I have already made up my mind that James Bond is the same character in every movie
but another question came up that I am more interested in: is M the same character?
clearly I think M in the Brosnan movies is a different character. But what about the M who was in the Dalton movies (and maybe 1 or 2 Moore movies, I don’t remember)? I like to think he is the same character as the original M.
I think Q clearly passes on his job to another character. what about Moneypenny?
I always took it that James Bond was the agent’s personal name, 007 was his title/ranking/position/serial number and that posts like M and Q were filled by different people who passed down that letter. Using this logic, I figured Moneypenny was the personal name of the lady.
Bond is clearly intended to be the same character from film to film (and book to book), even though the different actors give him different personalities and quirks, and he’s written differently from film to film (although Richard Maibaum at least co-wrote most of the first Bonds, so there’s quite a bit of continuity).
“M” was supposed to be the same character until the actor playing him, Bernard Lee died. In the books, “M” took his identifying letter from his name, Sir Miles Messervy (never used in the movies), just as in real life the head of that section used his single initial as an identifier. I don’t think the letter was passed on in real life (and the situation didn’t arise in Fleming’s books), but in the films they clearly had Judy Densch using the same letter,m even though at first she was a different character, apparently as a way to keep a sense on continuity. Since the Daniel Craig reboot, the question is moot, and Densch is obviously the one and only “M”. (In Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the letter “M” as head of the Service is used to designate different people, starting before Bond’s “M”, even.)
“Q” stands for Quartermaster, a post, not a person, and so it’s not a person. In the Fleming books, there’s a “Q branch”, but no “Q” (John Gardner changed that with his later Bond books). In the filmms, the character is at first called “Armorer” or “Quartermaster” and is twice called “Boothroyd”, the name that Fleming gave the character. After Desmond Llewelyn left the series (and died), John Cleese took over as an obviously different Quartermaster “Q”.
Miss Moneypenny and Felix Leiter are obviously supposed to be the same people throughout the films, despite being played by a great many people (only two guys so far have played Felix more than once).
M is played by yet another actor (and is kind of a twit) in Never Say Never Again the remake of Thunderball with Connery. Clearly Bernard Lee was not going to abandon the main movie series. I don’t remember if there was an M in the first movie Casino Royale.
I seem to remember a sequence in the newer Casino Royale where Desmond Llewelyn handed over the job to Cleese.
That was Edward Fox, who was excellent as The Jackal in the original Day of the Jackal, and pretty good as Miller (David Niven’s old role) in Force 10 from Navarone, but seems to have mostly been shunted to stuffy British offical roles.
Bernard Lee wouldn’t go to another series, I’m sure – some of the cast who appeared in Operation Kid Brother (starring Connery’s Kid Brother) – Lois Maxwell, and Bernard Lee – caught hell for doing so. Besides which, Lee died in 1981, well before they made Never Say Never Again.
As noted, John Huston played “M” in the godawful first version of Casino Royale (except for the TV version on “Climax!”, which had no M)
On the contrary, as Baron Greenback points out above, in real life the head of the Secret Intelligence Service always signs documents “C”, no matter what his or her name is. The original head of the service was Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming, and he always signed his correspondence with his initial (one of them, anyway). Later heads of the organization continued to do so, ostensibly to maintain anonymity, but one suspects really out of the British love of quirky traditions. It is by no means an official title, but more a nickname. Rather like the manner in which whoever heads up anti-drug efforts for a presidential administration is called “the drug czar”.
I think I’m remembering from the original (Ian Fleming) books that M signs in green ink?
It’s interesting, M in the books is always called “M.” In Moonraker, his name is “revealed” as “Sir M**** M*******” (exactly that number of asterisks.) It’s not until the last book, Man with the Golden Gun that he’s referred to as Admiral Sir Miles Messervy.