Kill James Bond

[Note from the editor: This article is by prospective staff writer Thomas Ricard. Enjoy!]

In four months, Spectre’s release will mark Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as James Bond in nine years. In spite of this uncommonly large gap between the years spent being Bond and the number of films in which he actually played Bond, Daniel Craig’s performance has earned him richly deserved critical praise and made him a defining Bond for an entire generation, one that will likely prove difficult to live up to. As Craig gets on in years, he will understandably want to break away from the character and make way for new blood, as it has always been. But unlike previous actors, whoever follows Craig will have more than the latter’s shadow to worry about. This is a different franchise, made in a different culture that it has both nourished and fed on, and as such it carries a considerably larger burden of expectations than its predecessor ever did. To that problem, I submit the following solution:

Kill James Bond.

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Now, bear with me: Daniel Craig’s Bond films have explored the character in greater detail than any of the previous films and built more mythology around him, particularly 2012’s Skyfall. This Bond has a vaguely-yet-firmly established past, a family, and a relatively detailed psychology. We know he had parents who died in mysterious circumstances that likely involved MI6 to some capacity. We know that he grew up in Scotland in the recently-destroyed Castle Skyfall, and his old family friend Kincade serves as the last living reminder of that childhood, an anchor to the past whose existence and interactions with Bond, however brief, further humanize him and solidify him as a character of his own more than the power fantasy that film audiences had been used to up until this point.

In just three films, we’ve seen James Bond earn his 00 status with his first two kills, fall in love, have his heart broken, become hardened by the experience before seemingly finding himself ready to move on, question his own continued competence (after what appear to be just two or three in-universe years of service, mind you), and by Skyfall’s conclusion, lose not only the closest thing he had to a living parent but also the person who arguably knew him best. And judging by the trailers for Spectre, Bond’s past catching up with him may be one of the defining thematic traits of the Daniel Craig era.

Kill James Bond

This is all very good stuff, but it does somewhat limit possibilities for future actors and writers. Even if much of Bond’s background is still vague enough to be open to some degree of interpretation, he nonetheless carries a certain amount of emotional baggage that today’s continuity-savvy, comic book-influenced audiences and critics will likely find difficult to ignore. Like so many great heroes and heroines, James Bond’s timelessness comes from his malleability and the relative ease with which he adapts to changing geopolitical landscapes and social mores while still retaining fundamental traits that make him so unmistakable, such as his air of suave confidence, his voracious sexual appetite, and his casual attitude towards violence.

James Bond is a character who remains open to many different readings, someone to whom each actor may provide a distinct personality. In the early days of this series, the writers never encumbered themselves too much with concerns of continuity or narrative consistency and neither did the audiences, but in the age of the Internet where fans can set up entire Wikis detailing a character’s history and fill up forums with arguments over the smallest discrepancy, such blissful ignorance is no longer an option.

For my generation and those raised on a diet of film trilogies and sagas, narrative continuity and mythology form a permanent background noise within our minds that makes it harder for us to suspend our disbelief when presented with data that doesn’t fit with what we already know. A franchise where the hero has been active for fifty years, yet still remains a physically fit forty-something even as his tech expert ages visibly with every film would probably have a lot more trouble staying afloat today.

Kill James Bond

Killing the character of James Bond as established by Daniel Craig over the course of what are soon to be four films would be a first step towards solving that problem. The second step would involve the somewhat notorious “codename theory”, an online fan theory that has provoked no end of discussion and debate among Bond fans. It explains away the differences in Bond’s appearance and character from actor to actor by positing that each version is actually a different MI6 operative working under the same codename. According to that theory, each new James Bond replaces the previous one after he’s been either killed or retired off-screen. Of course, this theory is rendered invalid by, among other things, the unchanging nature of Bond’s relationships with Moneypenny and Q. But this is, after all, a rebooted series, and as controversial as an onscreen validation of that theory would likely prove to be, it could nevertheless provide potential for a very satisfying conclusion to Daniel Craig’s outings as Bond.

