Daniel Craig is not under contract to return to play James Bond again. While doing press for Spectre, when he was asked if he could come back to play the role, he famously told Time Out magazine, “Now? I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists. No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.” He did walk back that statement, but it’s left fans wondering if he’s really going to return to the franchise.
Whether he returns or not is still up in the air, but executive producer Callum McDougall told the BBC [via Variety] that Craig remains the “first choice” for producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. Here’s his full quote when asked if Craig would return to play Bond:
“I wish I knew,” he said. “We love Daniel. We would love Daniel to return as Bond. Without any question he is absolutely Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli’s first choice. I know they’re hoping for him to come back.”
He added that the role was “absolutely” Craig’s if he decided to return.
If this is the case, it makes sense that EON wants Craig back as Bond. He’s a proven commodity. He starred in the highest grossing Bond film of all time (Skyfall). Audiences are comfortable with Craig as Bond, and while you can lure them out with something shiny and new, you’re still running the risk of alienating audiences with someone who doesn’t embody Bond.
Sure, you can cast an actor as popular as Tom Hiddleston, but that doesn’t mean he’ll make a good James Bond. Furthermore, the performance has to suit the tone of the franchise. Craig wouldn’t have fit the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies and vice-versa.
It’s also worth pointing out that who will play Bond isn’t the most pressing question right now. It’s where Bond will land. The franchise made its home at Sony, but now the rights are back up for grabs, and I’m curious to see what studio picks it up and what direction they want to take it before I get into an argument over who should get the license to kill.