British actor Tom Hiddleston, best known for his role as Loki in the Marvel Avengers films, is emerging as the clear favourite to take over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond.
Though nothing has been announced by Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, punters are backing Hiddleston in a big way: his odds have shortened to 4/5 at Ladbrokes and 4/6 at William Hill.
Speculation has been mounting since Daniel Craig confirmed that the as yet untitled 25th Bond film, set for release on Valentine’s Day 2020, will be the last time he appears in the famous tuxedo.
Hiddleston first emerged as a viable Bond thanks to his impressive turn in the espionage thriller the Night Manager. However, with an announcement not expected until 2019, Hiddleston may well see those odds lengthen. Behind him are Idris Elba, a public favourite long linked to the role, and Tom Hardy, currently starring in Venom, another Marvel superhero movie. Elba is 7/2 with William Hill, with Hardy on 4/1.
On the other hand, these actors may be too familiar to be considered for the role of James Bond. Though one of the most iconic roles in contemporary cinema, it is rarely given to someone who is already an international name. Historically the producers have tended to make stars, rather than hire them, so it could be that these three are over-backed due to public familiarity.
Bond producers have also tended to favour actors with Celtic heritage and a relatively lower public profile. Among the less well known candidates, outside of the UK at least, are Aidan Turner, James Norton and Richard Madden. Madden is available at around 10/1 while Turner is currently listed at 12/1 with William Hill, tying with Norton.