Just imagine it: In his last film, Craig’s Bond meets a fresh recruit whom he would be tasked with mentoring. On their missions, the two men bond over their shared tastes in alcohol, cars, and sport while also clashing somewhat due to differences in personality and/or opinions. This rookie could, for instance, judge Bond’s tendency to suppress his emotions as unhealthy and potentially dangerous, or prefer non-lethal takedowns to gunplay. At the end of the film, Bond heroically sacrifices himself and the rookie subsequently assumes the codename “James Bond” in his honor, with the blessing of his MI6 superiors.

With a fitting enough conclusion to Craig’s Bond’s character arc (and life), any restrictions and limitations imposed upon future writers, filmmakers, and actors by the demands of consistency would be considerably loosened, if not removed altogether. In addition to concerns over character history, the franchise could be free to once again change its tone at will without having to reboot yet again. The idea of, say, a Bond film directed by Matthew Vaughn and written by Simon Pegg coexisting in the same universe as Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale wouldn’t seem as farfetched as it might now.

I, for one, would pay good money to see such an outcome.

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  • Capt. Harlock

    Daniel Craig is BINO. James BINO.

    • Jonathan Campbell

      …..

      Okay, at the risk of sounding stupid, I don’t get it.

      • dewelar

        “Bond In Name Only”, presumably.

        • CaptainCalvinCat

          The alterntive name: James B(l)ond. ^^

          • MichaelANovelli

            Or my favorite: James Bondage!

          • maarvarq

            Ooh, kinky!

          • MichaelANovelli

            That’s why Roger Moore was so good at playing him:
            Grey temples and a little paunch/
            Looks like he jumped out of the pages of Honcho!

    • Bond is an amorphous entity who can be absolutely anything by this point.

      • Capt. Harlock

        Bond without a Broccoli’s Camp is like Star Trek without a Roddenberry’s. Somewhat soulless.

        • Muthsarah

          A) Bond still has a Broccoli. Barbara Broccoli. Albert died years before Casino Royale. Does that film not measure up?

          B) The TOS films and TNG just didn’t work when Gene was still active. Sad to say, but truer than truth.

          • Capt. Harlock

            Isn’t Barbara relegated to being named in the credits only?

            No I could not stand Casino Royale, and I frankly am not impressed with Craig’s range as an actor; he has none. Bond, Defiance, Cowboys and Aliens, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Not even a paper-thin, two-dimensional actor; he’s a dot. His acting ability manifests in one single point in space-time. Hollywood just smears it across some filmstock and fills-in the background and other characters.

            I always thought of Majel as the Campy Trek influence. At least, if Lwaxana Troi is to be considered

          • Muthsarah

            Barbara is actually a hands-on producer of several of the Bond movies. Not just a desk-bound check-writer.

            Majel was also involved in many areas of production, though when Gene lost his influence, she did as well. Lwaxana was just a character she played. Majel was, much earlier, Christopher Pike’s first officer. Very, very different character.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            I agree, Captain, that Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were not thaaat good movies. No, I didn’t like them – I had no problem with the older Bond flicks with the Q-Gadgets, the Little Nelly, cool one-liners … but today, everyone seems to be so obsessed with seeing what makes a superhero (and Bond WAS a superhero) tick, than wanting to go on adventures with them.

