Are we meant to believe James Bond (aka 007) is one person or several people?

Over the years there have been many actors portraying James Bond. Are we meant to believe it has always been just the one person? Or is he several people given the same pseudonym?

I ask because the most recent Bond movie has a woman as 007. I know that is obviously not James Bond but we see an unambiguously different person as 007. So, are the various Bonds different people too?

007 is a code name, assigned to him as he is one of MI6’s “00 agents,” their elite field agents, who have a license to kill while in the field.

So, in theory, there may have been an agent who was 007 before Bond, and could be another who would be 007 after Bond. In other words: one James Bond, possibly multiple 007s over the course of time.

I think “suspension of disbelief” is the relevant literary concept.

I’m totally fine with them using different actors to portray one character. I grew up watching Doctor Who.

I am just curious what the producers/directors see it as.

I don’t recall ever seeing anything in the films* to suggest that there has been, in canon, more than one James Bond, despite the fact that a number of actors have played the role.

*- the very silly 1967 Casino Royale notwithstanding.

“This never happened to the other fella.”

Can’t speak for them, but I dont think there has ever been much of an attempt to have any continuity or back story linking any of the movies , up until the recent Daniel Craig set of movies.

Each movie was
“You know this character James Bond, secret agent, charming, deadly etc”
" here are some bad guys, maybe specter was mentioned elsewhere"
“Here is a bond girl”
“Here are some supporting characters that do stuff you know”
" occasional throwaway 4th wall breaking gag because they not completely un self aware"
"here is the story and the movie , enjoy or not , catch you in a year or two for the next one "

That’s about it. No need to explain continuity , backstory, who is 007 or 006 or what happened to 1/2 of london getting destroyed in the last movie , because it’s not relevant to this story we are about to see.
Continuity or back story was never planned in to any great extent so it was never developed in the movies so there is little point trying to find one.

The books had some continuity but they are not the movie world so no point looking for enlightenment there.

The Craig set of movies are basically a superset of that with some continuity between movies, but nothing to do with the Pierce Brosnan or any other era’s.

Basically don’t look for reason where none was intended , that way lies madness.

Haven’t seen the latest so maybe they have started to build in a back story and continuity, but that would be a new thing so what ever happened on previous movies is no longer relevant.

It varies, but I do think each actor’s portrayal are like chapters, consistent within themselves. The fact that Q was the same in most of them, and various Ms and Blofelds messed up the internal continuity, is where the sticking point really lies.

However, my feeling is the current regime consider Daniel Craig’s run to be its own thing, and I am expecting an entirely ground-up recasting of every character for the next one.

Personally I think Eon should branch out into streaming, like other franchises, and have TV series about Moneypenny, Q, and other 00- Agents, and have them all tie in. A JBCU, as it were.

Yeah that was the only “official” acknowledgement that 007 may have been someone else. Another sort-of one is that Goldeneye’s prologue takes place with Brosnan’s 007 alive and well during a time in which Dalton was the current 007.

However starting with George Lazenby until Pierce Brosnan’s final movie there was still a deliberate continuity going on with Bond, as Bond’s deceased wife is mentioned with Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan’s 007 at various points. In addition Q seems to treat every actors 007 as he’s an old on-going friend and not like someone completely new. The fact that every Bond from Connery to Brosnan is a Royal Navy officer is also part of the continuity.

As mentioned there is one James Bond but likely to have been previous 007s in the MI6 service. We’ve seen movies featuring other 00 agents.

Moreover I wouldn’t read anything into there being different actors making the character of James Bond a pseudonym. Different actors have played the roles of M, Q, Miss Moneypenny and Felix Leiter. The first three characters had great continuity with Bernard Lee, Desmond Llewelyn and Lois Maxwell in the beginning (although Llewelyn wasn’t even the original Q in the first Bond movie). Those characters getting older and their character development over time was part of a great run - particularly Moneypenny going from a young attractive jilted secretary in the Connery years to that jilted nature becoming something Roger Moore’s Bond joked about because by that point she was much older. But Bond is the one figure who still maintained those old traits of his because the new actors kept him young.

