Meet the four candidates for the role of James Bond

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The third, less often advertised, is Micheal Ward, a very capable 24-year-old born in Ian Fleming’s beloved Jamaica and raised in London and Essex. Bafta Rising Star winner Ward also has a former Bond director on his side: he stars alongside Olivia Colman in Sam Mendes’ new film, Empire of Light.

And fourth, there’s Thomas Doherty, 27, with franchise experience (he plays Captain Hook’s son in Disney+’s Descendants ) and an impressive Lothario role: he stars in the Gossip Girl reboot and shared an intimate scene with Helen Mirren, if you will, in the recent miniseries Catherine the Great. Like Sean Connery, Doherty was born and raised in Edinburgh, and his face has some of Connery’s polished cruelty – even when dressed as a teenage pirate.

Any of these four could offer the “reinvention” that broccoli is striving for. And while recently, when Craig was cast, a non-white Bond would have been unthinkable, the producer has repeatedly said over the past two years that race should not be a barrier to the role.

But more broadly, there is a balance to be struck here. One of the reasons Bond persists is that he can change with the times while remaining the same: while the world order boils and re-establishes itself, the idea that Britain still has a subtle, hidden hand at the helm strikes a different chord today like once upon a time. When Fleming dreamed up Bond in the early 1950s, the idea was already a comforting throwback. If we evolve too far from that, our man in Wherever He Ends Up Next could be anyone.

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