Why We May Never See A Young James Bond

As Daniel Craig's tenure as 007 has come to an end, it is now time for people to wildly speculate on who the next James Bond will be. Most of the casting choices brought up by fans of the series will never come true, for a myriad of reasons. The actor could be too old, too famous, too sleight, or just doesn't wear a suit well. Eon Productions, long led by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, look for someone established, but not a star, who could play the role for a long time, but are not too young. The latter requirement is a crucial point.

The youngest person to take on the role of James Bond for the Eon produced series was George Lazenby, who was 30 years old when "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" hit theaters back in December of 1969. Bond has never been a youngster's game. Half of the actors who have played the role (Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan) were already in their 40s when they first brandished the Walther PPK. While every other franchise is looking out for the next young, hot star, the Broccolis want solid adults who lived a bit of a life to play 007.

It is not that they haven't considered young people in the past. Henry Cavill came very close to playing the role in "Casino Royale" instead of Craig, and he would have only been 23 when the film came out (Craig was 38), but a young Bond has never panned out (outside of the animated series "James Bond Jr."). You probably should not expect it to anytime soon, either.

Bond is a vet

During a recent event at the British Film Institute called "In Conversation: 60 Years of James Bond" that featured Michael G. Wilson alongside frequent Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Rob Wade, among others, Wilson went into the process of how they go about choosing candidates to take on the role. He addressed why Eon has been averse to younger actors through the years, saying:

"We've tried looking at younger people in the past. But trying to visualize it doesn't work. Remember, Bond's already a veteran. He's had some experience. He's a person who has been through the wars, so to speak. He's probably been in the SAS or something. He isn't some kid out of high school that you can bring in and start off. That's why it works for a thirty-something."

To me, this makes perfect sense. Someone with the amount of confidence and world-weariness as James Bond could not exist in someone who hasn't had enough time to develop those things. Some in their early 20s walking up to a bartender without hesitation and ordering a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, would feel disingenuous, like he was trying to seem cooler than he is. With James Bond, he isn't putting on an act. He is that guy. Bond has seen things –- horrible things -– and goes through life with a hard edge.

So when you are sitting around, dreaming up actors you hope will take on the role of 007, keep that 30s age range in mind. Some 22-year-old isn't going to get it because you want it. And this is just as true in the other direction. Idris Elba probably isn't going to be James Bond. The man just turned 50 years old.