Many actors have had the privilege of playing James Bond across multiple movies, but 1 James Bond trend poses an injustice for two 007s.
As the search for the next James Bond continues the franchise has been heavily scrutinized, and one trend in James Bond movies is an injustice for two actors given 007 status in the past. Every fan has their definitive version of Ian Fleming’s super spy beginning in the ’60s with Sean Connery, who played Bond over the course of seven films (though not consecutively), and ending most recently with Daniel Craig in No Time To Die. While many actors have donned a tuxedo and asked for a shaken martini, not all of them have enjoyed the reverence of Connery, Craig, or even Pierce Brosnan.
If the next Bond film wants to succeed on its own merit, Bond 26 must address Daniel Craig’s shocking exit from the franchise in a way that honors his legacy while also leaving room for a new Bond to make their mark. Two Bond actors, in particular, were not afforded the same chance to succeed their predecessors, and it ultimately hurt their Bond residency, resulting in them vacating the part without much fanfare. In the end, the decision wasn’t just an injustice for them, it hurt the congruence of the franchise.
Lazenby & Dalton Never Got Their Third Bond Movies
Both George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton were 007 actors who never got to make a third Bond movie. In fact, Lazenby, who succeeded Connery as Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, made only one film and then promptly quit the franchise over creative differences. Lazenby was quickly replaced with Roger Moore, who appeared in seven Bond films throughout the ’70s and ’80s until Dalton came along in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill. Dalton’s Bond failed despite two great movies, and the search for the next 007 circled back to an earlier candidate with Brosnan assuming the mantle in the mid-’90s with GoldenEye.
For some fans, an actor’s third James Bond movie is his best. Out of Connery’s seven, Goldfinger is often cited as his most compelling, and the same can be said for Moore’s third Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Brosnan’s Tomorrow Never Dies may cause some to question this trend, but Craig’s SkyFall certainly solidifies it. It’s at this point that the Bond actors seem to find their rhythm and are the most comfortable in a role beloved to millions. A Bond actor’s third movie has also learned from any mistakes in the prior two, and represents the most complete vision of the actor’s impact on the part.
Bond’s Legacy Would Be Different If Lazenby & Dalton Reached Their Potential
Either way, had the franchise continued to go in the dark direction of Dalton’s Bond movies or the lighter direction of Lazenby’s, Bond’s legacy would be very different than it is today. Dalton’s mercurial Bond was edgier and consumed by revenge, and the actor brought a dynamic intensity to the role that still hasn’t been matched. Lazenby, a former male model, would have continued to bring breezy sophistication to Bond, but had he gotten a third film, might still not have been comfortable or accepted in the role unless more of his personality was revealed.
There are elements of both Dalton and Lazenby’s Bond contributions in the Bond films that followed their performances, particularly in their amalgamation of Dalton’s darkness and Lazenby’s stylish reticence. Had Lazenby received a few more Bond films, perhaps Moore wouldn’t have seemed like such an elder statesman by the time he took the part. Perhaps had Dalton been allowed to star in GoldenEye, he would have gone up against the Bond villain Alan Rickman almost played, but for now, they’re the two unique Bonds who have left fans wanting more.