For years, Bond fans have debated the issue of one guy with a rebooted universe every few years or one of many Bonds every few years; the face changes whenever the former agent retires; whoever takes on the number 007 takes the identity of “James Bond.” It’s neither new or an epiphany, but its great fun to spell things out.
The guys assigned 007 means they take on his history; death of his parents in a skiing accident, his family estate in Scotland and all his enemies and emotional baggage; all new agents, rebooted, share the same “memories” and experiences.
Yes, he is a new guy, but in essence just replaced with a new shell, but remaining the same 007; MI6 had to think big on how to keep the man Bond in the field without word getting out he was “retired.” Changing his appearance over the years became not only smart business, but a necessity as it would make no sense to keep Bond as the same guy or as a REAL guy when he goes around the world saying his name to anyone who asks- banging every chick he meets-hardly a secret agent behavior, but it’s perfect cover as it would be even harder to track down a guy who is complete fiction and leaves no trace but used condoms.
By changing his face every few years, it confuses the hell out of the enemies, when they get conflicting descriptions of what he looks and sounds like….(Scot, Aussie, Irish, Welsh, English- WHAT is he?) with his height, hair color and weight constantly changing.
Plastic surgery would not be out of the realm of possibilities, but only for the first two. Brainwashing is more apt. It makes no sense otherwise for us to accept the absurd notion that he is the same Bond each time—a man who, incredibly, changes faces and remains relatively the same age no matter what the decade yet his friends and counterparts change and age.
The films have been reluctant to take such a stand, but have slyly toyed with said notion or in the case of Skyfall, gleefully took the stance of fence-sitter in not spelling it out completely but not ruling it out either, but however have left nuggets of information to chew on.
#1 Sean Connery
#2 George Lazenby
#3 Roger Moore
#4 Timothy Dalton
#5 Pierce Brosnan
#6 Daniel Craig
A scene that was scripted for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but was never filmed showed Lazenby under the knife to explain his new appearance. It of course was cut and doesn’t count, but it at least showed some consideration for the change up. Lazenby too drops a great riff after the fight on the beach, he quips, “This never happened to the other fellow.” A meta-wink most likely, but still it gave rise and slight credence to the possibility of many Bonds.
If things aren’t given, fans like me theorize and expound on things seen, unseen and merely hinted at- I see it as this.
MI6 recruits and trains the best of the best. It’s too not far-fetched to accept the notion that they brainwash, they implant memories of lovers, family, friends and enemies. A wise tactic to keep the agent complacent, due to their high intelligence, if there were any linger doubts of their existence, truth would be sought and an agent would with missing memories would lead him into another franchise of him seeking the truth-finding boredom, shitty camera and editing. By creating a fake persona and through indoctrination they can control him and do whatever it takes to keep her Majesty safe and sound. The following is based on the evidence given and spread throughout the various installments.
Die Another Day, has an interesting scene where we see off in the background behind Bond, many of his previous gadgets; the attaché, Little Nellie autogyro from “From Russia with Love”, and the jetpack from “Thunderball,” while flashing a knowing smirk.
Skyfall #6’s Bond has an original Aston Martin, from Goldfinger, a tool left over from all of his predecessors. The same film also to some had put the issue to bed, but not really when it’s entirely possible for MI6 to create the character in the first place and to then create a world around him to make him feel normal and real.
License to Kill and Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough mentions Bond having been “married a long time ago,”…. It’s used to support the emotional thrust of the flick and pushing a female character away; all part of the character known as Bond, always surrounded by beautiful women, but forever alone.
“Hey, what about 3 laying flowers on Tracy’s grave at the beginning of For Your Eyes Only?” Again, the implanted memories or just simply recognizing the past-all the references to Tracy Bond throughout the series could just be the later agents’ acknowledgement of and respect for a heartbreak that once occurred to one of their astonishingly exclusive clan- plus he was playing the part and the bad guys, especially Blofeld knew he had a wife, and was all part of the act. The best part, it neatly explains why Lazenby was quietly dispatched- he was too emotionally destroyed to carry on. But why didn’t Blofeld acknowledge Bonds changed appearance? He too used doubles, clones and plastic surgery; he was in the same proverbial boat, it obviously wasn’t the same Blofeld either.
