Despite the likes of Idris Elba and Tom Hiddleston entering the 007 fray in recent months, Daniel Craig is still the "absolutely the first choice" to play the next James Bond, an executive producer has revealed. According to Callum McDougall, the makers of the franchise want Craig to continue to play the iconic British spy.
During a recent appearance on Radio 4's Today programme, he said that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson were keen for the 48-year-old star to reprise the role and were "hoping for him to come back".
Asked who was lined up as a potential successor, the film veteran − who worked on both Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale − said: "I wish I knew."
McDougall was speaking on the radio to mark 80 years of Pinewood, the Buckinghamshire film studios where many of the Bond films were shot. The facility, which opened in 1936, has also played host to box office hits such as Star Wars and Harry Potter.
"It's literally a dream factory," said McDougall of the famous studios. "People will be staggered by the films we've made here."
Rumours first started swirling about Craig's future in the franchise in October 2015 after he joked to Time Out London that he "would rather break this glass and slash my wrists [than do another movie]. No, we're done. All I want to do is move on." He has yet to commit to another installment.
If Craig was to walk away, the decision could hit his pockets. He currently holds the title as the highest-paid actor to ever play Bond, netting a reported total of £38m ($49m) for the four films he has appeared in; Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall and most recently, Spectre.
Meanwhile, Poldark's Aidan Turner, Ben-Hur star Jack Huston and War and Peace heartthrob James Norton are joint favourites to be named the next Bond at 3/1.
In June, Hiddleston distanced himself from the role, telling Graham Norton: "I think the rumours have all come about because in the Night Manager I play a spy and people have made the link. The thing is the position isn't vacant as far as I am aware. No one has talked to me about it."