Please list some of the indirect references that don't make sense and I will try and do my best to explain them. Perhaps I can start a new thread if it becomes an extensive list 😄
I mean rookie as Craig's Bond being a relatively new 00 agent rather than the more established veteran featured in the other films prior to CR. To be fair though, it is never specified anywhere in the film how long Bond has been with secret service but I don't believe he's fresh-fresh like he's just walked in off the street and I would agree that he must have been with service for some time before he gets his 00 licence.
Following my theory, M's line "I knew it was too early to promote you" could mean "I knew it was too early to give you your 00 licence back again". If Bond is a veteran, he's rejoining the service so it would make more sense for her to say this line and do nothing about it and give Bond the chance to think about his future. If Bond is a "new" 00 agent why doesn't she just simply revoke his licence?
"believe me I wish it wasnt so" - I think she actually says "Trust me, I wish it wasn't the case". I got the impression she was saying this with reference to the dead girl being put into the body bag. She wishes, they weren't in the situation in general.
What ****-ups has Bond made so far before the casino scenes in the film? The whole chase scene with the bomb maker is because of Carter. In fact the way Bond chases the bomb maker is no different really to how he pursues the girl in his boat in the pre-titles of TWINE. Bond walks into the embassy with the expectation that he can take the bomb maker out of the compound and arrest him. The guy in the office sets of the alarm which probably just annoys Bond. Notice though that he kills no-one other than the Bond-maker. I figure he kills him since the guy is a criminal and letting him go would send the wrong message to country harbouring him. Bond is covertly following Dimitros until he gets the upper hand and points his knife at Bond's back. Bond then stops the other bomb maker at the airport. How is Bond doing a bad job in general?
About the QOS thing - Bond doesn't seem to be on any relentless hunt to find the Algerian boyfriend unlike his attitude at the beginning of DAF so I think it's fair to say he already has a degree of self-control.
My theory postulates that in DAD after being picked up from 14 months in the North Korean prison, Bond does not rejoin the secret service officially. He goes to see M in the abandoned underground tunnel where Bond says "an abandoned station, for abandoned agents". He gets all of his equipment there from R off the books. This makes sense since Bond suspects someone is an insider at MI6 and it's possible that M eventually believes him. So having work off the books to track Graves gives him perfect cover even at MI6. Admittedly, M says "I'm sending in 007" in the DMZ briefing room at the end of the film but I always assume that she is simply irritated with the the American agent and just wants action to be taken against Graves. Bond even says about getting to him "You can't, but I can" which implies he's not an official agent for MI6 at the time.
M is angry with Bond since he was captured and did not take his own life. It is implied, once an agent is compromised, he has to take his own life. No one is coming to save you and your existence is wiped from the records. Having Bond return after 14 months of being held in captivity would send out the whole message to the rest of the people in the secret service. M says that he is to be sent to the evaluation centre in the Falklands since he has lost his 00 licence and can't get it back unless he does all the training again. This probably takes about 2 years which which also explains why there is a lengthy gap between DAD and CR.
That's right. Bond meets Felix for the first time in DN, then for the first time in CR. Usually the first thing I think of when people try to tie the Craig era into the 'classic' timeline. Cue theory of how Bond and Leiter just so happen to both get amnesia and not recognise each other.
As much as some of us prefer to think of film Bond as one guy that has been on 25 wild adventures and ignore passage of time and change of face, the concept appears to be closer to how Michael G Wilson views the films - each Bond exists in their own confined universe with a lot of cosmic connection such as some/all of them marrying a woman named Tracy etc.
Beginning with Dalton, each of the new Bonds for their first film received highly detailed personal documents that flesh out their characters, such as licences and passports that show their age. The three passports can be seen online. Dalton's Bond was born in 1948; Brosnan in 1953; Craig in 1968. Some of these documents are seen in the films, and although the birthdates themselves usually aren't, these items should be taken into account when deciding how you perceive the timeline.
It's a lot of work! 😂
The use of "We have all the time in the world" in NTTD is one example. It makes emotionally and thematically sense, but not in terms of continuity.
I will explain the Felix Leiter conundrum another time in another thread.
