It's the most wonderful time of the year - the rumour mill surrounding who will be the next actor to play James Bond is heating up.

The only person who has any say about the hiring of the new James Bond is Barbara Broccoli, and she has established criteria for the kind of actor she wants to hire.

In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Broccoli said the next James Bond will be played by a British male.

“I think it will be a man because I don’t think a woman should play James Bond," she said.

“I believe in making characters for women and not just having women play men’s roles. I don’t think there are enough great roles for women, and it’s very important to me that we make movies for women about women. He should be British, so British can be any ethnicity or race", she added.

Broccoli said she won't rush into a decision of picking the next Bond, saying "I want to let this film ('No Time To Die') play and really celebrate Daniel’s incredible achievement that he has done over 16 years."

"People always ask, ‘Oh, who’s the next James Bond?’ It’s like asking a bride as she’s going up to the altar who’s her next husband going to be. I don’t really want to think about who is going to be the next person until I absolutely have to."

Broccoli was full of praise for 'No Time To Die' director Cary Fukunaga, saying "We love Cary, he's done an exceptional job."

"I don’t have any idea whether he’d do another one. I think he did 'No Time To Die' because he wanted a challenge, and he sure pulled it off. But I’m not sure if he’d do another one. We’d love to work with him again.”

Fukunaga inherited a troubled project which saw Danny Boyle vacate the director's chair, star Daniel Craig picking up an injury on set, and of course, having the release date changed numerous times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the end, the issues didn't impact the finished product all that much, as the film was a success with fans and critics alike.

Daniel Craig's final outing as the super spy was the most successful film in Irish cinemas since 'Frozen 2' in 2019.

'Bridgerton' star Regé-Jean Page has emerged as a candidate for the role of James Bond in recent weeks, with bookies offering short odds on Tom Hardy and Henry Cavill taking on the role of 007.

However it is worth noting since Brocolli took the reins of the Bond franchise, she cast Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, two stars who weren't quite A-list or major award nominees.

All three aforementioned stars (Page, Hardy and Cavill) would represent a major break with Bond orthodoxy, and bookies odds aren't always accurate.

British bookmaker William Hill suspended betting on Radiohead being chosen as the performer of the theme song for 2015's 'Spectre' after a £15,000 bet was placed only for Sam Smith to emerge as the performer of the song.

Despite furious media speculation and being the overwhelming favourite to star in 'Casino Royale', Clive Owen wasn't offered the role.

At the end of the day, only one person chooses the next James Bond, and that is Barbara Broccoli.

We can expect to hear official confirmation of casting news sometime in 2022.