Commander James Bond, 1968–2019
The Eon James Bond film timeline is simple: 1962-2002 and 2006-present. Daniel Craig is the only Bond actor with a separate timeline from the other five who have portrayed 007.
George Lazenby's Bond (1969) was the same character as Sean Connery's (1962-67 & 1971). In the Australian's only outing as 007, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), it is drilled into the audience that it's the same person. The title sequence shows clips from the previous Connery films, and the new 007 is seen looking through his souvenirs of earlier missions while we hear bursts of instrumentals of songs from these outings. An early draft of Majesty's even featured Bond undergoing plastic surgery to explain the transition.
On to Roger Moore (1973-85) — still the same person. Bond's marriage in Majesty's is referenced in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and For Your Eyes Only (1981). Timothy Dalton's Bond (1987-89) also becomes unsettled at the unintentional reminder of his deceased wife, by Felix Leiter's bride, Della, in Licence to Kill (1989).
All of these references work. It wasn't until the twentieth Bond film, Die Another Day, that references went from happy nostalgia to being winced at. It was the 40th anniversary of the James Bond films. One or two subtle references would have been nice, but not 20+. Much like the CGI and corny dialogue, the producers should have reigned in the in-your-face nods to previous Bond films. Yet it's still reinforcing the notion that Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan all played the same character.
The slate was wiped clean with Craig's debut film, Casino Royale (2006), and the proceeding films (2008-2015) have been a story arc. Daniel Craig's Bond has never been married, unlike the other five. Craig is the only Bond we have seen having to earn his 00 status. Connery's and Lazenby's Bonds faced Blofeld, but he wasn't 007's foster brother. So why not kill Bond? It would complete Craig's arc and be the perfect way to start a new timeline.
Connecting the next Bond actor with Craig's Bond would be jarring, and killing 007 would give the producers a creative licence to do things that we've never seen before. A new chapter chronicling Bond's childhood to his stint in The Royal Navy would be great. There's potential to tell some interesting stories there: the death of his parents, his schooling years, his relationship with his foster parent and foster brother, Franz, who we were introduced to in SPECTRE.
Bond 26 is the chance to make Bond go darker than ever before. The possibilities of who killed Bond and why are endless, and it could be an explosive finale to Daniel Craig's tenure as James Bond.
It's time to kill James Bond. But not for good. James Bond always returns.
“At any cost — any — Bond must die” — Dr. Kananga, Live and Let Die
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