Are the passports shown in the films? Having Craig's Bond birth year as 1968 contradicts the temporary guardianship papers he looks at in SP. It states there that he was 12 in 1983 (however I myself did try to debunk the authenticity of the papers in another thread).
I think there are two ways to explain how and why Bond does not age throughout the movies:
a) Bond represents a symbolic “Zeitgeist”. He’s a character who simply does not age yet he lives through different decades and the characters around him do age and die. I am not implying that Bond is some kind of comic book hero with superhuman powers but as none of the films actually specify or imply how old he really is, I think we can just assume he is a man who is roughly in his late thirties or in his forties. He simply does not age. It is a miracle exemption in the narrative.
b) Another explanation is that the passage of time between the films happens much faster in the Bond universe than in the universe we are in. It could be that the films take place months apart from one another rather than years. However as some characters age like Madeleine when we see her as a small girl in the pre-titles of NTTD it doesn’t explain how people age so fast. (I therefore just accept that the reasoning for a) is more logical and Bond is a Zeitgesit character and this is a miracle exemption we have to apply to the series as a whole.)
If you accept my theory that CR is a continuation of the Brosnan timeline whose timeline follows all the others, then it's quite easy to see NTTD in the same universe. Bond says the line to Madeleine because he's the same Bond who married Tracy and then she got killed.
My incessant hypothesizing stipulates that Bond and Madeleine had already seen Tracy's grave before they went to Vesper's grave 😅
NTTD has other nods to OHMSS that I will get to at some point. I have a theory that might just tear a hole in the space-time continuum when I reveal it 🤣
how Michael G Wilson views the films - each Bond exists in their own confined universe with a lot of cosmic connection such as some/all of them marrying a woman named Tracy etc.
ooh, I like this, its similar to a theory I wrote out here once that theres actually 25 separate universes, in which each Bond is documented experiencing his best adventure ever. Some are more similar than others, eg Sherriff Pepper exists in two universes so those two might arguably be the same universe.
and the reason I think this is very realistic: each film is a loose adaptation of what Fleming wrote, but increasingly ignores the relatively tight continuity in Flemings books. Behind the scenes the actors change, the writers and directors change, they decide elements of the previous film didnt work, want to try something different, or they simply have forget what happened, so they do something new that contradicts what has gone on before. and of course sixty years go by (with all the changes in fashion, technology and culture) while purporting to represent the career of a character who did all this within twelve years in Flemings timeline.
in the comics, they talk about a "sliding timeline" to explain for example why Peter Parker has been in university since the mid60s. Time moves more slowly in the comics. but the Bond films (at least prior to Craig) have been discrete products, not really bound to continuity like comics are, so its easier actually to assume each film happens in its own universe
do you have a link or more complete quote to where Wilson says this?
actually I'll grant you this. certainly up til the final scenes Bond is a rogue agent, and theres no onscreen dialog where M formally reinstates him. I do think somewhere between the Iceland scenes and the final korean scenes M has been persuaded Frost is the mole and Bond was right all along, so at very least she is now placing her trust in Bond rather than Frost.
I find the Brosnan films in particular are guilty of skipping important exposition in favour of yet more action sequences, so dialog where M formally reinstates Bond may have got lost in the rewrites. But so long as we're only accepting evidence in the final film, BrosnanBond may indeed still be an "abandoned agent" when he finishes his four film tenure (much as you argue with DaltonBond)
but that still doesnt make it any more logical to argue CraigBond was the same character trying to get his old job back!
apologies for getting quotes wrong in Casino Royale, I am paraphrasing from memory. But it is a recurring gag through Craig's first two films that M is pissed at Bond for being too quick to kill and not getting any information before he pulls the trigger. Its in the dialog, I swear! and BrosnanBond never acted anything like that, Craig is a allnew Bond with an all new attitude.
I have heard of theories which only tie certain films or actor's tenures together as a single universe and I am open to any new theories that come up. However I have also seen that the Bond films have always been part of one continuous timeframe regardless of the actor who is playing the role. It is still the same Bond who has lived and breathed each mission and it's a shared universe.
The film series is full of nods and references to previous missions and backstory. I think the producers have always tried to keep things subtle to stop people from making too many direct comparisons. But considering they do it so often cannot go unnoticed.