            And that’s why we have Batman, the Stargate-Command, Superman, the crew of the Galactica and Bond, who are dour, depressive and all in all no fun. And that’s why we will continue to have drap and dreary flicks and shows, because people seem to like that – and I have to admit: If it were to me, those shows and films could go to hell.
            Hey, Bond, you’re a superspy, who has high-tech-gadget – CRACK a frakking smile every once in a while.
            Hey, Superman, you’re the man of steel – damn it, have at least SOME fun.
            Hey, Jack O’Neill, do you remember when you were cracking jokes?
            The frakking BSG-show of old proved, that you can still have fun, while your planet blew up.
            Hell, if they’d redo ALF, he probably would end up being hunted for the entire time. There would be no sitcom-y tries to eat the cat, there’d be no misunderstandings that could be solved with a little laughter.
            And that’s why (and with that I end my tangent) I love the Marvel-Movies because they show that you still can have fun. And that’s why I hope, that the sequel to Full House will not just end after one season, but we will get another 10 years.
            AND that’s why, I hope, after Craig finally will decide, that he doesn’t want to play Bond anymore, a new actor will step up and a new director will say: “Know what – fuck those last movies… we’ll make the Bond-Franchise the same way it was with Brosnan.”

        • Are you saying TNG was better in the first couple of series?

          • Capt. Harlock

            No, I never liked TNG, except for the movies and some rare episodes. It went from a schizo-form in the beginning of trying to distance itself from Kirk’s era, being Collectivist-PC and did I mention “This ain’t yer Pappy’s Enterprise?” We’ve got families and a teen expy on the bridge and Fantasyland [Where You Can Program Your Every Whim- Unless We Judge You Mentally Ill] and a non-bald empathic chick and a logic-based robot that is TOTALLY NOT an expy for Mr. Spock…

            Then it went off the self-righteous rails…

  • Gallen_Dugall

    Sure why not?
    Frankly I’m amazed they brought back Craig at all especially with the “OMG HE’S SO F*ING OLD! HOW CAN HE STILL BE ALIVE? WOE UNTO HIM! SOMEONE PUT POOR CREATURE OUT OF HIS MISERY AND SPARE HIM THIS UNNATURAL STATE AKIN TO UNDEATH!” that was the annoying and pointless subplot of the last film.

    • Muthsarah

      Dude. Seriously. He had TWO adventures (arguably within the space of maybe a week or two in-universe). What spy could, after first earning his name with his first two kills, survive two whole weeks on the job and NOT be on the verge of physical collapse?

      • Sardu

        OK, I haven’t seen the last movie but I’ve read the recap and I seriously don’t get it. Wasn’t Casino Royale about Bond establishing himself as an agent; a reboot? And then after, like, three missions he’s all old and burnt out? Why did they bother? It’s like they’re acknowledging the character has 40 years of history but I thought Craig’s Bond wasn’t supposed to be that way.

        • Gallen_Dugall

          “OK, I haven’t seen the last movie”

          I am so jealous. I had to rewatch it on Netflix to make sure it was really as bad as it was in the theater. Couldn’t finish it. The first third is okay then… just escalating awful.

  • Muthsarah

    The “codename theory” only falls apart as concerns Craig. There is no reason whatsoever that the M, Q, and Moneypenny of Connery couldn’t also be that of Lazenby and Moore. Dalton/Brosnan…harder, and not just because of the death of Bernard Hill and the retirement of Lois Maxwell. We still have Q, and the general progression from high-Cold War Bond to post-Cold War Bond could still fit if we presume these are different men. With Craig, no. 100% self-contained. Aston-Martin cameo be damned.

    I happen to be a fan of the “codename theory”, but with a wrinkle or two: Connery, Lazenby, and Moore all played such radically different versions of the same character, I really like the idea of them being different men all pretending to be the same guy for official purposes (and perhaps Connery wasn’t the first…). Dalton and Brosnan, I can sorta see as the same person, but they’d have to be clearly distinct from Moore. The only ways in which Brosnan’s Bond doesn’t sync well with Dalton are ways in which Brosnan’s Bond doesn’t work PERIOD; Living Daylights/License to Kill –> Goldeneye fits well, especially in the opening scenes with Trevelyan, which is total Dalton. Just take the good parts of Brosnan. That’s all I ever do. Treat the rest like Genisys treated Terminators 3 and 4 or Days of Future Past treated X-Men 3.

