Now that Daniel Craig has hung up his holster after No Time to Die, and the James Bond franchise is once again due a new actor to take on the role of 007 for Bond 26, a lesser-known name would, again, be the perfect choice. Daniel Craig himself wasn’t very well known at the time of Casino Royale (his first outing), was derogatorily labeled as “Blonde Bond” by the press at the time of being taken on as James Bond, and, at first, many people were left wondering who he was. But Casino Royale’s darkest moments for James Bond soon turned to bright light, later being touted by many as the very greatest James Bond film ever. Repeating a similar casting trick could be the key to continued success for the franchise.
The James Bond franchise has seen six actors take on the role of James Bond in the official series, over the course of 25 films, and Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan were perhaps the most well-known actors to adopt the role, with their previous respective roles in The Saint and Remington Steele. All the other actors in the leading role – Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, and Daniel Craig – weren’t particularly well-known actors at the time, and it was the 007 role that catapulted them to their now relative stardom.
The need to keep James Bond, one of the longest-running franchises, fresh is paramount. Reinvention has been prevalent all the way through the franchise for many years, and its evolution has been turbulent and dynamic from the very beginning. A big star in the role of James Bond (such as Henry Cavill or Tom Hardy) would mean that not only would a significant portion of the budget be attributed to that actor’s salary – money which would otherwise be distributed more evenly on the creative processes, such as the all-important writing – but it would also take away a lot of the franchise’s ability to express an all-round focus on other 007 defining tropes, such as James Bond’s Aston Martin, the villains, the gadgets, and the locations, all of which need funding and audience attention. Big stars have big fans, and those fans expect things from their idols, and a wrong casting choice could potentially ruin the James Bond franchise forever.
This very thing nearly happened with James Bond at the end of the 60s. George Lazenby was cast in the role of 007 for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which, though it’s aged well, did not do well commercially at the time. So, the producers twisted Sean Connery’s arm and put most of the budget on his salary, leaving a gaping hole in all other areas of the film. The result is Diamonds Are Forever, the James Bond film many consider to be the very worst (even if Diamonds Are Forever did predict Craig’s fighting style). Note: It Can Be Hard To Keep Track Of What Is Coming Out
Casino Royale, on the other hand, is considered by many to be the very best, and one of the main reasons for this is that it was intently focused on what it wanted to do creatively. The producers weren’t trying to pander to the audience and give the fans what they thought they wanted, which is exactly what they were doing with Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s fourth and last outing as 007, and the entry immediately before Casino Royale. Die Another Day was riddled with mistakes, and as a result, the franchise needed freshening up. Note: He Did Share A Romantic Relationship With Sersi In The 1990s
Bringing in a lesser-known actor in Daniel Craig (who, though reasonably established at this point in his career, had yet to lead a major franchise) steered focus away from the star at the center of it all, and much more onto the creative process, such as the plot, the narrative, and, most of all, the character arcs, particularly Bond’s own. While there are many things that James Bond 26 may inherit from Daniel Craig’s 007 era, this casting approach could be one of the most significant. Note: Fan Reaction To No Time To Die Would Suggest That