Following a turbulent pre-production period, Bond 25 – now officially titled No Time To Die – finally makes its way onto the big screen next spring. Cary Fukunaga, the film-maker behind True Detective: Season 1 and Netflix’s Maniac, has taken over from original director Danny Boyle, with Daniel Craig back for his fifth – and, quite possibly, last – outing as 007.
Delays and changes in personnel behind the scenes on Bond aren't unusual. In fact, many of the films in the series have had to deal with such changes, as well as truncated shooting schedules. In fact, some proposed Bond movies have not even made it to the screen at all. So, to celebrate the impending release, here are six such examples of Bonds we never got to see...
Released in 2002, Die Another Day was a transformative film for the franchise: the 20th in the series, it was seen as a landmark and the film-makers and producers were keen to celebrate in the best way possible.
Pierce Brosnan returned for his fourth 007 movie, whilst Oscar-winner Halle Berry was cast as the newest Bond girl, Jinx. The film became the biggest Bond ever, grossing $432 million worldwide but critically the film suffered, still today considered to be one of the worst in the series.
In the interim between this and 2006’s Casino Royale, the first Bond spin-off was mooted, to be centered on Berry’s character: a more personal film, more character, less explosions. A script was written by regular scribes Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, but when the rights to author Ian Fleming’s novel Casino Royale were sorted, that story to precedence.
History was then made again as Daniel Craig stepped into Bond’s shoes for the first time.
2. Quentin Tarantino's Casino Royale
Before Craig and director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye) set about rebooting Bond, Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino expressed an interest in bringing Casino Royale to the screen.
Reportedly, he talked to producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson about bringing the film to the screen in 2004, around the time of the Jinx spin-off, saying that he "wouldn’t do anything to ruin the series". He expressed an interest in doing a 1960s-set film with Pierce Brosnan and Uma Thurman as Vesper Lynd.
But when it was announced that Brosnan wouldn’t be returning for a fifth outing, the idea died and two years later we got the Craig and Campbell collaboration.
However, Tarantino isn’t done with potentially making a big Hollywood franchise film: his mooted new Star Trek film (pitched as R-rated and Pulp Fiction in space) is still on the table...
3. The Property of a Lady
When Roger Moore decided to retire from Bond after 1985’s A View To A Kill, he was replaced by Timothy Dalton. The latter would go on to star in two films: The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill, with the box-office returns for the latter only amounting to $34 million in the USA, despite a healthy foreign gross.
It seemed that Dalton’s time as Bond, as well as the franchise itself, was beginning to wane but despite this a further film was in pre-production and announced at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. The title was revealed as The Property of a Lady, taking its cue from another Ian Fleming story, and involved Bond trying to stop World War III and an MI-6 traitor named Denholm Crisp.
Alas, it wasn’t to be and when Dalton’s contract expired, Pierce Brosnan took over, much of the story was retooled and the end result was 1995’s Goldeneye.
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4. Warhead 2000
The rights to the James Bond franchise have been caught up in various legal tussles over the years – since the 1950s, in fact, when creator Ian Fleming approached Kevin McClory to produce the very first Bond film based on his book Thunderball.
It didn’t quite pan out that way, with Albert R. 'Cubby' Broccoli and Harry Saltzman instead seizing creative control of the series, but after several years of wrangling, McClory had the necessary rights to make his own Thunderball film in the form of 1983’s Never Say Never Again.
After the film’s decent box office success, McClory set about making another film, Warhead 2000, in his aim of starting a series to rival Broccoli’s. Liam Neeson turned down an opportunity to star, as did Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.
Nevertheless, McClory pressed ahead and announced the film in 1997, around the same time that Brosnan movie Tomorrow Never Dies was due for release. It was eventually scrapped after more legal issues and by 2000, Sony owned all of the rights to the Bond franchise.
5. Diamonds are Forever
Yes, we are fully aware that Diamonds are Forever was released in 1971, but the film was supposed to have a different star: George Lazenby. The Australian actor had taken over from Sean Connery for 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which was a decent success despite having a lower box office return that its predecessor, You Only Live Twice, (around $82 million).
However, before Secret Service was even released, Lazenby announced he would only be playing Bond for one film, despite a lucrative contract offer for seven, and the hunt was on for a new Bond. Burt Reynolds and Adam West were on the shortlist but eventually Sean Connery was lured back in with a £1.25 million payday and the backing of the studio on two other films of his choice.
The gamble paid off, but following Diamonds are Forever, Connery departed the series again to be replaced by new incumbent Roger Moore.
6. Alfred Hitchcock's Thunderball
Well, this would have been something special. Back in the infancy of the series, Bond creator Ian Fleming had his eye on legendary director Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho) to possibly kick-start the franchise with Thunderball.
Fleming is said to have sent Hitchcock a telegram, but despite the author’s insistence, Hitchcock never replied. As the years progressed, the series started in earnest with 1962’s Dr. No with Terence Young directing Sean Connery’s first outing.
The choice to play 007 back when Hitchcock was approached? Jimmy Stewart or Richard Burton, apparently.
No Time to Die is released on 3rd April 2020, so tweet us your favourite Bond movies @Cineworld.
Scott J. Davis is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.