    Focusing on the various James Bonds as people, with distinct personalities, and not just as Agents 007 Bond James Bond international celebrity superspy, I think it’s hard to escape the in-universe plausibility that they really should be viewed as different people, a series of “James Bond”s, all within the same continuity. And Craig’s Bond is a different character entirely. I don’t know if it’s possible to argue, with a straight face, that there is any plausible overlap with the others.

    • Jonathan Campbell

      I hate the codename theory. It makes no sense whatsoever.

      – They all mourn over the same dead wife.

      – They all are friends with Felix Leiter.

      – Lazenby adopts the motto “The World Is Not Enough” after learning his ancestor used it; Pierce Brosnan uses it and refers to it as a “family motto”.

      – Blofeld seems to have a personal grudge against multiple people for having the same job and name.

      – In The Spy Who Loved Me, Moore ran into a friend from his college years who called him “James Bond”.

      – Other Double-0 agents do not have code names (eg. Alec Trevalyn was still Alex Trevalyn even after he stopped being 006).

      – They are all womanising, hard-drinking, high-living “stuff my orders” sort of spies and it bugs their superiors to no end but they seem to keep hiring men with the same traits that irritate them and doesn’t actually make them do their job better. They also all flirt with Moneypenny.

      – They are all Commanders in the Royal Navy.

      – What POSSIBLE advantage is there to hiring a new agent and making him take the name “James Bond?” Its like a having a giant “I’M A SPY! KILL ME!” sign and carrying it around with you. It has no practical value whatsoever and would actually make their job harder.

      • Muthsarah

        “They all mourn the dead wife”

        Only comes up in The Spy Who Loved Me, where Moore barely glances at it, and the opening of For Your Eyes Only, which DIDN’T HAPPEN. Ever. Ultimately, not a big deal, and a part of the character.

        “They are all friends with Felix Leiter”

        Which Felix Leiter? More than enough problems with that portrayal, I wouldn’t consider that an issue.

        “Lazenby adopts the motto “The World Is Not Enough” after learning his ancestor used it; Pierce Brosnan uses it and refers to it as a “family motto”.”

        Is that in the movie version of OHMSS? I’m actually more familiar with the book’s version of that scene, for some reason. As far as Brosnan’s use (TWINE?), how does that disprove anything, if that’s part of his character?

        ” Blofeld seems to have a personal grudge against multiple people for having the same job and name.”

        Bond and Blofeld didn’t even recognize each other in OHMSS (due to the movies being done out-of-order). That’s a much bigger problem. Though it makes FAR more sense in the “codename theory”, as it means they actually HADN’T met. In fact, this is the single-strongest argument for it.

        “In The Spy Who Loved Me, Moore ran into a friend from his college years who called him “James Bond””

        I…don’t remember this. Who’s the friend? Is this in the Egyptian bar scene?

        “Other Double-0 agents do not have code names (eg. Alec Trevalyn was still Alex Trevalyn even after he stopped being 006)”

        Can’t explain this, as we don’t know enough about Trevelyan, or 006, or any other 00 in the movies or how they work. Other than how unspeakably incompetent the ones in The Living Daylights were.

        “They are all womanising, hard-drinking, high-living “stuff my orders” sort of spies and it bugs their superiors to no end but they seem to keep hiring men with the same traits that irritate them and doesn’t actually make them do their job better. They also all flirt with Moneypenny.”

        …with varying degrees of misogyny and loyalty. I can’t personally imagine Connery’s Bond falling in love as Lazenby’s did. He was a womanizer, a manipulator, and a stunning chauvinist that treated women like nothing. Lazenby’s was just a bit of a lad, though with a chivalrous streak. Also, Moore was FAR less rebellious than any of the others; he never once went rogue or even temporarily walked away (“putting away his badge”). He (and Connery) were good soldiers. And the flirting with Moneypenny is never more than fluff. Bond flirts with other women, who’s to say Moneypenny doesn’t flirt with other men?

