James Bond: Director Shortlist Emerges For 25th 007 Movie

As we learnt earlier this week, James Bond will return in 2019 – and now word comes from Variety that Eon, who own the rights to the franchise, have assembled a three-man director shortlist to helm the new film.

Daniel Craig as James Bond

According to the trade mag, French director Yann Demange is currently the frontrunner for the gig. Best known for his work on blistering Northern Ireland-set thriller '71, he also worked on British TV shows like Top Boy and Charlie Brooker's Dead Set. Demange recently finished filming White Boy Rick, a crime drama with Matthew McConaughey.

Other names apparently in the running include Scottish director David Mackenzie, riding high off the success of neo-Western Hell Or High Water; and French Canadian wunderkind Denis Villeneuve, currently preparing for the release of Blade Runner 2049, following years of critical smashes like Sicario and Arrival. Both directors have busy schedules ahead, however (Mackenzie with Outlaw King, Villeneuve with a mooted Dune reboot), and Variety insists that Demange is the favourite.

(As a rank outsider, the internet would have you believe that Christopher Nolan – who technically has a free schedule post-Dunkirk – is also in the mix. But despite expressing vague interest in a recent interview, and a fair bit of fan fervour, Eon are not thought to be considering him.)

As for the thorny issue of who, exactly, will be stepping back into that tuxedo, the smart money is on Daniel Craig returning for a fifth time – though even smarter money would suggest this might be his final turn in the role. Craig will be 51 by the time the next Bond movie arrives, and famously told one interviewer he'd "rather slash his wrists" than return, so if he does come back, it's likely to be a swansong.

Whatever it's called, and whoever's behind it (Eon also have to decide which studio will distribute, after Sony's contract ended in 2015) they'll have to get a move on. Bond 25 arrives in US cinemas on 8 November of 2019, landing in UK cinemas a little earlier. Expect official confirmation on all the big names very soon.