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Whether it pans out or not, Aaron Taylor-Johnson would be a great James Bond

He's got both the style and the brawn.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Bullet Train
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Believe it or not, it's been more than 2 years and a half now since 007: No Time to Die opened in theaters and we said goodbye to Daniel Craig's James Bond after a long but memorable run that reshaped the character and, for the first time ever, gave him closure. That doesn't mean James Bond is going anywhere, and it's about time we start thinking about who's next in line to play the legendary role. The latest name gaining traction? Kick-Ass' Aaron Taylor-Johson.

Famously unreliable source of movie news The Sun has the 'exclusive' which has got the town talking again, so why are we even paying attention to this? Well, it's far from the only time these rumblings have been heard in recent years, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson has been slowly but steadily gaining audiences' trust as a new type of modern action hero... and antihero.

We'll next be seeing the 33-year-old actor in David Leitch's The Fall Guy (after working together on Bullet Train) and Sony Pictures' Kraven the Hunter (which aims to make up for Madame Web's flop). These gigs all come after secondary but impactful roles in other recent major studio action flicks such as Christopher Nolan's Tenet and Matthew Vaughn's The King's Man (which was about spies too). There's a tendency here.

Even before Kick-Ass sent him straight into the mainstream conversation, he tackled dramatic roles as important as John Lennon (Nowhere Boy). There was this brief misconception after Kick-Ass — where he played an awkward vigilante — that he could become Hollywood's next all-serious action star, thus he landed a deadpan and ineffective starring role in Legendary Pictures' Godzilla reboot (2014). It's the same kind of misfire that happened to Chris Hemsworth after Thor (2011) before he started regularly landing more comedic and offbeat parts, with Tyler Rake (Extraction movies) being the exception.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Tenet
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Thankfully, Avengers: Age of Ultron fixed this brief hiccup in Taylor-Johnson's career with his portrayal of Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver, who was a far more playful role that better fit his strengths. Putting military drama The Wall aside, everything that's come afterwards has had the actor playing up his cheekier side without sacrificing a knack for getting the s**t beat out of him in convincing ways. Sounds like the kind of person you'd want as the next James Bond, right?

It probably wasn't until Tenet (2020) that the mainstream conversation surrounding him started to turn around, with his brief but impactful part as the reliable and charming soldier Ives quickly becoming a fan-favorite. In fact, he even got some of the best one-liners in the movie and managed to hold his ground alongside main stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson. He didn't have much to work with, but made an impression that no one saw coming.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Kraven
Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing

Fast-forward to 2022 and he delivered another standout performance in Bullet Train as British assassin Tangerine, who had both the style and the brawn you'd expect from a post-Craig James Bond. Mind you, his wardrobe choices didn't quite fit Bond's, but otherwise, the whole role felt like an unofficial audition of sorts for the role. He nailed the drama, the fast-paced banter, the physical comedic timing, and of course, the fist fights. All while looking astonishingly good, facing against Brad Pitt, and feeling definitely more modern than Craig's brand of suave but brutish.

Here's the thing about James Bond: Each new actor pick for the role has to traditionally be somewhat unexpected, but the powers that be aren't big on no-names either. On top of everything we've presented here, Aaron Taylor-Johnson mostly fits that description. While everyone has been focusing on huge names like Idris Elba (now too 'old' for the role), Tom Hardy, or Henry Cavill over the years, not enough attention has been paid to the subset of 'action men in their prime' that may actually land the coveted gig. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is big and talented enough to be noticed, but has yet to blow up (and we don't think Kraven will be that role). In other words: top tier Bond material ripe for the picking.

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