There's a nagging fan theory about the Bond franchise, coined the "multi-Bond theory." The idea is simple:
“James Bond” is a title given to someone new every 20 some odd years along with the 007 label and MI6 kills or attempts to kill the previous Bond before finding a new one. Or they are all hanging out in a retirement community together. Now there's a bad guy killing Bond’s friends and it turns out to be none other than a previous James Bond actor. This idea is not original and has been wrung out to death on the internet with individual people genuinely coming up with the idea on their own. It's not an original idea and probably not even a very good idea. And here's why:
When writer Max Landis was on the Nerdist podcast he pitched his idea for a Bond film which is essentially, two men are shooting up MI6 and Daniel Craig’s Bond goes on a mission to find out who it is to reveal that it's two of the older Bonds, maybe Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, who were Bonds, but we're disenfranchised and now are seeking vengeance.
Here's the full video of his pitch:
Someone on 4Chan almost pitched the exact same idea. Here's the picture of exactly what they pitched:
Seems almost eerily similar to what Max Landis pitched.
Die Another Day Almost Had Sean Connery in it
Even Lee Tamahori, the director of the worst Bond film, Die Another Day, independently came up with the
multi-Bond idea and almost put it in Die Another Day.
Here's him discussing how he wanted a Sean Connery as old Bond cameo in Die Another Day from an interview he did on ActionAdventure.about.com back in 2003:
" ACTION/ADVENTURE: What about the rumor of a Sean Connery cameo?
Lee Tamahori: I was very involved in not the rumor, but I wanted a Sean Connery cameo. Michael [G. Wilson] and Barbara [Broccoli], with some well-reasoned thought behind it, it was one of the few ideas that was rejected. I think they thought if we put Connery in it with Brosnan, they thought [audiences] were going to get too confused. I'm not so sure that that's accurate. If they had followed my approach, which I think was a very good approach, it would have explained exactly why there were two Bond's in one movie. But they have a very loyal fan base and after 19 pictures, I'm not the guy to come in here and say that my idea is right and theirs is wrong. Some caution and some wisdom prevailed on that one.
ACTION/ADVENTURE: What was the idea?
Lee: My idea was basically that there have been several Bonds. It's just a prefix and a code name Even James Bond is not the guy's name. That's the way I've always been able to view these things from when Connery left and Lazenby and Moore took over, right up to Brosnan. How could this guy be so young still? Of course to me, it is just a prefix and a code name. That means that Connery either died or retired, Moore died or retired and so on. Following that, that allows you to have possibly two James Bonds in a movie. What happened to the others? Were they retired from active service or were they killed? That's where I came from. I thought what if there was a scene where Bond meets one of the originals, an older 007 who got out of the service and acted as a mentor to him, taught him some stuff about what was about to happen to him because he was being left behind and he was out of the secret service and people were trying to come and kill him. It was a different script at that stage, but I thought it was an interesting idea and I thought an audience may love it.
ACTION/ADVENTURE: Awesome idea, but I have to bring up a fanboy point. Why are the other James Bonds mourning the same dead wife?
Lee: Well, they don't.
ACTION/ADVENTURE: Moore visits her grave in For Your Eyes Only.
Lee: Oh, he does, does he. I didn't know that.
ACTION/ADVENTURE: What would your answer have been had I not brought that up?
Lee: I was not aware that he visited it. I thought if you sprung that on an audience, it may open up a whole new avenue or way of viewing Bond movies. Another reason I was proposing that as an idea was for future movies, when Pierce leaves and someone else comes on board, you may actually be able to do that as an introduction. You might be able to introduce the new guy as a new guy and look, there have been several before you, you're a new one. Don't rock the boat and don't do this and don't do that.”
It seems that every writer and director brought on to the Bond franchise has the idea to use the multi-Bond theory only to be turned down by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. I wonder if Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were brought in to clean up the shit show that was Die Another Day and got rid of the multi-Bond theory in the script, much the same way they did in the future with Skyfall. Wilson and Broccoli's sole job seems to be protecting the Bond franchise from the multi-Bond theory and they seem to use Pervis and Wade to do it.