        “They are all Commanders in the Royal Navy”

        That’s part of the cover. Same as the name. We never actually see them do really-Navy-ish stuff.

        “What POSSIBLE advantage is there to hiring a new agent and making him take the name “James Bond?” Its like a having a giant “I’M A SPY! KILL ME!” sign and carrying it around with you. It has no practical value whatsoever and would actually make their job harder.”

        That’s a fundamental problem with the whole series. Bond is a celebrity spy. Tiffany Case knows his name, and seems to expect that “Peter Franks” would as well. Bond drops his name all over the world. Andrea Anders knows exactly where to mail that golden bullet. He is the worst spy ever in that sense. Even worse, MI6 puts his photograph in the paper with his name at the start of YOLT, publically burning him (which helps Osato identify him), even though they know he’s still alive, then sets him loose in later movies under the same name. Again, there are much bigger problems here.

        You bring up many inconsistencies, but these are fundamental inconsistencies running through the series, applicable to any interpretation of Bond. They cannot argue against the “codename theory” without disproving all other theories and any logic in the series. A series which is not based on logic. At all.

        • Jonathan Campbell

          “Only comes up in The Spy Who Loved Me, where Moore barely glances at it, and the opening of For Your Eyes Only, which DIDN’T HAPPEN. Ever. Ultimately, not a big deal, and a part of the character.”

          It also comes up in Licence to Kill (“He was married once, but it was a long time ago”) and is hinted at in The World Is Not Enough. Might be other places I’m missing it.

          “Which Felix Leiter? More than enough problems with that portrayal, I wouldn’t consider that an issue.”

          In Licence to Kill Leiter leaves the CIA and gets married and Bond is invited to the wedding as best man. This is a serious friendship we’re talking about here.

          “Is that in the movie version of OHMSS? I’m actually more familiar with the book’s version of that scene, for some reason. As far as Brosnan’s use (TWINE?), how does that disprove anything, if that’s part of his character?”

          On its own? Maybe not. But with all the other evidence…

          “Bond and Blofeld didn’t even recognize each other in OHMSS (due to the movies being done out-of-order). That’s a much bigger problem. Though it makes FAR more sense in the “codename theory”, as it means they actually HADN’T met. In fact, this is the single-strongest argument for it.”

          Blofeld might be hand waved if you accept that he just had plastic surgery (we’re told that he cut off his earlobes, so its not a stretch) and you could argue that he DID recognise Bond from the outset (or strongly suspected, at least) and just played along because he needed Bond alive. Plus, they had only met once- might be that Blofeld though “This guy is probably James Bond in disguise, but on the off chance its just a lookalike, I’ll test him with some questions only the real Sir Hilary would know.” Stretching maybe, but plausible. If they genuinely hadn’t met, then there is no reason for the enmity between the two.

          “I…don’t remember this. Who’s the friend? Is this in the Egyptian bar scene?”

          It’s the first scene in Egypt. He meets the guy in a tent, and the guy tells him who he needs to meet next. Before offering him women.

          “Can’t explain this, as we don’t know enough about Trevelyan, or 006, or any other 00 in the movies or how they work. Other than how unspeakably incompetent the ones in The Living Daylights were.”

          We know enough to know that he keeps using the name and Bond keeps referring to him by that name. There is certainly no indication that the name is fake. And if it isn’t fake for 006, why would it be for 007?

          “…with varying degrees of misogyny and loyalty. I can’t personally imagine Connery’s Bond falling in love as Lazenby’s did. He was a womanizer, a manipulator, and a stunning chauvinist that treated women like nothing. Lazenby’s was just a bit of a lad, though with a chivalrous streak. Also, Moore was FAR less rebellious than any of the others; he never once went rogue or even temporarily walked away (“putting away his badge”). He (and Connery) were good soldiers. And the flirting with Moneypenny is never more than fluff. Bond flirts with other women, who’s to say Moneypenny doesn’t flirt with other men?”

