To date, there have been six actors who have officially played James Bond from Sir Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. And perhaps the most underrated of the 007 stars is Timothy Dalton, who took over from Sir Roger Moore in the mid-1980s. As the Cold War was coming to an end there was a question of Bond’s relevance and whether the franchise had really run its course.
Sir Roger Moore was 57-years-old when he starred in his seventh and final James Bond movie, 1985’s A View to a Kill.
But then Timothy Dalton, who was almost cast instead of George Lazenby after Connery, was hired for 1987’s The Living Daylights.
The 40-year-old brought a younger, grittier take on the character long before Daniel Craig did; a far cry from Moore’s camp tongue-in-cheek escapades that preceded him.
However, Dalton only made one more Bond movie in 1989’s Licence to Kill before Pierce Brosnan debuted in 1995’s Goldeneye, then the biggest gap in the film franchise’s output to date – although the wait between Daniel Craig’s Spectre and the upcoming No Time To Die could well surpass it if there’s another delay.
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Dalton was contracted for three Bond movies, with the next set to release in 1991, but a legal dispute between EON Productions and MGM stalled the movie.
After this was resolved in 1993, the star was asked to appear in Goldeneye, but it didn’t come to pass.
Dalton told The Week in 2014: “[Broccoli] asked if I would come back, and I said, ‘Well, I’ve actually changed my mind a little bit. I think that I’d love to do one. Try and take the best of the two that I have done, and consolidate them into a third.’”
“And he said, quite rightly, ‘Look, Tim. You can’t do one. There’s no way, after a five-year gap between movies that you can come back and just do one. You’d have to plan on four or five.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, no, that would be the rest of my life. Too much. Too long.’ So I respectfully declined.”
As a result, Pierce Brosnan – who was originally offered the role of Bond in 1987’s The Living Daylights but was tied down to a contract then – was cast to star in 1995’s Goldeneye.
Now Mark Edlitz, the author of the new book The Lost Adventures of James Bond, has shared with Express.co.uk what were the original plans for Dalton’s third and fourth 007 movies.
The Bond expert said: “Dalton captured the spirit of Fleming’s Bond in a unique way. Bond enthusiasts have been speculating about his unmade third Bond film for over thirty years.
“There were two very different versions of Dalton’s third film. One version was a taut thriller and a story that harkened back to the classic Bond films. The other story was a bit broader. I would characterise it as an action-comedy. For instance, there’s one scene where Bond goes to the rodeo and he disguises himself as a cowboy.”
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Edlitz continued: “I even explored a possible fourth Dalton film, written by Richard Smith. It was called Reunion with Death. That would have been set in Japan.
“It was a lovely story, with a haunting ending. It would have also featured the cinematic debut of Loelia Ponsonby, Bond’s secretary from the novels.”
The Bond expert’s new book also looks at a completely different story that might have worked for Dalton’s first 007 outing.
He said: “In it, Dalton’s Bond would have been paired with a senior agent who was going to show Bond the ropes.”
Edlitz added: “That story wasn’t made because Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, the shrewd and beloved producer of the series, reasoned that audiences wanted to see a seasoned James Bond who was in full command of his powers.
“When Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson made Casino Royale, they told a story about Bond’s early adventures, but they did so by still honouring Broccoli’s wishes.
“Their solution was to make Bond adept at spy-craft but still not a fully formed man. Bond was raw and undisciplined, but he was still a skilled operative. It was an ingenious solution.”
The Lost Adventures of James Bond by Mark Edlitz is out now.
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