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Supervillain to superspy? Tom Hiddleston reportedly in advanced talks to become 007

The phrase “follow the money” has become idiomatic in the field of journalism, and when it points a certain way, it’s as reliable a source as even the most connected insider. So, it was more than a little suspicious when, after Daniel Craig turned down a monstrous two-film deal to reprise his role as James Bond, bookies stopped taking action from those who wanted to bet that Tom Hiddleston would succeed him.

Our suspicions were confirmed when, earlier today, Birth.Movies.Death reported that the actor, best known as the villainous Loki in the Marvel superhero movies, was officially in talks to step into the character’s trademark tux. The scoop comes by way of an unnamed source but — combined with the whispers that we’ve been hearing for weeks — it seems that Hiddleston is indeed on the doorstep of becoming the next Bond.

Related: Craig out as Bond after refusing mammoth offer, but a likely successor has emerged

It’s important to remember, however, that “in talks” means that no one has signed on the dotted line just yet. In fact, there isn’t even an offer on the table yet, so any number of things could still prevent this from happening. For instance, given that Eon Productions (the company handling the search) just offered Craig the equivalent of $100 million, we’d imagine that they would pivot quickly if the actor had a sudden change of heart. On top of that, Jamie Bell (Fantastic Four) has reportedly discussed the role with producers and is the latest actor/actress to emerge from the wildly whirring rumor mill.

With those caveats out of the way, we’ve finally reached the fun part: Speculating on what sort of Bond Hiddleston will be. As others have pointed out, the actor has a nearly identical educational pedigree to Bond, having attended both Eton College and Cambridge University. He also seems to exude that whole dapper-but-dangerous thing, which harks back to the character’s origins.

Whereas Craig had offered a more rough-and-tumble, aggressive take on 007, we see Hiddleston playing up his slick/suave/cheeky side. As we know, everything old is new again, and a return to classic Bond style may well be in the offing.

Assuming that things work out, this is sort of bittersweet. We’re sad to see Craig go — and we can’t help but think about what might have been with Idris Elba — but Hiddleston is pretty close to what you picture when you read Fleming’s novels and would be a hard choice to argue with.

Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated in the days/weeks ahead.