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Who Should Be ‘The New Pope’?

Nine suggestions for the heir to HBO’s papal throne

(HBO/Ringer illustration)
(HBO/Ringer illustration)

New pope alert! With Tuesday’s surprising news from HBO that the team behind The Young Pope is reconvening for an upcoming limited series called The New Pope — with an entirely fresh cast — we immediately began pontificating about who might best fill Jude Law’s red papal shoes.

Rafferty Law

Sam Schube: Did you know that Jude Law has a son? Who is 20, and said by the Daily Mail to have “kooky style”? Who has hobbies that include modeling and DJing? Now you do. And now that you know those things, you also know that there’s only one possible Younger Pope. He’s related to the last one.

Kirsten Dunst

Justin Charity: The Young Pope’s tone is special, driven as it is by Pope Pius XIII (Jude Law)’s sly, scandalous swagger and monomaniacal heterodoxy. That’s a bill for Kirsten Dunst if I ever heard one. She’d be the first female pope, obviously, and so the chip on her shoulder would indeed be a boulder; Lenny’s mommy-daddy issues would mean nothing compared with the centuries-entrenched gender politics of the priesthood — and, perhaps, a backstory about the ascendant pontiff Jane Mary’s past life as a troubled Broadway musical actress. Jane Mary would drink like a proper Jesuit, and her kangaroo would be pure hallucination.

North West

Kate Knibbs: Where to go from Jude Law’s bonkers Young Pope but somewhere even more radical and heterodox? Yep, I’m talking about a WOMAN POPE. And not just any woman pope, but a BABY WOMAN POPE. A straight-up female child in the Vatican. Look, someone in this wide world was going to provide North West with her first acting role, so it might as well be Paolo Sorrentino.

Keith David

Michael Baumann: The Young Pope has been done. Time to go back to an Old Pope, the kind of Old Pope who’d see a kangaroo at large in the Vatican and go, “What the fuck is this?” Or not. I just love Keith David and would watch him in anything.

Justin Bieber

Lindsay Zoladz: “I feel invincible like, nothing is bigger than God,” Lenny Belardo said on the first season of The Young Pope. “If God’s for me, who can be against me?” Nah, just kidding, that’s something Justin Bieber said in Complex two years ago. But didn’t I just convince you that Justin Bieber would be a great Young Pope?! First off, he’s even younger than Jude Law. Second of all, he has a large stomach tattoo that says SON OF GOD, so you know he’s committed. Or he believes he’s Jesus. Either way. But most importantly, becoming the new Young Pope would give Bieber the opportunity to further rehabilitate his image, publicly explore the complexities of his faith, and maybe play basketball with Diane Keaton. Cue the white smoke; our search is over.

The Rock

Megan Schuster: Like The Young Pope, but it’s a 10-hour workout video.

Jaden Smith

Rob Harvilla: I am neither a Jaden Smith scholar nor a Young Pope scholar, but both cultural entities are twinned in my mind, beloved for both their dead-serious profundity and their internet-LOLs silliness: imperious and impossibly cool and totally confusing. Put this kid on the throne (or whatever) in a pair of Lonzo Ball sneakers (or whatever), and let’s further consolidate all the stuff most of America is way too uncool to ever begin to understand.

Idris Elba

Claire McNear: The James Bond Industrial Complex had its chance. May Pope Idris I brood over the shadowy Vatican underworld forevermore.

Mike Francesa

Katie Baker: I hear there’s a religious figure who’s looking for something new. The new name for Easter will henceforth be Back Afta Dis.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.