James Bond: The women who could play a female 007 when Daniel Craig steps down

Perhaps it's time for casting bosses to cast their eye a little wider should Daniel Craig leave the role

It doesn't take a genius to surmise that - after ten years and four films - Daniel Craig will probably soon bow out of playing James Bond in any future outing.

The rumour mill has been non-stop since Spectre was released last year. Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Damien Lewis - if you're a working actor, you can bet your name has been thrown in the ring at some stage or another.

An unlikely person stepped forward today, however, making it known on Twitter that they'd be up for playing 'Jane' Bond should they be asked. That person was The X-Files actor Gillian Anderson.

Quite honestly, we think casting a woman in the role of Bond would be an inspired casting decision that would serve to freshen up what has been a pretty stale franchise for some time now (Skyfall's not as good as you're remembering to be).

Consequently, we've put together a gallery of the female actors we think casting bosses should look to should they ever decide to go down this route.

Okay,s o let's run through some decision; the release of underrated cartel drama Sicario saw Emily Blunt give an inadvertent 007 audition as the character of Kate Macer.

Both Gemma Arterton and Rosamund Pike have starred in Bond films in the past (Quantum of Solace and Die Another Day, respectively) but this shouldn't discount them from being considered for that lead role; we can see them doing stellar work.

TV stars Keeley Hawes (Spooks, Line of Duty), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey) and Vicky McClure (This Is England, Line of Duty) would no doubt see their careers bolstered further still by an appearance in the British institution. With their blend of action, emotion and deadpan delivery honed, Bond wouldn't be too much of a leftfield step.

Similarly, Olivia Colman proved her action chops in recent BBC series The Night Manager alongside probable Bond candidate Hiddleston; if her character Angela Burr can run a covert operation while pregnant, Colman can be Bond. Simple as.

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A strange notion but a series shake-up in the form of promoting Miss Moneypenny actor Naomie Harris to 007 status would prove pioneering. Throughout Skyfall and Spectre, her character has shown she's as capable as the secret agent if not, at times, more so. It'd be a thrill to see Harris get the opportunity.

While we ponder the above actors (also included: Kate Beckinsale, Thandie Newton and Kate Winslet) it must be said that Craig - who has reportedly turned down a two-film deal worth £68 million - is officially yet to make a decision on his Bond future. If rumours are to be believed, it's Hiddleston's for the taking should Craig depart the role.

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