The movie’s best example of this is Money Penny was played by the same actress from #1 through the end of #3’s run. Q (Major Boothroyd) lasted from #1 to the second mission of 5 and the first M was with all of #1 and to the end of the fourth mission (Moonraker) of #3. Second M lasted through the rest of 3’s run and to the end of 4’s.
The first female M (Judi Dench) was with all of 5 and to the end of the third mission of #6- what does this all mean? They were all played by the same actors and they all have the same history and experiences, only Bond is the changed face, Hmmm?
And the first guy is always remembered the best. James Bond 007 started with #1 in the middle of the cold war in (Dr. No) 1962 and created a legend for himself. Known as a charming brute to some, but in reality a refined gentleman with an impeccable taste in wine and women; also a formidable opponent who struck the fear of God into many of his enemies. As he began taking his enemies down, he became too well known and had to be “discharged.” He retired in 1967.
Enter Bond #2, his only mission stops Blofeld, who should, but doesn’t seem to recognize Bond in OHMSS since they met in the previous film You Only Live Twice, understandable considering he looks different, Blofeld does too (a double perhaps?) Bond stops the Blofeld plan and marries, but revenge is sought as two of Blofeld’s henchmen murder Bond’s wife, Tracy on their wedding day- emotionally destroyed, distraught and rendered useless- #2 is discharged in 1969 never to be heard from again.
With no available 00’s and with no new 007 waiting in the wings, #1 is called back for one time use only- to stop Blofeld-again in Diamonds Are Forever. He too has changed his face with doubles, clones and plastic surgery. We see #1 again, on the hunt for Blofeld, he is out for revenge, for his friend #2 and for his own gripe with Blofeld. After Blofeld’s demise, he retires permanently in 1971. There were rumors of his return to service in the early 1980’s, but nothing was ever confirmed.
#3 enters in 1973 (Live and Let Die) and turns out to be the most successful Bond yet; he’s refined, a true English gentlemen who would rather use his wits to get out of a situation than his weapon. His posh looks disguise his ability as a mean fighter. He’s credited with stopping WWIII with Stromberg, worldwide death by Hugo Drax and finally killing Blofeld or at least his double/clone; stopping many other instances of war he is rewarded with his extend stay. He is kept around too long by his own admission actually and retired near demise of the cold war in 1985.
#4 enters in 1987 (The Living Daylights) and is regarded as a cold, efficient surgeon. He’s forgettable, humorless to some, a bad temper and does not last long with MI6. His final mission takes on a personal agenda that disrupts MI6 and his superiors and renders him unstable as he seeks revenge for the maiming of his friend and American counterpart Felix Leiter,(who is also treated to a similar change-up process) by a Columbian drug lord, and the murder of his bride; bringing back awful memories no doubt. His mission was disavowed and his actions spooked MI6 and he was prematurely forced out and retired in 1989.
#5 (Goldeneye) imbued with the spirit of #1 and the sense of humor of #3, a fighter, but very much a lover, enters in 1995, was frowned upon initially by his superior, M, who didn’t care for his predecessors nor his personal antics calling them a ‘misogynistic, sexist Dinosaur.’ She slowly gains respect for him relying on his resourcefulness and unconventional methods. In 2002, after four successful missions he is shown the door for reasons unknown.
#6 enters in 2006, (Casino Royale) as a former protégé of M. He is cool, calculating, a real bruiser- blunt instrument and is a bit headstrong. She sees some of herself in him and they have a mutual respect that goes back to his earliest days of training. She often acted as a mother figure. She died while on a mission with 6. #6 continues to hold the prestigious spy designation of 007. While on his first mission, he experienced a personal loss as well.
Works for me….
Some far-fetched geeking out to something that would never happen, but an inspired opening sequence would explain what I just laid out and show the MI6 list of secret agents from the present to past has been stolen and all the former BONDS are being picked off.. We could see, briefly each and every past Bond in their current lives, a line or two, enjoying retirement, getting knocked off…Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan….Geeks heads would explode will the quintuple threat of manliness and cool. While a brief sequence shows the NEW Bond getting his memories wiped, new memories implanted adjusted to fit the persona JAMES BOND 007.
A geek can wish- I didn’t think I’d ever get a Star Wars Episode VII and look how that turned out?