DC didn't want to accept the role, it's widely known. Having accepted it though, he was given a lot more free rein to bring a new dimension to the character, possibly too much initially, but having said that, CR was widely seen as his finest portrayal, even by the DC haters, many of whom are now up in arms over the end of NTTD and saying "I told you so".
In a lot of ways, DC does leave with the character, or more right to say, that version of the character. Can you honestly see the next Bond being grittier, more physical and more real-world based than DCs Bond? There's been a certain amount of flip-flopping of styles over the decades - Connery to Moore (missing out Lazenby as he never really got his style out there) went from tough and physical to light and whimsical, then Dalton went back to a bit more bite and far more angst, before Brosnan took things back to more sophisticated and gentleman spy again.
It's interesting that you mention Connery not ruining the legacy - he came quite close though with the unofficial NSNA!
Single missions have been done to death - although not literally, it took DC to do the death part ;) and I have no desire to see that format return. The books have several times linked to one another, or at least followed on from one another, so I don't see why the films shouldn't either. I'd not want the bandwagon being boarded either by Eon - James Bond cannot and should not be anything other than a white male. Why not create an equally iconic role for the actors of colour, both male and female, rather than suggesting that James Bond is played by such talent?
As to the alternate endings being shot, I don't believe there were any, despite protestations to the contrary: I work in the broadcast industry and it's very rare that such endings are shot - cost alone doesn't allow for it. There's often the cover story of multiple endings put about and I think this is the case here. There could also be the possibility of different endings being made from the edit too, but not totally different setups, involving locations, turns and crew. As much as I'd love Bond to live and get the girl (or girls in this case) again, I respect the decision to seemingly end the character's life in NTTD and don't think it detracts from the last 59 years of cinematic Bond, the literature or future stories.
Fleming's novels are connected but not the way EON did with the five movies of the reboot.
I'm quite aware it's another means to watch movies. It's different times and for those like me who like the vintage way of working within the film industry, it's complicated to find the kind of enjoyment we have been desperately seeking for the last 20 years. Having said that, I hope some of the next Bond films will be independent, just to feel the pleasure of going to the theater and remembering my childhood enjoyment. I know it's not your case but we'll see what Amazon decide. Perhaps they can find a way to make everyone satisfied.
If it's vintage working you're after, the acquisition of MGM by Amazon spells disaster for your future desires. All that Amazon exists for is to make money for its share-holders and despite BBs statement that Bond will be released in theatres still in years to come, the big A will soon turn this around to get people to subscribe so they can watch the big new films.
More money being pumped into a production doesn't automatically lead to higher production values, but more ambitious effects, bigger salaries and so on. Dr No cost $1.1m in 1962, which is around $22m today. DCs salary for NTTD was more than this alone, and that's his basic, without bonuses. If it's vintage craft you're after, then you should be hoping for Eon to cash in their chips and allow a small independent film maker to have a go. When money is tight, that's when you get creative, but you can still put plenty of action on screen too, just hold back on the FX shots and post.
To say that's not what I want is incorrect - I loved TSWLM and went to see it 3 times as a 6 year old in the cinema (at the pictures as we said then). The opening stunt was perfection to me then and probably still ranks in the top 3 pre-title sequences ever, only because of that ski jump. When seen in restored condition, the Connery Bonds are all stunning films, they lack spectacle and the stunts leave a little to be desired (back projection car chases are never good!), but they hold up just as well today. I lost love for the films toward the end of Moore's tenure and couldn't get on with Dalton at all, then things got silly with Brosnan and it was high time for a change.
Rather than calling NTTD out because you don't like the ending, enjoy it for what it is and get ready to soak up Bond 26, in around 4 years time.
What you say is quite relevant and interesting. Actually I was thinking about what Disney did with SW and the fact many fans were extremely disappointed by the sequels. Meanwhile Lucasfilm announced the creation of several TV shows like The Mandalorian that I found quite entertaining when I discovered it, and most of all much more faithful to the universe than the two terrible episodes directed by JJ Abrams (the other one from Johnson was at least interesting and beautifully shot despite several disturbing elements). I must admit Jon Favreau really captured the essence of the original trilogy to put it into a 2019 show, which was not easy at all.
The case of Bond is a little bit similar in some way. We will see during this decade what has been done and what they forecast. I'm not naive, a part of me knows it is very unlikely to have the classic Bond back in the new movies, but I still have hope concerning another kind of product. I am clearly not a fan of TV shows, but if it's the price to pay to get some stories directly based upon the novels by Gardner and Benson for instance, why not after all ?
The Mandalorian was probably the best SW spin off ever - I do wonder though if they're milking it a bit too much with a third series. I've not even bothered watching the last 'official' SW film - was put off by episode 8 and the terrible Han Solo film (do they purposely make films so that they can also release a computer game tie in?).
As much as I don't think you could make a good story within a 45-50 minute tv episode, I do think a Bond tv series could work, a little like The Saint did with Moore or even better, The Prisoner. However, it must have a finite life - I think this is what's best about older series - they knew when to call time (Blakes7 for instance - 4 series, The Prisoner, 17 eps, and even truly classic comedies such as Fawlty Towers, 2 series, Porridge, 3 series etc).
If Eon/MGM/Amazon were to go down this route, then they could make some fantastic shows, as long as they get the right people on board and as you rightly point out, big name directors/producers don't necessarily mean good results.
"If Eon/MGM/Amazon were to go down this route, then they could make some fantastic shows, as long as they get the right people on board and as you rightly point out, big name directors/producers don't necessarily mean good results."
That's my point. I would even say it's the opposite. I prefer good craftsmen like John Glen and Martin Campbell to big name directors like Mendes and Fukunaga. I expect from Broccoli and Wilson (or more likely his son who is said to pick up the torch) to hire brand new screenwriters. Purvis and Wade have done their time. I don't know if Maibaum's heirs exist but I'm pretty sure there are talented people who could imagine modern spy stories featuring Bond and MI6 dealing with original issues in the spirit of Fleming's work, like Michael France did for instance.