Bond Continuity Theory: Octopussy’s backstory is possibly linked to Bond’s first mission and DAF

sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

I admit this theory might be a bit of a stretch to believe and probably lies in the realm of deep fan-fiction but it might explain Octopussy’s connection with Bond and why she has so much admiration for him.

Upon meeting Bond in the film, she asks if he remembers her father Major Dexter Smythe whom Bond encountered in a mission unseen in any movie. This scene here in Octopussy is unusual since Bond and Octopussy go into a bit of detail to explain the events of what happened. There are very few other scenes in the Bond films where Bond explains a previous mission in detail without it being shown on screen.

Just to give some historical context, I am aware that the narrative of Major Dexter Smythe is lifted from the Fleming short story Octopussy and is meant to represent Fleming’s obituary. However it’s unusual to have such a lot of detail from the short story told in the film considering it’s never shown and never mentioned previously or after. Here’s my theory on how it could relate to Bond’s past and how Octopussy’s life is related to DAF:

The mission Bond explains in the film going after Smythe was actually his first field assignment as an agent for MI6 (or at least one of his first). Let me give you some context.

I propose that Bond joined the secret service following the end of World War 2. He did standard intelligence duties and then around 1952 or 53 he goes after Smythe on a field assignment. I am theorising that Bond is armed with a Beretta. This is based on the reference in DN as Bond says he used the gun for 10 years at that point. I guess Bond is armed with it from 1952 onwards but has so far not got any kills (I will theorise about another time how he gets his first kills).

Bond does not kill Smythe. But why must this mission happen in 1953 and why is it possibly Bond’s first assignment? When Octopussy first asks Bond about Smythe he immediately knows who he is. I imagine that this mission has some kind of special relevance to Bond so making it his first assignment would explain how he remembers it so well. If this is too specific to be believable, I will maintain that this mission must have happened before any of the films since it is never mentioned elsewhere so might not necessarily be his first assignment but possible one of his first missions.

Why specifically 1953? Well assuming Octopussy’s birth year is the same as Maud Adams, the actress who plays Octopussy, she was born in 1945. So she would have been 8 at the time of the incident – 8, octo get it? I also surmise that her father may have been abusing her which would explain why she has the name she has. She seems thankful that Bond did not kill her father and gave him the option to take his own life. I guess that she is thankful that her father realised his wrong doings and decided to take his own life for what he had done to the guide and to her.

Following this event she probably traces Bond from her young age and is too young to take any kind of vengeance and instead holds admiration for Bond. It is implied that she does not have any physical contact with any male partners which can be explained if you think her father abused her in the past. It is more ironic when you see how Bond forcibly kisses her because it`s possible that she might have been the victim of something similar but at the same time she wants to be physically involved with Bond.

It is implied on their walk in the garden the next morning that she lived off her father’s gold. (There could be a subtle hint that she traded gold with Goldfinger in the early 60s but that is really pushing it.)

She then says she was offered a commission to smuggle a consignment of diamonds. I theorise that she was part of the diamond smuggling operation in DAF. She would have been 26 in 1971, young and innocent enough to get by as a smuggler. Following Spectre’s demise in 1971, she probably had the opportunity to recruit her lost girls to build up her organisation and fill the hole that Spectre left. Also the logo that she uses looks similar to the octopus used on the Spectre rings from the Connery films so that could also be a subtle clue that she formed her own version of Spectre.


  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,857MI6 Agent

    the first bits pretty good. Especially since Smythe is a WWII vet, Bond's encounter with him would make more sense at the beginning of his career. (I forget whether Bond mentions Oberhauser in this version of the story?)

    the tie-ins with Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever are tempting, but imply a too-small universe where there was only ever one gold smuggler and only ever one diamond smuggler. but certainly does open up an angle for expanded universe fanfiction, exploring Octopussy's early missions.


    sinium sez:

    (I will theorise about another time how he gets his first kills)


    wait, I thought you were going to show us how CraigBond was the same character as Connery-thru-BrosnanBond? in which case, we've already seen his first two kills

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

    The Craig stuff will have to wait for the moment. I have so many notes to go through which I wrote on the first 20 films 😅

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,099MI6 Agent

    Not the elephants on the slot machine then? You're not going there?