          Connery seemed to take his marriage in YOLT pretty seriously; he seems genuinely disappointed when he finds out the wedding was fake. Lazenby was ALSO a womanising manipulator (Hell initially he dated Tracy mainly so he could get info on Blofeld, and only fell in love with her later; he wastes zero time banging a bunch of brainwashed beauties to kill time either). Neither Connery nor Moore were given a reason to rebel like, say Dalton was; didn’t stop them from doing things there own way whenever it suited them. And Moneypenny is portrayed as having real feelings for Bond, regardless of the version, and they are implied to be friends, in so far as Bond has friends.

          “That’s part of the cover. Same as the name. We never actually see them do really-Navy-ish stuff.”

          He seems to know his way around Navy ships and subs as well as anybody else, and he is referred to by his rank even by people who would be in the know. Really though, it just emphasises that the cover is pointless- if he is going to keep referring to himself as a Navy commander, and if others are going to keep referring to him as a Navy commander, its asking for trouble if he is not in fact a Navy commander because then he wouldn’t know what he is doing.

          “That’s a fundamental problem with the whole series. Bond is a celebrity spy. Tiffany Case knows his name, and seems to expect that “Peter Franks” would as well. Bond drops his name all over the world. Andrea Anders knows exactly where to mail that golden bullet. He is the worst spy ever in that sense. Even worse, MI6 puts his photograph in the paper with his name at the start of YOLT, publically burning him (which helps Osato identify him), even though they know he’s still alive, then sets him loose in later movies under the same name. Again, there are much bigger problems here.

          You bring up many inconsistencies, but these are fundamental inconsistencies running through the series, applicable to any interpretation of Bond. They cannot argue against the “codename theory” without disproving all other theories and any logic in the series. A series which is not based on logic. At all.”

          Bond being well-known is a problem (for the record though, real spies do indeed use their real name and identity whenever they can; it helps avoid trouble like, say, running into an old friend who knows your REAL name), but the codename theory doesn’t solve it; it EXACERBATES it. Its bad enough that Bond is well-known in certain circles, but that can be minimised if he dies and is replaced UNLESS YOU GIVE THE REPLACEMENT THE SAME NAME!

          On the other hand, it is justified if people know who he is but MI6 keep him around because he is just THAT DAMN GOOD. Not to mention, when the situation calls for it, when he thinks his identity will be a problem, Bond does indeed use fake identities. He only goes by the name “James Bond” when he thinks it is unlikely anyone will recognise the significance, or (e.g. in Tomorrow Never Dies) if someone he knows is involved anyway.

          Yes, there are bigger problems here, and lapses in logic, but having a bunch of different people call themselves “James Bond” only makes those problems WORSE.

          • Muthsarah

            “Blofeld might be hand waved if you accept that he just had plastic
            surgery (we’re told that he cut off his earlobes, so its not a stretch)
            and you could argue that he DID recognise Bond from the outset (or
            strongly suspected, at least) and just played along because he needed
            Bond alive. Plus, they had only met once- might be that Blofeld though
            “This guy is probably James Bond in disguise, but on the off chance its
            just a lookalike, I’ll test him with some questions only the real Sir
            Hilary would know.” Stretching maybe, but plausible. If they genuinely
            hadn’t met, then there is no reason for the enmity between the two.”

            There’s plenty of reason. Bond’s hunting Blofeld, Blofeld knows Bond/MI6 is trying to stop him. There’s no more enmity between Savalas’ Blofeld and Lazenby’s Bond than there is with any other Bond villain.

            Bond was not in disguise, unless you want to assume Mission: Impossible-type artificial faces. Blofeld was poorly-disguised (if we’re to take appearances into consideration), and Bond wasn’t disguised at all. They had met face-to-face in the volcano lair, and had chatted. There’s no good reason for them not to recognize each other on sight unless one or the other of them were entirely different people with different memories.