A classic example of what I mean is in TWINE: Bond in the torture chair says "The world is not enough". Elektra then says "Foolish sentiment". Bond replies with "Family motto".
If you interpret this line in TWINE as a stand alone film or part of Brosnan's era as a separate universe, there is absolutely no sense why he would claim "The World Is Not Enough" is his family motto and indeed why this line should be in the film.
It's the filmmaker's way of giving us Bond fans a subtle nod to remind us this is still the Bond we know from OHMSS. He's still the same Bond from all those previous missions. The Craig era is no different.
You could argue that Dalton's Bond is a stark contrast to Moore's portrayal. When he lands on the boat at the start of TLD and asks the woman for her phone, he barely notices she's wearing a bikini. Moore would easily have made some off hand comment here.
Dalton's reign got tied together with Moore's era in LTK featuring the same Felix Leiter from LALD.
Craig's reign also got tied together mainly with the DB5 in SF.
No, this is quite inaccurate.
The phrase "The world is not enough" (or to be more accurate "Orbis non sufficit", the Latin equivalent) really exists and is associated with the Bond family. A bit of research will prove that, but it isn't necessary.
No, it is not the filmmakers' way of telling us anything other than that James Bond knows this, which isn't surprising whether he went to the College of Arms or not. I know my family's motto and have never been near the College, and I would think many others know their family motto as well.
I love fan theories and I think yours is very creative. For fans who WANT CR to be a continuation of DAD, this works! Ultimately, I think its A-OK for fans to take control of their fandom and fill in the gaps that make them the happiest. After all, that's what being a fan is all about.
I do think however, it's a bridge too far to say they INTENDED CR to be a continuation. That I respectfully disagree with and I can prove the producers did intend this to be Bond's first outing and M was a "new" M.
Here's some proof peppered with opinion:
1) Why is M the same person from the Brosnan films and why does she have the same office?
The filmmakers have commented on this. This is from the director, Martin Campbell's own mouth:
"If you think about it on a timeline it makes no sense because we have a new Bond but we have Judi back. The truth is there is no way we could not cast her in the part -- no matter how screwed up the timeline is. She's just M and there's nobody else."
Please see minute 16 of this video:
First, you have the director of the film saying definitively that Judi's second M doesn't work on the timeline. That is a pretty good indication they knew this was the start of his career and not a continuation...otherwise it wouldn't be an issue with the timeline.
Therefore, the filmmakers cast Dench timeline be damned. I think the easiest solution is to assume that Craig M is a different person all together, who just happens to be played by the same actress.
As some trivia, Craig M is is rumored to be named Olivia Mansfield after a very eagle eyed fan spotted the name on the box given to Bond after her death (see here: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2319598/Mystery-surrounding-James-Bond-mentor-Ms-real-revealed-007-fan-discovers-character-played-Judi-Dench-called-Olivia-Mansfield.html)
For what it's worth, M was named Barbara Mawdsley in the original Goldeneye script.
I don't think the above matters much, but it's some evidence.
The connection between Bond actors must be a loose handwaving of reality. We are expected to assume (at least before Craig) that the current bloke went on all the "other fellas" adventures and vice versa. That Moore Bond fought Dr. No, and Connery's Bond lost his wife Tracy, and Brosnan Bond jumped out of the plane in Moonraker. But because the movies have spanned six decades, you HAVE to make concessions. The geopolitical times have changed to such a dramatic point that a Bond in 1963 just can't be a Bond in 2023. So we can close our eyes and just sort of squint to make him the same man.
When Craig came along, I think they decided it was time to take the most liberty. He admittedly is the hardest Bond to fit in the timeline, though not impossible.
There is a fan theory that Bond is just a code name, and all of these people are different men, but that has thoroughly been rejected by the vast majority of fans.
Therefore, one way to think of it is that each Bond actor has their own universe. That IS James Bond in his universe, just like Michael Keaton is Batman and so is Ben Affleck. You don't have to assume they are all existing either like the Flash movies. When Moore is Bond, Connery just doesn't exist. When Brosnan is Bond, Moore doesn't exist. It's all how you look at it.