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,547MI6 Agent
    edited June 23

    It would have been quite interesting if they'd managed to hook the Dexter stuff into the PTS in some way: oddly I think Roger is the better actor to have done this. I can't imagine Sean's Bond quite fitting in that scene, whereas the Roger we saw at Tracy's grave might have been more fitting to let Smythe go off and tend to his Octopussy- he's more sombre and respectful, and a little bit more real. I wonder how that could possibly have lead to a big action bit for the PTS? Baddies coming for Smythe that Bond fights off?

    But I guess you'd have to remove the Oberhauser stuff: because then you have a film where Bond is thinking the death of his father figure character, and then Octopussy is later thinking of Bond kindly allowing the death of her father whilst he was thinking of the death of his father figure... quite a few generations of dying fathers going on there! 😁

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 2,977MI6 Agent

    I would have loved a low-key PTS [Subtitle: 1958] with Bond offering Dexter Smythe a way out of his situation - not necessarily with Oberhauser involved - just a brutal murder. He could even spy a child Octopussy as he enters the house !

    We could then cut to the scene in Berlin [Subtitle: 25 Years Later] and finish the PTS as the Faberge egg rolls towards the camera.

    Ah, well....

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,547MI6 Agent
    edited June 23

    To be fair, the egg first appears after the titles in the film, so it wouldn't even have to appear there!

    You could even do only a very mild alteration to the PTS we have: say that Bond creeps into a South American enemy secure palace, disguised as Col. Toro, to assassinate a British political prisoner/turncoat they have under luxurious lock and key, complete with large aquarium, because he's been selling UK military secrets of missile tracking systems to the (not)Cubans. But when Bond meets Smythe he sees that Smythe is apologetic and regretful and tells him where the tracking system is, and Bond grants him the mercy to kill himself (perhaps glimpsed by a young girl, as you say). Bond is then caught by the baddies (did Octopussy give him away? Perhaps she feels guilty later on); helped to escape by Bianca; and then uses his Acrostar jet to destroy Smythe's work.

    Oh, and get the guy who played Major Clive in the backgammon game later on to play Smythe: he's perfect!

  • MI6_HeadquartersMI6_Headquarters Posts: 168MI6 Agent

    Well, SPECTRE already did this with Mr. White and there's Madeleine Swann learning about the death of her father.

    That's why I'm not convinced that SPECTRE had referenced OHMSS in that aspect, I think Madeleine Swann was an attempt for a modern Octopussy, a girl with somewhat connections to the crime lord, her father was killed and committed suicide in front of Bond himself.

    And like Octopussy and Bond, Madeleine also built a deep relationship with Bond.

    Both of them are icy when we've met them but as the film progresses, it's melted and both fell in love with Bond.

    Even when we've first met Madeleine in Austria, she's very much like a boss, just like Octopussy.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 5,547MI6 Agent
    edited June 24

    And Spectre of course adapts the whole ‘Bond avenges the death of Oberhauser’ plot from Fleming’s Octopussy too.

    Good point about White echoing Smythe though: don’t think I’d spotted that before.

    I do think you could insert Smythe into the OP PTS though: imagine if the film opened on Smythe, imprisoned in paradise- the locked door to his apartment opens and in steps a couple of army officers, the general turns around and it’s really Bond in disguise- he tells Bianca to check the perimeter and tells Smythe he’s there to kill him…

  • sinlumsinlum Posts: 92MI6 Agent

    Some interesting comments here guys. I always thought that the story of Major Dexter Smythe Bond explains in Octopussy would have made a decent PTS and would have given her character a lot more emotional depth for the audience. I do wonder if that was the original intention since it is an odd scene in the film as so much detail is given about this mission despite the fact it is never shown or mentioned again.

    I thought more about a metaphorical reference that could be made here if we assume Bond is talking about his first mission here with Smythe. I may come across as a hypocrite for saying this since it references Fleming but I mean it as a thematic reference and not as an integral part of the Bond cinematic universe:

    The story Octopussy Fleming wrote is believed to be Fleming's obituary. I just realised the irony that Fleming's final story from the literary world inspired Bond's first mission in the cinematic universe if we assume that the Smythe mission was Bond's first assignment.

    This is pure speculation of course...

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 3,857MI6 Agent

    mi6_Headquarters said:

    I think Madeleine Swann was an attempt for a modern Octopussy, a girl with somewhat connections to the crime lord, her father was killed and committed suicide in front of Bond himself.


    yes I've always thought the same. Watching that disturbing suicide scene in the theatre, my thought was "didnt Fleming write something similar in Octopussy". The difference in Fleming's version is 1) Bond doesnt witness the suicide and 2) he only assumes it was suicide, Smythe's death was more like an unfortunate coincidence

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