Imagine this scene gracing the big screen: Tom Hiddleston whispers, "The name's Bond. James Bond," as he lies on a bearskin rug, holding glass of champagne and jazz music floats out of a nearby gramophone. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I am not speculating wildly. Hiddleston could play James Bond, if the rumors that he's in talks are to be believed. There's been a flurry of casting activity in recent weeks since the rumor that Daniel Craig wouldn't return as Bond caught steam. Naturally, this has led to many of us wondering who exactly could be filling the rather large shoes of 007. Would we finally be getting Idris Elba? Maybe an actress would enter in serious talks, like my eternal fave Gillian Anderson? But, even if the head casting honchos and producers did stick to the same white male archetype, Hiddleston could actually be a nice shake-up to the role.
What makes Hiddleston such a groovy Bond choice? Well, for starters, he's society's favorite celebrity crush. You may laugh, but it's a serious home truth. A major part of Hiddleston's celebrity is the bankability of his boyish, milquetoast looks, revved up by his charmingly cool intellect. Aside from that, Hiddleston has played a diverse coterie of characters: villains (Thor, Crimson Peak), good guys (Midnight In Paris), lovable antiheroes (High Rise, Only Lovers Left Alive). He can handle the spy genre rather well, too (The Night Manager). If Bond is going to remain an enigma, a man imprisoned by all of his feels at all times, he should be played by a man who knows how to do it well. This superficial duality of man is only helped along by Hiddleston's eagerness to take on Bond.
Moreover, Hiddleston might actually shake up the way we consider our favorite spy. Bond's brand since his inception more than 50 years ago has been built on old-school masculinity, spy intrigue, and debonair British sensibilities. If that's not Hiddleston all over, I don't know what is. But Hiddleston can also contribute a sensitivity, a warmer iteration of the cold, brooding Bonding we've dealt with for years. If the casting choices are going to stay in the safe (read: white, male) lane, then the franchise needs an actor who can soften up onscreen — and should be softened up by way of the script.
Craig's possible departure from the Bond franchise also begs bigger questions like whether or not the world still craves more Bond films or whether we should still going along with the same kind of actor to play him. In 2016, with modernity pounding on the metaphorical door of 007, there is no real reason for future films to re-tread on familiar narrative mainstays, like the need for a Bond girl, an uber-masculine villain, or an endless rehashing of Bond's murky personal history. Those are the things that have contributed to recent films, like Spectre , having such a lukewarm reception. So, if there is the desire to continue with Bond, there needs to be a serious re-tooling of the character and the world that surrounds him.
The fandom may begrudge the choice to not go with a bold overhaul (I'll still cross my fingers that Elba gets into those talks soon), but the pained departure of Craig signals a need for big changes. With Hiddleston as a major fixture of the current pop culture zeitgeist — still familiar in his Englishness, but sensitive, goofy, and capable enough to handle Bond — there could be a forgiveness from the fandom and perhaps renewed eagerness to invest in the franchise. In doing so, there's a chance to eliminate the more ancient aspects of Bond in favor of some truly modern goodness.