            “We know enough to know that he keeps using the name and Bond keeps
            referring to him by that name. There is certainly no indication that the
            name is fake. And if it isn’t fake for 006, why would it be for 007”

            Bond calls Trevelyan by the name he knew him prior to his reveal as Janus. Whether it’s a fake name or not, it doesn’t matter. Unless maybe he was immediately replaced with another Alec Trevelyan. And he and James were good pals and knew each other far better over the years than Brosnan-Bond and Bean-Travelyan ever did. But that’d be a big assumption, based on nothing. We still aren’t told anything about how the 00s work, so there’s plenty of room for speculation.

            “Connery seemed to take his marriage in YOLT pretty seriously; he seems
            genuinely disappointed when he finds out the wedding was fake.”

            He wanted sex, and got frustrated when he couldn’t get it. It was somewhat out of character that he let it rest there (given the events of Goldfinger, and especially Thunderball), but he knew he had Aki, so I can still believe he’s the same guy as he was before. (EDIT: One big reason I like the “codename theory” is that I HATE the idea of Tracy falling in love with Connery-Bond)

            “Lazenby was ALSO a womanising manipulator (Hell initially he dated Tracy mainly so he could get info on Blofeld, and only fell in love with her later;
            he wastes zero time banging a bunch of brainwashed beauties to kill time
            either).”

            They weren’t brainwashed in that particular way, and he never manipulated any of the women. They were throwing themselves at him, and he wasn’t attached. He was a lad, sure, but not a womanizer or a manipulator. Or a brute, like Connery’s. His deal with Draco went around Tracy; she was not consulted. The “All the Time in the World” montage is terribly vague, then it ends and isn’t picked up upon for an hour or so. There’s no clear indication he felt anything for Tracy then, but no reason to supposed he didn’t, either. Unless you think his proposal was further manipulation, he sure went from apathetic to committed pretty quickly. More interpretation.

            You’re still choosing one form of nonsense over another. None of it makes sense if you analyze it even slightly. Just pick what feels best. Make your own canon. I don’t think there are many rules with the Bond films and there haven’t been, at least not since OHMSS, hence how scattershot it gets. Each work is kinda stand-alone, there are too many holes in continuity, too many character inconsistencies. And those matter to me more than issues of timeline.

            I like the idea that there can be different Bonds. It humanizes him, and it also helps to see each actor’s version as a distinctive character that can be appreciated on a generally consistent level. If they’re supposed to be the same guy, then Bond doesn’t feel like a real character – he doesn’t age, though the world around him does, he’s some sort of bi-polar if not suffering from multiple personality disorder with years-long mood swings.

            The events of YOLT–>OHMSS–>DaF–>LaLD are the most interesting, and perhaps important, part of the whole Bond mythos. How that all fits together for you says a lot about how you view the franchise as a whole. Series of stand-alones with no meaningful continuity? No in-universe reason you couldn’t go straight from YOLT to DaF. Wanna go from YOLT to LaLD? You can do that too. Same Bond, different Bond? Whatever. For me, I just can’t accept that they’re the same guy. Maybe they’re supposed to be the same guy, but they don’t act it.

            So I’m choosing the madness that is different spies using the same name for very dumb reasons instead of one guy never aging and using the same name publicly for very dumb reasons. And Craig is a different guy entirely. Full reboot, so none of that has to be explained.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            If you still would like to go “This person with all those different faces is ONE character” – then I’d say use the technique brought in by another british quality source of entertainment and say, that James Bond is a timelord.