AND, here's the best part. You can also just assume its all the same guy and workout the timeline that pleases you most and just squint your eyes when the details don't exactly fit.
SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:
Craig M tells Bond she doesn't yet know if she can "trust" Bond. That is an unlikely statement if they shared the long history of the Brosnan films. That is more of something a superior would tell a brand new agent, like Craig Bond is suggested to be.
2) Why does M send a rookie Bond to kill Dryden, a person in such a prominent position?
Because Bond earned his shot at becoming a 00 and this is the perfect chance for him to prove himself. At the end of the day, Dryden is just another man, and there is no reason why his position matters. If you think about his, his dispatching is a fairly easy assignment.
3) How does Bond know it takes 2 kills to get 00 status if he is a rookie?
Maybe he was told when given the assignments.
4) What does Bond mean when he says “Yes, considerably” in response to what Dryden says to him previously?
Bond is very clearly referencing the fact that Dryden's contact was not easy to kill and took a tremendous effort to subdue and eventually execute him. That is why Dryden say's "made you feel it, did he?" suggesting that the struggle was so great that it took an emotional toll.
Dryden then begins to tell Bond that he needn't worry because the second is...
He was going to say much easier. What he really meant was EMOTIONALLY less tolling, and easier once you get the hang of it. This is a wider symbolic message to Bond that as he continues to become a killing machine, you "feel it" less.
5) If the film is about Bond becoming a 00 agent, why is there no scene detailing the moment he actually gets his 00 status?
There is! It's in the credits. You see on the screen the very moment Villiers (M's assistant in CR) or M herself types "00 Status confirmed." it's at minute 6:29. M later says "I give him 00 status and he shoots up an embassy, is the man deranged."
Sure she doesn't say for the first time but she doesn't say again either.
6) Why does Bond, a rookie agent, seem to be working alongside Carter, another rookie?
Just because he held his ear doesn't necessarily make him a rookie, that is an assumption. He is standing in a crowd of yelling people and the move could have been an instinctual mistake. But even if they are both rookies, we don't know why the two men are chosen. Maybe Carter was the best person to track Mollaka's location (which he does).
7) If this film is meant to be a prequel, why is it specified many times that the year is 2006 and why does M say she misses the Cold War? (This question only applies to people who believe Casino Royale is a prequel to the other films in the series).
Because that is the year.
It's also telling. The fact that the Cold War is over also lent to geopolitical considerations that forced Bond to NEED a reboot. For Bond to really be the same Bond in From Russia with Love for example, he would need to be in his 80s. But he's not, so they give the year to make it clear this is a fresh break.
The line is also meant to be a nod to the Bond's before. It's sort of a tongue in cheek reference. It's almost like M is longing for a time when the other Bond's took place.
8) Why doesn’t M have Bond arrested when he breaks into her house and accesses her computer if he’s just meant to be a rookie?
Because she is intrigued by his abilities. He figured out her name and her address which is impressive. She is more interested in having a very meticulous and effective agent in Bond than just to punish him for breaking in her house. That is part of that look she gives at the end. She figures out he peaked at her computer and she suspects he is on to something. So she keeps him close by monitoring him to see if she is right. She is. He's good.
9) When M is speaking to Bond in her house, why do many of her comments seem to imply Bond has been in the service longer than what is shown on screen? (More details in the long version)
Because Bond has a lengthy career before becoming a 00. He earned it. To commemorate the film's release, the website used to contain Bond's resume which included his bio. But we'll stick to what we see on film. We can assume he served as a Naval intelligence officer, as written by M in Craig's bio. He has a backstory.
10) Why does M go to the Bahamas to visit a rookie agent?
M has been on the field before. She goes there to make sure Bond gets a tracker (she can tell he's a bit independent in spirit, to put it mildly, and to personally deliver the briefing for the next part of his mission.
11) Why does M say to a rookie Bond “Well, I knew you were you”?
Because as I stated above, she was unsure about him. But her gut started telling her she could trust him. That indicates she finally does.
12) Why doesn’t M just send Bond simply as a card player to wipe Le Chiffre out? Why does he need to go as a 00 agent?
