Movies | Celebrity

Idris Elba Finally Addresses Rumors He's Replacing Daniel Craig As James Bond

Harald Krichel / Wikimedia - MGM / Columbia Pictures

The James Bond franchise is one of the world's most popular movie series, and every time the British super spy returns to theaters, audiences flock to see him in action.

So when British tabloid The Daily Star reported casting news about the series last week, fans perked up.

The story's suggestion about who could be the next Bond prompted so much online debate and controversy that the man himself was forced to step in and discuss the rumors.

"My name's Elba, Idris Elba."

Idris Elba James Bond
Idris Elba is rumored to be the next James Bond.BBC

The recent report hinted that British actor Idris Elba was being seriously considered for the part of Bond by longtime series producer Barbara Broccoli.

Director Antoine Fuqua reportedly told the paper that Broccoli would be ready for more diverse casting when the current Bond actor, Daniel Craig, finally left the role.

Idris Elba James Bond
Daniel Craig has played Bond since his 2006 debut in 'Casino Royale.'MGM / Columbia Pictures

"It is time," he told The Star, "it will happen eventually."

Elba made a name for himself in America playing the gangster Stringer Bell on HBO's hit series The Wire. He has also starred in blockbusters like Pacific Rim, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the Thor series.

Idris Elba James Bond.
Elba has been rumored as the next Bond for almost a decade.Harald Krichel - Wikimedia

In the UK, he's best known for his long-running role on the BBC series Luther, playing the London detective of the same name.

This isn't the first time that rumors have swirled about Elba being cast as the famous spy. As he joked in 2015, "I’m probably the most famous Bond actor in the world, and I’ve not even played the role."

"Too old" to play Bond

Idris Elba James Bond
Elba is 45, which he says is "too old" for the part.DFID / Glyn Lowe - Wikimedia

Elba has shot down these casting rumors many times before. In 2016, he even called them the "wildest rumor in the world."

And the actor also has some practical concerns about taking the part. He's currently 45, while Craig is 50.

The oldest first-time Bond actor ever was Roger Moore, who was cast at age 45 and went on to play Bond seven times over 12 years.

Idris Elba James Bond
Moore was 57 when he retired from playing Bond.Allan Warren - Wikimedia

Then again, Monica Bellucci played a "Bond girl" alongside Craig at age 51 in Specter, and audiences had no complaints.

"Idris could do it if he was in shape," Fuqua told The Star. "You need a guy with [a] physically strong presence. Idris has that."

Until now, the real question seemed to be if Elba wanted the part.

Idris Elba James Bond
Craig will likely give up the part after his next Bond film.MGM / Columbia pictures

"Running around in cars and ladies and martinis, who wants to do that?" the actor once joked. "Sounds terrible."

"But everywhere I go people want that to happen," he admitted.

His odds look good

Idris Elba James Bond
Before the latest rumors, Tom Hardy was the favorite to play Bond next.Tim Cornbill / Harald Krichell - Wikimedia

Elba's bump from The Star's report was enough to get London's bookmakers excited.

In the city where anything and everything is worth a bet, Elba's odds of being cast as Bond were pegged at just 14/1 earlier this year.

Before the casting news he still trailed at 3/1, behind frontrunner and Inception star Tom Hardy, but the report was enough to push him to the front of the pack with 2/1 odds.

Bookmakers also say they've seen a flurry of new bets on Elba since the story broke.

Idris Elba James Bond
Elba's tweet got fans a little excited.Idris Elba - Twitter

After keeping fans in suspense for days, Elba added fuel to the fire with a dramatic tweet on Sunday.

The actor shared a photo of himself, with a caption that read, "[My] name's Elba, Idris Elba."

"Double-OH MY GOD!" one fan replied. "YES YES YES," said another.

But Elba dashed their hopes just hours later, with another cryptic tweet.

"Don't believe the HYPE..."

Idris Elba James Bond.
Even if Elba was cast as Bond, we would never hear about it until Craig retired from the part.Idris Elba - Twitter

After getting their hopes up, it seemed that Elba didn't want his fans to mistake the casting rumors for news.

"Don't believe the HYPE," he tweeted.

Fuqua's agent also dismissed the story, saying the director's conversation about Elba was "made-up stuff."

Even if Elba was a frontrunner for the part, we would never hear an announcement before the current Bond actor said farewell to the part.

Idris Elba James Bond
Bond fans will have to wait until 2020 for casting news.Justin Kroll - Twitter

Craig is set to reprise the famous role for the spy's 25th onscreen outing. His fifth Bond film (and the final one on his contract) begins shooting soon with Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle at the helm.

That means fans will have to wait until at least 2020 for any casting news about the series.

Other likely suspects for the next take on Bond include Tom Hardy, Steve Jobs star Michael Fassbender, and TV's Poldark star Aiden Turner.

Who do you think should play James Bond after Craig retires?

[H/T: Today, BBC, Variety]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com