Daniel Craig to return as James Bond - for the last time
49-year-old will beat out Roger Moore as longest-serving 007
After months of speculation that he was stepping down as James Bond, Daniel Craig has confirmed that he will be back on Her Majesty's secret service for a fifth and final time.
In an interview with the American late night host Stephen Colbert, Craig admitted he had been "quite cagey" about whether or not he planned to make another Bond film.
Colbert put the question to him directly: "We could use some good news here. Daniel Craig, will you return as James Bond?"
"Yes," Craig replied, sending the studio audience wild.
When the as-yet-untitled film, known for now as Bond 25, hits screens in 2019, Craig will have been 007 for 14 years - surpassing Roger Moore's record as the longest-serving Bond on film.
However, the 49-year-old hinted that the upcoming film would be the definitive end to his spying career. "I think this is it," he said. "I just want to go out on a high note and I can't wait."
Nonetheless, fans were excited to see Craig back in the saddle:
The announcement ends more than two years of conflicting reports about whether he would return to the franchise, with Aidan Turner, Jack Huston and Tom Hiddleston among the names reportedly being considered to take over as 007.
Craig is notoriously ambivalent about his most famous role, and has been candid about his mixed feelings.
As far back as 2007, the actor told Interview Magazine of his reservations about becoming too closely embroiled in the high-profile franchise.
"If I wanted to make spy movies for the rest of my life, that would be one thing, but I don't want to just make spy movies," he told interviewer and friend Sam Taylor-Wood
Craig has also been blunt about the difficulties of pulling off the Bond persona, telling Time Out it was a "drag".
"The best acting is when you're not concerned about the surface. And Bond is the opposite of that," he said. "You have to be bothered about how you're looking. It's a struggle."
In a typically outspoken moment in the same interview, Craig said he would rather "slash [his] wrists" than commit to another Bond film "for at least a year or two".
He added: "If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money."
Craig reportedly received a salary of $39m (£30.2m) for Spectre, more than ten times the $3.4m (£2.6m) he was paid for his first Bond outing, 2006's Casino Royale.