Because that what's in the book, Casino Royale. Also, he is a double 0, so why not? You don't stop being a 00, and it's still an official mission.
13) Why would M risk a rookie agent continuing on to beat Le Chiffre after nearly being poisoned and told to get to hospital?
She doesn't. Bond goes back on his own and America gives him the money to play. She has no incentive to stop him either. He's her only chance at getting Le Chiffre alive which is the entire point of playing, rather than shooting him in the head. "Big picture."
14) Why would Bond resign so quickly from a relative short time in the secret service after falling in love with Vesper whom he has known only for a few days?
Bond is still young and jaded. He falls in love with Vesper and sees her as an alternate purpose. Arguably it would be even harder for him to leave the service once he puts down roots.
15) Why does M say to Bond that they need him back after just this one mission?
Because she does. She knows he's a good agent and she needs him.
this is a satisfying explanation for what I've always read as an awkward metafiction-y line. it certainly sounds like she's trying to say he's proven himself to be the same character as in the first 20 films, but doesnt really make sense.
but as you point out, even while she's scolding him in earlier scenes, she's also more subtly doing the "I want to see where he's going with this" thing and observing him without interfering. And in the scene where he's broken into her apartment he's proven he's got serious investigative espionage skills beyond just killing baddies the first chance he gets. If only he could do more of the former and less of the latter, he could be a really valuable agent.
you know I've got issues with the Craig films in general, but I've always felt Casino Royale at least rewards the sort of overanalsysis we're getting into here. Its a film for the dvd era, where its assumed the viewer will go back and rewatch it almost immediately once he knows the twist ending, to see if it really makes sense. And its a film of the online forum era, as it assumes the viewer will go online and argue this stuff before going back for a rewatch. Thats exactly what we all did here in 2006 (all documented in some very old threads), but at the time I was mostly looking to see if Vesper's behaviour made sense once we knew the ending. Here we're also discussing whether M's behaviour makes sense despite appearing contradictory or irrational at first glance
I think it’s quite dismissive to say what I originally wrote is "quite inaccurate“. I have only been speculating and not trying to impose anything as factual.
I am well aware of the origins of the phrase in the Bond history both inside and outside the films (I have all the Fleming books minus Casino Royale after lending it to a college friend whom I never saw again).
In the film OHMSS, Bond is told his family motto and shown his family coat of arms. It is implied Bond knows about these things already.
When the film makers came to make the 19th Bond film, they obviously decided to take this phrase because it was connected to Fleming and sounded pretty “Bondian”. (Licence To Kill is another film that shares this connection, as does Goldeneye).
In the film TWINE, Bond mentions to Elekra that it is his family phrase. My point is why do they need to include this in the film if there is not meant to be any continuity? The phrase “The world is not enough” could have meant something different and seems more like a throw away line than anything else. There is no other mention of this phrase referring to Bond’s family history at any other point in the film. My point is why did they bother to put this line in the film?
The way I see it is that it is an Easter Egg that can be interpreted as a nod to the film OHMSS. Again, you can also argue – no, this is not the case, they are referring to its roots from the novel, but as I have said before most audience members are only familiar with what happens in the films and from the start with DN the film makers were trying to establish a different “universe” to the one depicted in the Fleming books. (Octopussy is an example of one concept from one of Fleming’s short stories that was totally changed – if I am correct there is no mention that Smythe has a daughter in the short story, right?)
If the producers were keen on establishing each Bond actor’s films as separate universes, why do they always seem to have references that go back and make subtle nods to Bond’s history already mentioned in previous films? Admittedly I will accept that they do it just for a bit of fun and sometimes only put things in the films that only die-hard Bond fans would pick up on hence why we are posting in this thread at the moment 😆
sirlum, you wrote "there is absolutely no sense why he should claim "The World Is Not Enough" is his family motto". That is the inaccuracy. It IS a family motto, whether you choose to regard that fact as dismissive or not and however you choose to view TWINE.
You are right - I should have written "In my opinion, there is absolutely no sense why he should claim "The World Is Not Enough" is his family motto.
