The Last James Bond Movie

James Bond continuity is extremely difficult to keep straight. Any given Bond book, at any rate, will selectively incorporate or ignore information from any previous Bond book at will. How old is he? A teenager in the 1930s, still in his mid-thirties by 2002? However, I will make the following claim: I believe that the 20 films making up the original James Bond movie canon can be synthesised into a single timeline encompassing the adventures of a single, normally-ageing man. I am not saying it wouldn't be difficult - cultural and political references in all the movies may be extremely difficult to deal with depending on how big a difference you are willing to tolerate between the Bond universe and reality, and how much you are willing to allow the central character to age. I actually gave this as a challenge to a Bond enthusiast friend of mine and he politely declined to tackle the subject.

Be that as it may, the Bond franchise was rebooted after the disastrous Die Another Day. There is a new Bond. He started his career in 2006. There are now (at least) two Bond universes.

That means the original James Bond, the one most recently played by Pierce Brosnan, is still out there somewhere. Not dead.

The Last James Bond Movie will be titled James Bond Returns and it will be the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns of the James Bond movie franchise. Bond will be back, for the last time. He will be older and greyer. Maybe even retired, disillusioned, obsolete, unnecessary - "a sexist misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War". Yes, GoldenEye is the best Bond movie. Admit it. He will be brought back or come back voluntarily to fight something that only he can fight; to prove that he will continue to be excellent even into his seventies; to show us how James Bond would really eventually die; and then, in a shocking twist, turn out to still be alive and kicking.

Why not? This, or another Bond movie set in the 1960s. Honestly, the character really doesn't work divorced from that time period. (GoldenEye notwithstanding. Its self-awareness was one of many things which made it great.)

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Discussion (17)

2009-10-13 22:45:11 by j:

Is it just me, or was that kind of what was going on in The Rock with Connery?
The background of his character seemed to strongly hint this is what they had mind.

2009-10-13 23:39:12 by pozorvlak:

If Chris Bonington's still doing technical mountaineering at 75 (http://www.bonington.com/expedit/index.htm), an aged, grizzled Bond could clearly kick arse in retirement.

2009-10-14 01:25:57 by RossSmith:

Wasn't _Never Say Never Again_ more or less this movie?

2009-10-14 02:01:58 by Fjord:

My friends and I are of the opinion that "James Bond, Agent 007," is actually a cover identity given to MI-6's (favorite? best? most explosion-inducing?) agent. Sort of like a Dread Pirate Roberts-ish setup. This protects the individual agents after they retire, and at the same time gives MI-6 a sort of flagship agent. I mean, pretty much every villain James comes across recognizes the name of Bond. For a supposedly secret agent, his name at least is fairly well recognized. He's still officially deniable, but if he shows up, you know that the Queen is frowning upon your shenanigans.

2009-10-14 08:26:38 by Boter:

Ooh, I like that explanation. Accounts for quite a bit. Not a Bond fan, but from what I know that seems pretty solid.

2009-10-14 09:08:11 by Chrismo:

Point of pedantry: Actually, I didn't decline the challenge. I merely deferred it until I had something sufficiently big that I need to divert attention from. I'll be writing up my thesis in the new year - that should do it...

Also, can we all be grown-ups here and pretend that Never Say Never Again never existed? Please?

2009-10-14 14:52:11 by Cory:

That seems like a sufficiently large project that you will get plenty of things done before it's finished...

And I will never agree that Never Say Never Again never existed-- as much as we may dislike history, it still happened (presumably.)

2009-10-15 02:28:46 by webmaren:

Fjord's suggestion actually does seem the most plausible. Even the recurring elements to the character could be designed that way by MI6. It would smooth out the continuity and allow movies to continue comfortably.

Granted, this still complicates Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, but we could say that this Bond simply got rushed into the position unconventionally early. It would explain why people don't really trust him (though not why our bad guy has no idea who he is...).

2009-10-15 13:42:42 by Thrack:

Casino Royal and Quantum of Solace is a reboot of the James Bond series, there is no reason for the same continuity to exist in it. But if you were to use the same explanation you could say that MI6 only recently created a flagship agent, so James Bond wont be nearly as well known yet.

2009-10-19 14:56:45 by JoetheRat:

Fjord and Thrack kind of create an interesting issue. James Bond as an agent alias would simplify much of the issues, but it does create a question - why would MI-6 have a high-profile, 'flagship' agent? Wouldn't the idea be to *not* have your agents known?

Unless, of course, his role is *to* be known - keep the attention of all the nefarious villains on him while the rest of the agents do the real spycraft. Sure, the base/building/former Soviet Bloc nation is on high alert now, but they're looking for a ruggedly handsome fellow in an expensive suit, a flair for the dramatic, and an attractive woman in tow. They're going to ignore the janitor, or that guy who's been here for several months, and they certainly won't be after the listening devices. Hell, you could insinuate that 'James Bond' is on his way there, and see how well your listening network works.

Also, if things go horribly wrong, You point at him, and even the government gives him the 'Oh, that rascal! That's our James!' treatment. Harsh words may be exchanged, but the MI-6 operating budget remains unharmed.

2009-10-19 21:02:19 by Ross:

This concept -- that James Bond is a job title rather than a name -- was part of the spoof "Casino Royale" from 1967. "All agents and trainees will now be known as James Bond -- including the girls."

2009-10-20 06:43:54 by Fjord:

JoeTheRat: That's pretty much what I meant. I mean, you only send Bond in if you want something explodey to occur. Plus, the only real intelligence-gathering he does involves finding the one thing that, if destroyed, will cause the entire nefarious plot to come apart at the seams; and then he proceeds to cause it to explode. Along with anything within a two-hundred-meter radius. He's a shiny object, not a spy. Even if, occasionally, he does do some spy-like things.

In short, he's the wet-works man, not the espionage guy.

2009-10-25 06:05:34 by pardonMe:

Yes, it would be much more amusing if Bond went back to before this modern bullshit. The classic series doesn't certainly wasn't as high budget or as pretentious as the "new" universe. For the record, the answer to the CAPTCHA "the square root of minus one" is j, not i. I is current.

2009-11-05 12:30:34 by JohnHoward:

A reasonable start would be John Pearson's novel: James Bond: The Authorised Biography of 007. This posits that the Ian Fleming novels are sensationalized versions of the "real" agent's missions, deliberately written to provide cover of actual operations.

2010-02-19 10:05:34 by Al:

I'd just like to point out to the pedant claiming the square root of -1 to be j, not i, that they're an engineer. Physicists and chemists tend to use i.

Also, you may all be reading too much into some entertaining but fairly lightweight fiction and films...

2010-05-11 23:30:02 by Terminus:

Actually they are most likely an electrical engineer - most engineers use i as well, the two terms only really ram together in a confusing enough way to buck the trend in electronics!

2012-11-26 02:03:14 by Justsomedude:

That would be a great movie.