It took until 2010 for Tom Hardy to really be recognized for his talents. His role as Eames in Christopher Nolan’s Inception ‘put him on the map’, even though he’d been a jobbing actor for years before the mind-bending dream epic hit cinemas.

Tom HardyTom Hardy at The Sun Military Awards

Since then, his turn as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises certainly attracted the attention of anyone oblivious to his patently obvious talents. He’s now as in-demand as any young British actor, and his rapping ability only adds to his cache.

And the Tom Hardy party doesn’t stop there. We’ve already posited plenty of good reasons for him to take over the James Bond mantle, and 2014/15 hold a few potentially ground-breaking roles that promise to take things to the next level for the 25-year-old actor.

Playing a true-to-life legend in a musical biopic is the type of role reserved for the brave, as long as the people behind the scenes are willing to play ball. Hardy is taking what could be his biggest challenge yet with Rocketman – a film that plots Elton John’s journey from young prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through to his musical partnership with Bernie Taupin and his current perception as a musical legend.

Tom Hardy BFI LondonTom Hardy has attracted attention for other reasons, too...

Hardy has already admitted that he’s singing all the time in preparation for the film. Quizzed whether he's had vocal training, he said: “Oh, all the time. I'm always singing.” But there’s sufficient evidence to suggest he’s got the vocal prowess to take on such a monolithic presence.

Also on the slate for 2014 is Child 44 – a film based on a thriller novel by British writer Tom Rob Smith. It tells the story of the disgraced MGB Agent Leo Demidov, who investigates a series of gruesome child murders in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union. Hardy plays Demidov, and while an Eastern European accent might be a difficult thing to pull of, it’s certainly got the makings of a brilliant role.

“We did “Animal Rescue” and I love working with him,” Noomi Rapace told IndieWire on working with Tom. “We know each other ... sometimes you meet someone and you feel like you can go anywhere—step into different characters and time zones or a period film or contemporary or whatever—we have a very intimate [relationship] and trust each other a lot,” she added.

Tom Hardy puppyTom Hardy with a puppy in his jacket on set for Animal Rescue

“But we have a lot of fun even if it's quite dark or heavy, we're always laughing a lot and having a good time, so I love working with him and he's such an incredible actor, I've been really lucky.”

The book is certainly popular enough - it has been nominated for 17 international awards and was the winner of seven - and should attract the requisite amount of attention the movie adaptation deserves. Child 44, which also stars Gary Oldman, doesn’t have a release date yet, but is in post-production, so should meet its 2014 deadline.

Hardy will also be playing the titular Max Rockatanksy in Mad Max: Fury Road. The Australian post-apocalyptic action film, which is directed, produced and co-written by George Miller, who created the franchise. It’s billed as an ‘interquel’, set in-between the first and second movies released in 1979 and 1981 respectively.

Tom Hardy LondonTom Hardy wearing an appropriate t-shirt

“It’s a relaunch and revisit to the world. An entire restructuring. That’s not to say that it’s not picking up or leaving off from the Mad Max you know already, but it’s a nice re-take on the entire world using the same character, depositing him in the same world but bringing him up to date by 30 years,” Hardy explained to Collider.

Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Lawless and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy all saw Hardy take important, affecting roles, but his only starring role to really take the critics by storm was Locke, in which he played Ivan Locke – a steady husband, star employee who finds himself engaged in an unexpected situation on his drive home.

Hardy was lauded for the role, which was all but a one-man show. With his upcoming movies, it’s easy to see Hardy talked about in big franchises like James Bond and the myriad comic book films vying to break the billion-dollar barrier.