Thegreatgalling said it best: Viewers are free to think Craig and Brosnan are in the same continuity, but saying the producers intended it to be the same continuity simply can't be supported.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the questions I raised from the film. I will have to go through them in stages since I realise trying to comment on everything at once is quite overwhelming.
The points you raised about the 2 M’s was also mentioned earlier in this thread.
I raised already the issue of Bond not aging – I interpret his character as a Zeitgeist – he simply does not age despite the fact that he lives through eras spanning now over 60 years.
The universe specific to each actor is an interesting theory but I already commented on this. There are callbacks to each of the previous eras which keep coming up in all of the actors’ tenures. Craig’s Bond seemingly using the same DB5 in SF is a point in question. I would argue why do the producers keep using these callbacks if they are trying to establish each Bond actor in a different universe? Of course I am only speculating here and not trying to establish my arguments as definitive facts.
Just concerning Judi Dench’s return as M in CR:
The producers obviously knew that bringing her back would raise some questions about where CR fits in with the rest of the chronology which is what Martin Campbell mentions. However do any of the film makers actually say anywhere that they were deliberately establishing Craig as a rebooted Bond in a resetted timeline? If anyone can share this fact, please do. From what I can gather, they go on saying that this is an origin story of Bond getting his 00 licence for the first time. They do not seem to imply that they are rebooting the timeline Bond with Craig. So you can assume that they meant the film to be a prequel to the previous films.
When I first saw CR for the first time, I also interpreted the film at the beginning as Bond’s first mission before DN (even though I didn’t like the fact they referenced 06 on the bombmaker’s phone). What made me start questioning the logic of the chronology was having Judy Dench return as M? I was thinking so was she the M before Bernard Lee and then came back in GE?
But then this also didn’t work with my logic, as it is seemingly implied in GE that Judi Dench’s M is relatively new in the position: Bond says her predecessor kept cognac and Valentin Sukovsky says he hears that the new M is a lady.
M then says in CR that she misses the cold war so I thought then this definitely wasn’t a prequel film. Most other fans seem to have ruled out that CR is a prequel film which actually goes against what the producers say in this documentary. I think most fans interpreted the film as being a reboot with Daniel Craig’s tenure definitely set in a different universe. Again if anyone can share any evidence that the producers actually mention CR as a reboot, then I would interested in having a look.
This earlier thread may be of interest -https://www.ajb007.co.uk/discussion/46849/does-anyone-like-to-pretend-that-the-craig-films-are-not-a-reboot#Comment_785484
Thanks. I knew this topic had been brought up before.
Thank you for your thoughts as well!
I am curious how you reconcile the fact that Blofeld has a completely different name and backstory in Spectre than could be possible in OHMSS and YOLT.
I think he is the best evidence the Craig timeline is intended to be a distinct universe and independent of all the other films.
The references you mentioned are just gifts to fans, nods of the movie history, without intending to tie Craig to a continuity that is not possible.
@caractacus potts said: do you have a link or more complete quote to where Wilson says this?
I worded that in my own way based on what I'd read on the Bond forums over the years, but after a long search for a more accurate source, I found MGW's own comments worded differently, if the same in concept.
At a New York fan convention in 1995, MGW stated that the Bond films weren't one big film series but rather a 'series of series'.
Whether that means each actor's tenure is set in another universe or some alternate Earth history etc. I guess is up to the viewer and what works for them. I imagine Cubby and Harry discussed it at some point. MGW's description, plus more continuity talk in the link below:
I find it more fun to imagine it's one guy experiencing 20+ or 25+ adventures, adding to the escapism element, but must admit I do like the idea that each tenure is an individual series with certain links to the others. If we were to take on MGW's view, then the Craig era wouldn't seem as standalone as it does - just that one of the six 'series' got a definitive beginning and ending.
@sinlum said: Are the passports shown in the films? Having Craig's Bond birth year as 1968 contradicts the temporary guardianship papers he looks at in SP. It states there that he was 12 in 1983 (however I myself did try to debunk the authenticity of the papers in another thread).
Bond's own passports often appear throughout the films, but the inner pages aren't shown. We can see them online via exhibit photos.
Bond's birth date does change a bit within both Brosnan and Craig eras and even in documents made for the same film.