          • danbreunig

            Excellent theory! Now he would just have to learn how to use his life experience to his advantage–such as how to take 1960s espionage and apply it to the Time Wars.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Although I fear, that they already tried it and it ended with them being sucked into a pocket dimension and David Tennents Doctor Dying from Radiation. ^^

          • Muthsarah

            Yeah, I’ve heard that one too. Never seriously, mind. It sure would clear up a lot, but, yeah. You have fun with that theory if you want, but I just can’t entertain it. 🙂

          • Kenneth Peter Shinn

            No, no, no. That tired old canard has been doing the rounds for years now. Not funny, not clever, not ANYTHING.

          • BaBaBlkShp

            Jesus, “Muthsarah”. You really ARE completely full of shit, aren’t you? It’s only a movie series, so why not actually try this wonderfully useful thing called SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF, throw all this over-analytical claptrap out the window and get the fuck over it. It’s a helluva lot easier to take than all your delusional apologist blather that you justify cause it “humanizes the character” and sounds more “realistic”, that FYEO’s Blofeld death “didn’t happen” cause it’s a “dream” or whatever over-reactionary bullshit your ilk pulls out of their ass and overhypes Daniel Craig’s mumbling mope as the REAL thing and blah blah fucking blah.

            But what did I honestly expect from some pseudo-intellectual twat who started his patronizing lecture with the insinuation that Bernard HILL was the original M who died when it was really Bernard LEE you stupid shit? (Hill was still around the last time I checked, and is best known as King Theoden from the Lord of the Rings movies) Try doing some actual FACT-checking first, jagoff. Oh, but that just applies to what you LIKE, which apparently wasn’t the Original James Bond Movies. Only the New and Improved Ones with your pouty poser *hero* the Almighty Craig that panders to all those ‘hip’ & ‘edgy’ kidz who play with their fancy toys of ipads and text smartphones while driving & crossing the streets without paying attention to the REAL WORLD all around them that should hurry up and take them OUT before they contaminate rest of the human gene pool with their contagious stupidity.

            “Code-Name” Theory my balls. P.S. That “brilliant” idea was actually put forth by that Lee Tamahori weirdo who directed that trainwreck of Die Another Day, and where is he NOW? Why put stock in what that fruity whackjob spouts when he’s not being busted for his cross-dressing preversions? If that’s the case, why should anyone believe YOU? Smug-ass prick.

          • MichaelANovelli

            Well, that wasn’t very nice…

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            And “not very nice” is an understatement here.

          • E.Buzz Miller

            Well that escalated quickly.

          • Thomas Stockel

            A bit off subject here, but I love your avatar, Buzz. one of SNL’s greatest characters, due in part to only a few priceless appearances. Sometimes less truly is more. 🙂

  • kuzefra

    The trouble is, they would telegraph who they want to replace Bond right in the movie. Like Shia Lebeof in Indiana Jones or Jeremy Renner in Bourne or Jeremy Renner in Mission Impossible (yes, that’s his purpose if Cruise ever quits). Would they do a whole movie on the search for the new 007? Another origin story zzz. If only Kingsman were in universe.

  • Jonathan Middleton

    This has clickbait written all over it.

  • Cristiona

    I can’t say that I agree with this whole idea. Frankly, Craig is one of the weaker Bonds, and I think it would be the height of hubris to terminate a character just because he wants to suck in other movies.

    Honestly, this whole essay feels like someone seriously overthinking things. I’d never heard of the codename theory, but that’s just silly nonsense that only exists because people have this strange obsession with continuity where none is required. It doesn’t matter that different people have played Bond because he’s — I hope you’re ready for this — a fictional character.

    If there’s any reason to kill James Bond, it’s because he’s a relic of the 60’s who really doesn’t work nearly as well in the modern era, as Dame Dench’s M pointed out, rather bluntly, in Goldeneye.

  • Given that Days of future past has proven that the general audience (and even most nerds) don’t care about continuity with nobody really bothered by the fact prof X was alive, I don’t think the little back story of Bond here will be a big deal. And yes, I saw the post credit scene of X3 and the wolverine.

  • MicHaeL

    Yes! Black Bond next! Let the controversy commence!