Sean Connery: The Legendary Bond Who Left and Returned
Sean Connery, the iconic actor who forever etched his name in the annals of cinema history as James Bond, had an extraordinary journey with the 007 franchise. His departure and triumphant return to the role of Commander Bond are tales of intrigue, ambition, and the relentless pursuit of cinematic excellence.
Exit: A Discontented Bond
Sean Connery’s initial foray into the world of James Bond was nothing short of a sensation. His charismatic portrayal of the suave secret agent captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. However, as the Bond series continued to rake in massive profits, Connery was at odds with the producers over his compensation. Despite the franchise’s monumental success, he felt shortchanged.
Adding to his disillusionment, Connery grappled with the fear of being typecast. The relentless shooting and promotional schedule took a toll on him, leaving him weary and craving new challenges. These factors led to his momentous decision to bid farewell to the role of James Bond after “You Only Live Twice” in 1967. He harbored a lingering resentment toward producers Harry Saltzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, marking the end of the first era of Ian Fleming’s literary creation on the silver screen.
The Bond Franchise in Peril
The departure of George Lazenby, who played Bond in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” presented a problem for the Bond series. The producers faced the daunting task of recasting the iconic role once again. Roger Moore was under consideration, but fate had other plans.
In a surprising turn, Sean Connery was lured back with an offer he couldn’t refuse. A salary of $1.25 million for 1971’s “Diamonds Are Forever” and a two-picture deal with the freedom to choose his projects convinced Connery to don the tuxedo again. The original Bond was back, and the excitement among fans was palpable. However, Connery made it clear that this would be his final appearance as 007, a statement that would come back to haunt him.
Dueling Bonds: The Unofficial Saga
Complicating matters further, were the rights issues surrounding the SPECTRE organization, preventing its use in the official EON Productions canon. This created a loophole that writer Kevin McClory exploited in his attempts to develop a competing Bond franchise. Surprisingly, Sean Connery collaborated with McClory on an unused 007 script titled “Warhead.”
Their hatred toward Albert R. Broccoli, the long-standing producer of the official Bond films, led to “Never Say Never Again.” Released in 1983, this unofficial Bond movie essentially served as a remake of 1965’s “Thunderball.” It ignited a showdown between two Bond movies: “Never Say Never Again” versus “Octopussy,” the latter being Roger Moore’s official entry.
A Close Call: Roger Moore and the Bond That Almost Was
Believe it or not, Sean Connery nearly missed his opportunity to lead “Never Say Never Again.” Sir Roger Moore, the actor who had embodied Bond in the official franchise, was also approached for the role and seriously considered taking it. Had Moore accepted, James Brolin would have been the likely choice as his successor within the official canon. Ultimately, Moore and Connery both agreed to work on their respective Bond projects, with Moore revealing he was prepared to seize the opportunity if Connery declined. This intriguing scenario left room for only two Bonds in the limelight, leaving James Brolin out in the cold.
The Bond Legacy Lives On
Though Sean Connery departed from the James Bond legacy, fate would again bring him back into the fold. In 2005, Connery made one last appearance as Bond, albeit in a different medium – a video game adaptation of “From Russia with Love.” His enduring cinematic journey is a testament to the excitement and unpredictability that defines the world of Bond.
As the future of Bond remains uncertain, with Daniel Craig’s tenure as the secret agent concluded, delving into the past of this iconic franchise offers a delightful way to pass the time while awaiting its next chapter. With countless untold stories hidden in its history, we can anticipate revisiting the past before embracing the future of Bond, ensuring that the legend of James Bond, like Connery himself, will never honestly be forgotten.