Take the Bond of GoldenEye, who, as seen in his passport, was born in 1953, making him 42 there and the same age as Brosnan at the time. Bond's car licence shows him being born in 1964, which would make him 31 in GE! TND's Bond is also born in 1953. Come Die Another Day, Bond's medical documents show him as being born in both 1960 and 1961. This insinuates the Bond of DAD could be either the same age or a year younger than he was in GE, even after being locked up in a North Korean prison for 14 months. Who knew scorpion venom was a youth elixir?
Casino Royale's Bond was born in 1968 - again, the same age as the debuting actor, at 38. Skyfall obit shows Bond as being born in 1968 - consistent with CR, but born in 1972 on his passport, making him 40, despite six years having passed between those films. SP guardianship paper, as you mentioned, shows Bond as born in 1971, or 44 years old.
In conclusion, lots of age inconsistencies emerge throughout these last two eras via documentation, but if one detail lines up for both it's the DOBs of the respective actors in their first film.
This does not preclude the theory that each Bond is their own distinct universe. The character's backstory is largely kept the same with minor updates to take into account geopolitical changes of the times. That's his family motto in (at least) all the universes that mention it.
It's the same as Batman. He's an orphan in all of them. His parents die. In each film, they treat this slightly differently. In Batman 89, Jack Napier kills his parents and becomes the Joker. In Nolan's Batman, Joe Chill kills his parents and an unnamed man is Joker. In the JOKER universe, Joker's name is Arthur Fleck. The Batman series is treated the same. These films are their own universes and cannot operate on a plane of continuity.
What I think the most likely answer is the filmmakers don't care about continuity.
That is the answer. They write each movie with the intention on creating the best story. They hand waive and squint the details and every Bond movie you sit for. They take whatever references they need for the story to be good, violate rules and don't care about a neat timeline. So even more accurate than "every Bond is his own universe," the answer closer to the truth is every movie is a distinct entity and while they may draw on previous events when needed, you must leave your desire for rational continuity at the door.
For the sake of being thorough tho, here is what I think is the closest truth to a "multiple universe" Bond theory looks like:
Connery Bond was Universe 1.
Lazenby Bond was contemporaneous with Connery, and I think if they wanted to, they could have intended Lazenby Bond to BE Connery Bond.
But one small problem. The ENTIRE plot couldn't happen if Lazenby was Connery Bond because Connery Bond already met Blofeld, and Lazenby re-meets him. Since you can't re-meet someone realistically, he can't be the same person.
Lazenby was Universe 2.
Then came Diamonds are Forever, Connery's Swan Song. Note, there are some loose references to Bond wishing to seek revenge for Theresa, but they are light handed. (He hunts Blofeld in the beginning). He isn't sad, he doesn't grieve Theresa and they never mention her.
Just because he kills Blofeld doesn't mean he's avenging his dead wife. I think the producers put that there to give SOME sort of closure to the OHMSS story, but they did not commit a full tie.
Also his line "This never happened to the other fellow" was a very bold joke and an attempt to break the fourth wall. I wouldn't take it too seriously.
Connery DAF Bond is (likely) Universe 1.
While Moore was also a Connery contemporary, he is very different in style and temperament. There's some interesting nuance here. I can't really validly argue that Moore Bond is definitely not Lazenby Bond, primarily because he grieves for Theresa. Since it's possible he could be Lazenby Bond, I think:
Moore is either Universe 2 or Universe 3.
Moore also can't be Connery Bond because Moore kills Blofeld (drops him down a ventilation pipe - after Connery already kills him in DAF). Since Blofeld can't die twice, they can't be the same man.
I will contend that technically speaking, Moore and Lazenby's stories do correspond. Moore grieves Theresa on screen and does not outright contradict OHMSS. If Moore is his own universe, than the filmmakers chose this Bond to also lose a wife named Theresa, maybe or maybe not under the same or similar circumstances.
Dalton is Universe 4
I have seen some fan continuities that place Dalton in Universe 1 or Universe 2 since Dalton's run does not contradict any of the previous films. But Dalton is the FIRST Bond who is not a contemporary of Connery. He is so much younger and in such a different era, that it is now functionally impossible for Dalton to be Connery Bond. Therefore he is in his own universe.
