unlikely to be asked back), it’s worth looking back at the other directors linked with Bond 25 before Danny Boyle was signed up. Yann Demange (’71), Susanne Bier (The Night Manager), David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water), and Denis Villeneuve (Dune) were all mooted as possible directors, so they could be back in the frame for Bond 26.

The name most fans would like to see in the chair is Christopher Nolan, who has previously stated an interest in directing a Bond reboot. In 2012, while promoting The Dark Knight Rises, he told Empire about directing a Bond film: “It would have to be the right situation and the right time in their cycle of things.” Then, talking to Playboy in 2017 while promoting Dunkirk, he cited Bond as one of his moviemaking white whales: “I’ve spoken to the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson over the years. I deeply love the character, and I’m always excited to see what they do with it. Maybe one day that would work out. You’d have to be needed, if you know what I mean. It has to need reinvention; it has to need you. And they’re getting along very well.”

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

Nolan’s next film Oppenheimer is in cinemas from July 2023. If a Bond 26 director isn’t announced by then, expect Nolan to field the question many times on the press tour.

1. What is the release date for Bond 26?

The release date for Bond 26 has not been officially announced yet. However, based on statements from Barbara Broccoli, the film is expected to be a couple of years away. This suggests that we may see Bond 26 hit cinemas sometime in 2024 or 2025. The exact release date will depend on various factors, including the development and production timeline of the film. Bond films are known for their high production value and meticulous attention to detail, so it’s understandable that the filmmakers would want to take their time to ensure a quality installment in the franchise.

2. Who will be the next James Bond?

The next actor to portray James Bond has not been officially confirmed. Daniel Craig, who played Bond in the previous films, has stated that he will not be returning for another installment. The producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, have hinted that they are open to diversifying the role and considering actors from different backgrounds. While many names have been speculated by fans and the media, including Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Tom Hiddleston, Rege-Jean Page, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Henry Cavill, no official announcement has been made regarding the casting of the next James Bond. It remains an exciting mystery for Bond fans to anticipate.

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3. Will Bond 26 be a continuation of the previous films?

While there hasn’t been specific information about the plot of Bond 26, Barbara Broccoli has mentioned that they are considering a reinvention of the Bond character. This suggests that the film may take a fresh approach and potentially deviate from the narrative arc established in the previous films. The Bond franchise has a history of adapting to the times and evolving with each new iteration, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bond 26 introduce new elements, themes, and storylines. However, until more details are revealed, we can only speculate about the specific direction the film will take.

4. Is Bond 26 going to be released on streaming platforms?

Despite MGM’s acquisition by Amazon, the producers of the Bond films have stated that they are committed to releasing the films in theaters. In an interview, Barbara Broccoli emphasized their focus on making the films for theatrical release, and Amazon has assured them that the Bond films will continue to be released as theatrical films. This indicates that Bond 26 is unlikely to bypass cinemas and go straight to streaming platforms. The Bond franchise has a long-standing tradition of being a cinematic experience, and the producers intend to uphold that legacy by ensuring that future Bond films are seen on the big screen.

5. Who are the frontrunners to direct Bond 26?

The director for Bond 26 has not been officially announced yet. Cary Joji Fukunaga directed the previous Bond film, No Time To Die, and while he has expressed interest in directing another Bond film, it is uncertain if he will return for Bond 26. Christopher Nolan, known for his work on films like Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy, has expressed a desire to direct a Bond film in the past. However, no confirmation has been made regarding his involvement in Bond 26. Other directors who were previously linked to the franchise, such as Yann Demange, Susanne Bier, David Mackenzie, and Denis Villeneuve, could also be considered as potential frontrunners for the director’s chair. Ultimately, until an official announcement is made, we can only speculate on who will helm Bond 26.

6. Will Bond 26 be filmed at Pinewood Studios?

Pinewood Studios has been the iconic home of the Bond franchise, with the renowned 007 Stage being located there. However, in 2019, Disney signed a deal to lease Pinewood Studios for several years, potentially impacting the filming of future Bond films. While there is uncertainty regarding the filming location of Bond 26, it is believed that there is a possibility of an agreement being reached between EON Productions (the Bond film company) and Disney to ensure that Bond 26 can still be filmed at Pinewood. Given the historical significance of Pinewood Studios to the Bond franchise, it would be ideal for the filmmakers to find a solution that allows them to continue the tradition of filming at this iconic location.

7. Is there any truth to the rumors about Richard Madden being the next James Bond?

Richard Madden, known for his role in the TV series Bodyguard and Game of Thrones, has been the subject of speculation regarding his potential casting as the next James Bond. However, it’s important to take these rumors with a grain of salt until official announcements are made. While Madden was seen socializing with Stanley Tucci, who played a Bond villain in No Time To Die, this does not confirm his casting as the next Bond. Casting decisions are carefully considered by the producers, and until they make an official statement, it is impossible to determine the accuracy of these rumors. Bond fans will have to wait for an official announcement to know who will take on the iconic role.

8. What is the likelihood of Phoebe Waller-Bridge directing Bond 26?

There have been rumors suggesting that Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of Fleabag and co-writer of No Time To Die, could be the director of Bond 26. However, Waller-Bridge herself has debunked these rumors, stating that she had only directed one music video before and that the leap to directing a Bond film seemed unlikely. While she may have had discussions with Barbara Broccoli, the Bond producer, her busy schedule and limited directing experience indicate that the likelihood of her directing Bond 26 is low. It’s important to rely on official announcements for accurate information regarding the director of the film.

9. Is there any truth to the rumors about Daisy May Cooper joining the Bond franchise as ‘M’?

There have been reports claiming that Daisy May Cooper, the creator of This Country, is in talks to join the Bond franchise as the new ‘M’ (the head of MI6). According to unnamed insiders, the producers hope that Cooper would bring a comedic and quirky edge to the role, aligning with their vision of making future Bond films lighter and more comedic. However, Cooper herself has dismissed these claims, stating that the only ‘M’ she will ever be is ‘Mental’. Until there is an official confirmation from the producers, it’s best to approach these rumors with caution.

10. Will Bond 26 continue the trend of reinventing the Bond character?

Barbara Broccoli has mentioned that Bond 26 will involve a reinvention of the Bond character. This suggests that the filmmakers are exploring new directions and approaches for the iconic spy. Each actor who has portrayed Bond has brought their own interpretation to the role, and the franchise has consistently evolved over its 60-year history. Bond 26 will likely continue this tradition by presenting a fresh take on the character, adapting to the modern era while staying true to the core essence of James Bond. The specific details of this reinvention are yet to be revealed, but fans can expect an exciting and innovative portrayal of Bond in the upcoming film.

Conclusion:

As the James Bond franchise prepares for its next installment, Bond 26, fans around the world eagerly await the unveiling of the next actor to portray the iconic spy. With rumors swirling and speculation rampant, the producers of the Bond films have remained tight-lipped about specific details, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats. The future of Bond 26 promises a reinvention of the character, maintaining the franchise’s legacy of adapting to the times and pushing the boundaries of the spy genre. While the release date and director are yet to be officially announced, one thing is certain: Bond 26 will continue the tradition of delivering thrilling espionage, captivating action, and the timeless charm that has made James Bond a cinematic icon for over six decades. Stay tuned as more updates emerge and the world of Bond prepares for its next thrilling chapter.

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