Skyfall Almost Had Sean Connery in it
Sam Mendes, who directed Skyfall and Spectre, actually said they were considering having Sean Connery in Skyfall.
His quote when talking to Huffington Post:
“There was a definite discussion about that -- way, way early on,” Mendes explains. “But I think that's problematic. Because, to me, it becomes too ... it would take you out of the movie. Connery is Bond and he's not going to come back as another character. It's like, he's been there. So, it was a very brief flirtation with that thought, but it was never going to happen, because I thought it would distract.”
Initially Skyfall was written by John Logan and supposedly Connery was supposed to play the part of Kinkade.
Now in Skyfall Albert Finney plays Kinkade who is the groundskeeper for Skyfall lodge and one of Bond's childhood guardians. Originally everyone thought Connery was to brought in to play Kinkade which would have been interesting. In fact the rumor is that Sean Connery, even though he retired from Hollywood in 2003 after League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, actually rehearsed the part. I don't know how much I believe this as Connery even turned down reprising his roll as Dr. Henry Jones aka Indiana Jones’ father in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008 because he liked retirement too much.
But now here comes the more interesting part and take this with a grain of internet rumor salt, the original script had Skyfall manor as a 00-agent retirement community and Sean Connery was to play a retired double-0 agent. The implication of Connery being his last Bond character would never be explicitly stated but it would be assumed. Supposedly the script was then rewritten so Timothy Dalton or George Lazenby could play the part, but the idea was dropped in favor of Albert Finney and Skyfall turning into Bond's childhood home.
Now we know John Logan wrote the initial script and then Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the Bond writers who have written every Bond since The World is Not Enough, came on to rewrite Skyfall and supposedly they took out all references to Skyfall manor being an isolated refuge for retired agents.
A Bond is A Bond is a Bond
We all want their to be continuity between all 24 James Bond films and there is. Dalton’s Bind visits the grave of his wife, who died back when George Lazenby was Bond. Jaws, Felix, and Blofeld are all in multiple films. But people want a justification, to justify the conceit, that multiple people have played Bond. Personally I think this depletes the importance of the character. Once you see Connery or Brosnan’s Bond as evil, that would cheapen their Bond films. The conceit is that multiple people have portrayed Bond (and more importantly all six actors are still alive AND SHOULD TAKE A PICTURE TOGETHER) and people want to justify this conceit which is why this idea is so common yet people come up with it independently from each other. This theory explains why Bond looks like different actors, why he is portrayed slightly differently with each actor (Dalton burning someone alive as Bind compared to Moore literally dressing like a clown), and why Bind doesn't age. But do we need a justification? Can't we just say that humans sadly age but the characters we create don't necessarily have to. After all the characters we create are immortal. Mickey Mouse has far outlived Walt Disney.
Purvis and Wade keep being brought back rewrite every Bond movie. Could it be because every writer and director want to make their stamp on the Bond franchise by initiating the multi-Bond theory and Purvis and Wade are always brought back to take it out?
Luckily Skyfall and Spectre should have put this rumor to rest for good. In Skyfall it's now confirmed that James Bond’s name is actually James Bond and that it isn't a name given to the newest 007 agent. And I Spectre we meet the person who killed Bond’s step parents when he was young. My guess is Purvis and Wade did this intentionally, so the multi-Bond theory can never be used in a future film. Both Skyfall and Spectre managed to give Bond real human emotions through a real human past, something the multi-Bond theory could never achieve.
Here's a list of MGM's upcoming films:
How to Be Single - February 12, 2016 (WB)
Me Before You - March 4, 2016 (WB)
Barbershop: The Next Cut - April 15, 2016 (WB)
Ben-Hur - August 12, 2016 (Paramount)
The Magnificent Seven - September 23, 2016 (Sony)
The Belko Experiment - 2017
Tomb Raider (Reboot) - 2017 (WB)
Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes - January 12, 2018 (Paramount)
Bond 25 - TBD
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