Brosnan is Universe 4 or 5
You could maybe argue Brosnan Bond is also Dalton Bond. The only evidence against that is that the two men are 7 years apart. Geopolitically speaking, the war with Russia in Afghanistan ended in 1989. That would have made Brosnan Bond 24 years old to Dalton's 31 years old at the time of the events of TLD. Since Brosnan almost got the part over Dalton, it does make Brosnan a contemporary, though 24 is a little young for Bond's bio to make sense.
Again, there are inside. joke/Easter eggs that reference other Bond film. 1) It's implied Bond had a wife, again doesn't mean he can't be another person with the same circumstances, and 2) Brosnan references Connery era gadgets. I genuinely believe their attempts at reference are intended to be very loosely construed and more about evoking nostalgia.
Finally, it brings us to Craig, Universe 6.
Craig, in my opinion was a full hard reset. While you might have been able to squint and assume Roger Moore Bond had gone on all of the same missions Connery Bond went on, it becomes next to impossible to shoe horn the past in Craig's films.
Unlike previous films where I believe you are expected to assume Bond's career has a similar progression across all universes, There is a slew of evidence that the filmmakers wanted you to throw out EVERYTHING before Craig Bond. Sure they reference the DB5 for nostalgia and fan service, But that does not mean Craig Bond drove the car after meeting Goldfinger. It simply didn't happen in this timeline.
Evidence 1: There is no time for Theresa. Theresa would have had to be shoe horned in between his meeting of Vesper and Madeline and its just too big of a traumatic event for him not to mention. Also
Evidence 2: Blofeld is a completely reinvented person with a new name. Bond ALSO meets him for the first time in this film, and for the third time throughout the films.
Where does that leave us? Just enjoy the films.
The filmmakers didn't care about continuity because you CAN'T care about continuity. They are different actors from different time periods. They knew fans would connect the films but didn't care to rationalize that.
I think for people who WANT to tie them all together, it becomes a fun exercise. There are plenty of fans who have created their own continuity film order and just ignore the very big continuity errors.
How is it the same M if she doesn’t have a Moneypenny?
Moneypenny INTRODUCES herself to Bond after Craig Dench M is dead.
Brosnan Dench and Craig Dench can’t be the same M.
@thegreatgalling thanks for that post, it explains many of my opinions better than I managed here
Universe and continuity theories are great, but, frankly, I just don't believe the writers ever considered it to be important until QOS, which is the first direct sequel the Bond franchise ever made.
I think they started considering continuity theories with CR, because that was the first re-boot.
I will answer your other questions at some point soon. Just to answer this one. I theorise the following according to the idea of seeing CR as a sequel to DAD:
After Bond's capture in North Korea in DAD, the other MI6 regulars possibly decide to move on in life. He was presumed dead so it probably rocked the department to think they would have to continue without him. Some probably resigned and found work elsewhere including Moneypenny. M hired Villiers since he was probably cheap and having a man as her assistant probably satisfied her matriarchal self.
I would argue that FRWL is also a sequel to DN.
I am beginning to believe that none of the filmmakers ever said that CR was a reboot. They say that it was an "origin" story with a "young" Bond getting his 00 licence "for the first time". Campbell in the documentary talks about how bringing JudI Dench back messes up the timeline so he implies that CR is not a reboot and is a prequel to the previous films. He could easily say Dench's return is not important since they were establishing a different timeline, but he doesn't.
However, M clearly says in her first scene in CR "Christ I miss the cold war" which single-handedly dismisses the idea that CR is a prequel to the previous films.
Unless someone can share some evidence where one of the filmmakers actually says "reboot", I do wonder if the whole reboot idea was actually started by the fans.
Using the words "origin" and "Bond's first mission" is practicly the same as saying it's a reboot. I remember Purvis and Wade later said "reboot" at the time was a term used for computers, not movies.
I don't remember Judi Dench's birth year or swing her M's birth year anywhere, but I think we can assume she remembers the cold war. She could even have worked in the MI6 during the cold war. If not it's pretty likely she worked in something like the Foreign Office or War Department, making her a "player" in the cold war.