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James Bond? Or Jane Bond?

Silke Wünsch / cmkMay 30, 2016

Speculation is rife over who will take over the role of James Bond in the long-running spy series. Recently, "X-Files" star Gillian Anderson casually expressed interest on Twitter, sending the rumor mill into overdrive.

Gillian Anderson, Copyright: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Mckay
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Mckay

Gillian Anderson, the stage and screen actress famous for her role in the '90s cult series "The X-Files," apparently has her eye on another well-known franchise.

Anderson, 47, caused a bit of a stir on Twitter last week when she name-checked #NextBond in a post, reposting a fan-made version of the classic James Bond movie poster featuring her in the lead role.

She posted a second image later in the week, showing her on the set of her long-running TV series with the hashtag #janebond.

The photoshopped image makes it clear that the role of the world-famous British secret agent wouldn't be a bad fit for her. As an American actress, however, she'd have to be sure to perfect her British accent.

But when it comes to experience as a secret agent, Anderson proved her qualifications long ago. As Agent Dana Scully in 208 episodes of "The X-Files" - the most recent airing in a 10th mini season earlier this year - Anderson tackled countless paranormal cases with her partner Agent Mulder, played by David Duchovny. She also played the role in two successful spinoff films in 1998 and 2008.

Who will replace Daniel Craig?

With her posts, Anderson entered into a highly controversial debate for Bond fans: Who will be the successor of British actor Daniel Craig?

Craig, who with his blond hair was himself a controversial choice for his "Casino Royale" role back in 2006, has since embodied agent 007 in four Bond films.

He last played Bond in the 2015 film "Spectre," but hasn't confirmed his plans for a fifth installment. However, rumors have been swirling that he's ready to move on to other roles.

Speaking to "Time Out" magazine last year, he said he would only do another Bond film "for the money," adding that he'd rather "slash his wrists" than play 007 again.

Some big-name stars have been rumored as his replacement, including Tom Hiddleston ("The Avengers"), Damian Lewis ("Homeland") and Idris Elba ("The Wire," "Luther") who, if chosen, would make history as the first black Bond.

Of course, as a woman, Anderson would be an equally notable choice. And she's not the only actress to have expressed an interest: Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American actress Elizabeth Banks ("The Hunger Games") have both spoken about taking on the role.

Sam Mendes, who directed the last two Bond films and announced over the weekend that he wouldn't be back for another installment, told fans that any lobbying was pointless. "It's not a democracy ... [producer] Barbara Broccoli decides who is going to be the next Bond, end of story," he said.

But, he added, "I can guarantee that whatever happens next it will not be what you expect."

Movie fans around the world are hopelessly at odds when it comes to determining who could be a worthy successor to Craig, whom many have credited for revitalizing the series with his portrayal. In our gallery, we take a look at the most talked-about candidates - and those who would also like to be in the running.