James Bond has finally made his comeback to cinema screens but the conversation will very quickly shift to what comes next.
After five outings as 007, Daniel Craig has hung up his gun holster as the iconic film spy following the latest franchise outing, No Time To Die.
While the new film brought Craig’s tenure to its conclusion, the speculation of who replaces him was already intense before but will now reach fever pitch.
But is just moving on to the next Bond the answer for what comes next in the franchise?
Next James Bond
The most obvious and well-tread avenue, of course, would be to recast the role of James Bond and start afresh.
We have had no shortage of potential contenders being floated about by bookmakers, pundits and on social media.
A new film focusing on Bond would need to offer something original and distinct from the Craig era and with a whole new timeline that disregards what came before.
The film could even be a period piece and perhaps return Bond to his Cold War roots.
Yet, could it be too fast to jump from the epic ending of No Time To Die straight into another movie reboot?
Nomi and Paloma
No Time To Die offered a dynamic roster of Bond women and many were left wanting more from MI6’s latest 00 agent, Nomi ( Lashana Lynch ).
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A charismatic presence with her own rich skillset, Nomi would make an ideal protagonist for a spin-off film.
Even better would be if she was joined by Ana de Armas in her role as the bubbly but deadly CIA operative Paloma.
Her time in No Time To Die may have been short and sweet, but her loveable personality was undeniable.
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Perhaps a dynamic espionage duo would be ideal?
This would also offer opportunities for the returns for other favourite characters who have appeared as Bond’s allies with MI6.
A different Bond family member
It wouldn’t be the first franchise to do a spin-off film about a relative of the original hero.
Perhaps a prequel about Bond’s parents, a sequel following a child or surprise sibling would be a way to tackle a thrilling story with some differences.
There have been reports of a continuation of No Time To Die without Daniel Craig and involving writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge but we will have to wait and see on that front!
Authors Charles Higson and Steve Cole have written a series of novels about James Bond’s youth, beginning when he arrives for his education at Eton College.
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Naturally, despite his youth, Bond ends up caught in the same types of scrapes and adventures that he has become known for but also forms his character along the way as we get insights into his past.
This really would be a different avenue for the franchise and would also offer a different tone too, but would it still be appealing to the same audience?
Possibly not, but it remains an intriguing prospect to appeal to a younger generation – even if being a pupil at Eton isn’t the most relatable situation for many.
Bond on TV
James Bond has appeared in 25 official films and other non-official offshoots now but perhaps as the mediums of cinema and television change, perhaps a move to the smaller screen is on the horizon.
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The Daniel Craig era was increasingly serialised with films being interconnected unlike the episodic outings of yesteryear, which along with the treasure trove of novels from author Ian Fleming, there is a wealth of content to adapt for a longer series.
Could Bond end up in a big-budget blockbuster series on a big streaming service?
Whatever happens, we’re sure fans of James Bond will turn out for whatever the producers of the series decide to do next, but one thing is for certain: Daniel Craig’s era will be a tough act to follow.
*No Time To Die is out now in UK cinemas.
What would you like to see come next for James Bond? Let us know in the comments below.