Licence to Kill: Timothy Dalton stars in 1989 trailer
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Of the six actors who have officially played James Bond, Timothy Dalton has to be the most underrated. The Welsh star offered a grittier 007 long before Daniel Craig, having taken over from the camper outings of Roger Moore. Dalton had almost replaced Sean Connery some 20 years earlier but had his shot with 1987’s The Living Daylights after Pierce Brosnan wasn’t able to escape his Remington Steele TV show contract.
But after Dalton’s second adventure in 1989’s Licence to Kill, the Bond film franchise went on its longest hiatus of six years.
The Cold War had come to an end and the question of 007’s relevance came up before Brosnan finally had his turn at the part, debuting to great success in 1995’s GoldenEye.
What’s particularly fascinating though, is that his predecessor had been contracted for three Bond movies, with the third set to be released in 1991.
However, it was a legal dispute between EON productions and film studio MGM that stalled the blockbuster from getting off the ground.
Once this was resolved by 1993, Cubby Broccoli asked Dalton to return in the planned GoldenEye.
The Bond actor was up for another outing, but only wanted to do one. However, the producer said he couldn’t come back after a five-year gap and only star in a single 007 movie – he wanted four or five out of him.
Dalton respectfully declined as he didn’t want to play Bond for the rest of his life, so Brosnan finally bagged the role.
As for the original plans for Dalton’s third and fourth 007 movies, they have been revealed in Bond expert Mark Edlitz’s book, The Lost Adventures of James Bond.
James Bond: Dalton stars in The Living Daylights 1987 trailer
Edlitz told Express.co.uk how Dalton had captured the spirit of Fleming’s Bond in a unique way after the Moore years.
He said: “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 Lost Adventures of James Bond also looks at a completely different story that might have worked for Dalton’s first 007 outing instead of The Living Daylights.
He said: “In it, Dalton’s Bond would have been paired with a senior agent who was going to show Bond the ropes.
“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.”
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