Is there a 000? If not, are there only nine 00 agents? Or is there a 00B or 00π?
Agreed that there is only one James Bond (well, only one JB who is 007 – there is also the ornithologist) but multiple 007s (only one at a time, unless there is a 007 emeritus)
At least that is my opinion – I haven’t watched every movie looking for confirmation

Brian

The " ‘James Bond’ is a code name applied to a series of different agents" notion is a fan theory that’s gained some traction in the last few years.

As discussed above, there’s some things to suggest it in the movies, and other things that suggest the opposite.

One thing I like about this theory, aside from explaining the different actors, is it also explains the different time periods of the movies. James Bond in the 60s during the cold war is different from James Bond in the 80s, or James Bond today. Different threats, different technologies, different everything.

Doctor Who deals with the ongoing march of time by just having the main character literally be a time traveler. But there’s no way a spy in his prime in the 60s would still be kicking ass today, 60 years later.

In fact, it’d be funny if they could bring in an old “James Bond” as the new “M”, him having been promoted out of the field and into management.

The novel Moonraker mentions a 0011. Bond stories by other authors mention 0010 and 0012. One of the video games mentions a 0013.

Are we meant to believe Bruce Wayne is one person or several people?
Are we meant to believe Rachel Dawes is one person or several people?
Are we meant to believe James Rhodes is one person or several people?
Are we meant to believe Jennifer Parker is one person or several people?

It’s recasting. Everyone from Connery to Brosnan was intended to be the same person, regardless of the series going for decades, then the Craig movies were a reboot and a new, separate continuity (admittedly keeping the same actress as M).

No it doesn’t. It deals with it by having the main character regenerate.

So, (major, major spoiler from the most recent James Bond movie…really…please spoiler any response to this post):

Since James Bond died (we assume but seems very likely) at the end of the last movie does this mean this is the absolute end of James Bond movies? If Bond is a single person there is no room for anymore Bond movies (which would be sad). I suppose they can magic him out of dying somehow (jumped in a hole nearby that we didn’t see or some other trick).

Time to roll out the prequels featuring Jar Jar Moneypenny.

That’s for the character’s appearance. I’m talking about the world around the character. There’s no way you can reconcile 60s era Bond’s social, political, and technological surroundings with 2020s era Bond’s surroundings.

But you can do that with Doctor Who. “Oh, Doctor, why have we never seen a “smart-phone” before?” “Because we never time travelled to 2020 before just now, silly human! Next week we’ll be back looking at Steam Engines in the 1870s.”

That would be irrational. MI-6 is not irrational.

Mrs Howell: Now I know why you’re 014; you’re twice as good as double oh seven.

My vote is, other than Craig, the character is the same person, but not all the movies are in the same “universe”. OHMSS and FYEO are the same person because of Tracy, but Dr. No and The Living Daylights are not the physical same person, for example. The same Bond did not have both assignments. Which movies are contiguous is if course a matter for debate.

I have no more trouble with Bond than I do the various incarnations of Batman. Adam West and Michael Keaton and Christian Bale aren’t the same person. No one tries to fit them together.

There are certain characters that have achieved mythic status. Robin Hood, Batman, James Bond - you can tell new stories without fear of contradiction. No one writes threads wondering if Errol Flynn and Keven Costner and Cary Elwes and Sean Connery are the same Robin Hood.

As for No Time To Die, it says right at the end of the credits

JAMES BOND WILL RETURN

It doesn’t say 007 will return. So if 007 is recast as a black lesbian woman, and the conservatives have a collective shit fit, (and vow to never watch Bond again) whoever it is should still be James Bond.

There was some continuity with the Pierce Brosnan version.

While I love Daniel Craig as Bond and think “Casino Royale” is the best Bond film ever, the decision to make the movies an essentially continuous story, while consistent with modern franchise moviemaking, was IMHO not an especially great move; it limits the screenwriter’s range in a series that really shouldn’t have such limitations, and so you get confusing junk like Quantum of Solace and Spectre.

You don’t even have to stretch to imagine “James Bond” as a woman, since there’s women, indeed a few famous women, named James. It’s becoming like Terry or Leslie.

Compared to the muddled mess of Skyfall, those two movies are top ten quality.

eta:

Speaking of continuity, there was supposed to be common girl that Bond would see between missions. But they only put her in the one movie (Dr No?I forget) and forgot about her.