[POLL] Next James Bond: Tom Hiddleston, Henry Cavill, Richard Armitage or Aidan Turner?

So, the people have spoken, about who should be named the next 007. Of the 20 options offered in our recent poll, only four actors received over 10% of the vote each:

Henry Cavill – 10%
Tom Hiddleston – 11%
Aidan Turner – 25%
Richard Armitage – 45%

Armitage is the clear frontrunner then, but now that we’ve whittled down our choices to a final four, his lead could be dented somewhat and maybe even leapfrogged in our new poll at the bottom of this post.

With that in mind, lets pit these four actors against each other. They each get to choose one weapon and then we throw them into a pit with lions and a cheering crowd egging them on, where they fight to the death. Last man standing gets to be Bond. I’m kidding, of course (but imagine – Superman versus Loki versus Thorin versus, er, Poldark…). The way we’re gonna decide who comes out on top is by reviewing their potential to embody the typical traits and qualities that any Bond needs to have. And then, we hand it over to you guys again to vote between the four. Read on below.

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Pressure
The James Bond franchise is the third highest grossing (behind the “Harry Potter” series and the MCU) in cinema history. With that comes pressure. The franchise has an extensive fan base who all have their own idea of who and what a James Bond should be like. So whoever is cast will have to have thick enough skin to withstand that pressure, live up to the highest of expectations and stand defiant to inevitable criticism (I’ve heard plenty of people lambaste Daniel Craig, somehow), all the while making the character their own. Not an easy task, then. Hiddleston and Cavill are well-versed in such a challenge thanks to their roles as Loki (in the MCU) and Superman (in the DCEU), respectively. Comic book fans can often be the harshest of critics, as well, so it’s no mean feat that they’ve found success.

Armitage also has some experience in this field, due to his role in “The Hobbit” trilogy as Thorin Oakenshield. However, his performance was faulted as a tad ‘one-note’ by some critics with most of the attention and praise going to co-star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins. Nevertheless, it’s valuable experience in taking on a beloved character. Turner may have taken on the mantle of Ross Poldark in BBC’s smash hit remake of the beloved series based on Winston Graham’s novels, but he hasn’t faced the challenge of taking on a universally known character.

WINNERS: Hiddleston & Cavill

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Physicality
Ding, ding, ding. That’s round one done and dusted. This round is much more superficial than the ‘strength of mind’ test detailed above. The world’s most famous super spy has to be fit. I mean that in two ways; being tough enough to engage in high speed chases and fisticuffs, but also having a great physique and being attractive. Remember that shot of Craig emerging from the ocean in “Casino Royale,” plus that stair-case fight midway through a poker game? Those two scenes are the embodiment of the physical side of Bond.

Turner has many fans of his shirtless scenes in “Poldark,” in which he showed off his ripped physique. He ticks both boxes of being tough and ‘manly,’ as well as physically attractive. Cavill also ticks those boxes, having bulked up tremendously for “Man of Steel.” Both were voted ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ by British magazine ‘Glamour’ (a prestigious publication, I assure you – right up there with Vogue). Armitage, although the tallest of the four actors (by half an inch), doesn’t quite have the physique of Cavill or Turner. The same goes for Hiddleston, who is at the moment slightly too slender to pull of the ruggedness of Bond. Yes, both actors could always hit the gym prior to filming, but at this moment in time, Cavill and Turner have the edge.

WINNERS: Turner & Cavill

Charm/Sophistication
To go with the physicality of Bond, 007 has got to be the epitome of charm and sophistication. Perhaps the new Bond won’t be as painstakingly suave as, say, Pierce Brosnan (possibly my favorite) but even the more rugged ones, such as Craig, are the essence of gentlemanly, British charm. Much like Colin Firth in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” – who was a better “James Bond” than quite a lot of the real ones.

I think it’s quite clear that Hiddleston is the winner here. He’s charmed everyone from Asgardians, to 1920’s Parisians and Owen Wilson, to, well, the general public. He oozes class and also looks dapper in a suit. Cavill comes in a close second, having earned praise for his performance in Guy Ritchie’s 60’s-set spy caper, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (which, let’s be honest, was basically the world’s most expensive Bond audition) – where he showed off his abilities to charm, look good in a suit and be a classy British spy. Turner, meanwhile, may have a lot of people swooning over him in “Poldark” but that’s mostly for his physique rather then charm. Armitage, however, was the physical incarnation of the word ‘morose’ in both “The Hobbit” series and BBC’s “Robin Hood” (playing Guy of Gisborne). Dare I say we haven’t actually seen him charm so much as an Arkenstone, so far?

WINNER: Hiddleston

2016 Emmy Awards: Complete list of nominations

Acting
Hiddleston just earned an Emmy nomination for his role in “The Night Manager.” He’s also received critical acclaim for his roles in “Only Lovers Left Alive,” and “The Deep Blue Sea.” Plus, he has consistently been touted as the best MCU villain for his enigmatic turn as Loki. Armitage was nominated for an Olivier Award for his performace in “The Crucible.” He has straddled the line between method actor and, in his words, a ‘concentrated actor,’ so he is clearly a serious thespian. Turner hasn’t received much acclaim for any particular performance bar “Poldark” but does have a definite fan-base who follow his work, even from his early days in TV series’ “The Clinic” and “Being Human.” Cavill, meanwhile, only really has his role as “Superman,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and a smattering of supporting roles (including a nice turn in “Stardust”).

Hiddleston is the most experienced of the four, particularly when it comes to Hollywood productions. However, his very public romance with Taylor Swift hasn’t exactly helped him out. But perhaps his talent and charisma will be his saving grace.

WINNER: Hiddleston (with a question mark)

All four have expressed a keen interest in taking up the mantle of Bond, so producer Barbara Broccoli has all her options open. Each actor has both pros and cons. Hiddleston and Cavill rank high in each test above. Turner has his advantages too. And Armitage (the oldest of the four at 44, which may harm his chances) comes off the worst. I have a feeling that many of you won’t like my saying that and he’ll probably prove just as popular in our new poll below. Vote for your favorite of the four!

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