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The Reason Each James Bond Actor Quit the Franchise

Since James Bond’s debut on the big screen with 1962’s Dr. No, the character has been played by a variety of different actors. While original actor Sean Connery arguably remains the most iconic, each subsequent Bond actor has had his share of fans. However, each actor has also had his reasons for leaving the franchise, or for being booted from it. Join Facts Verse as we explore the reason each James Bond actor quit the franchise.


The character of James Bond first debuted on the big screen with 1962’s Dr. No. The film took it’s inspiration from the Ian Fleming novel of the same name, which featured the character of the extraordinary English spy James Bond, brandishing unlimited sex appeal and a license to kill. That first film was produced on a budget of barely over $1 million, and it went on to make nearly $60 million at the box office. Not only did the film make the character of James Bond a household name, but it also popularized Sean Connery like never before. The actor had been relatively unknown up until the point of being offered the role of James Bond, which is part of why the film’s small budget allowed for him.

Sean Connery starred in seven films as James Bond before officially retiring from the role, and still stands to this day as the first person most people think of when they think of the character. Despite the fact that subsequent Bond actors have all brought something unique to the table for fans to appreciate, few have epitomized Ian Fleming’s literary creation quite as well as Sean did. However, the time comes for everyone to pass on the torch at some point, and that time came for Sean after a long period of gradual disenchantment with his role in the franchise.

Given that Dr. No had made him a star, Sean Connery was quite happy with his gig as James Bond for the first several years. However, problems started visibly surfacing in the actor’s demeanor during the period in which the fourth feature in the franchise was being filmed. That fourth outing was 1965’s Thunderball, which was the most exuberant and expensive of the James Bond films up until that point. During publicity for the film, Sean could be heard saying some things that hinted at him not being too keen on playing the character of James Bond for very much longer. However, there were two more films remaining in the actor’s contract.

After Sean’s attitude towards playing the James Bond character began to sour during the filming of Thunderball, the relationship between the actor and the producers of the franchise began to sour along with it. By the time the fifth James Bond feature was filming, producer Albert R. Broccoli had just about had it with Sean. The fifth James Bond feature was You Only Live Twice, and Sean’s feelings towards the James Bond character only got more complicated when it came time for the actor to promote the film in Japan. The character of James Bond had become incredibly popular in the country, and Sean was perhaps a bigger celebrity over there than he was anywhere else.

While promoting You Only Live Twice in Japan, Sean was stalked by an obsessive fan that followed the actor into a public bathroom and pleaded with him for pictures. As well, fans of all sorts mobbed Sean, and the whole thing was a very negative experience for the actor in regards to his attitude towards the franchise. It was this trip that resulted in Sean demanding Albert give him an exuberant pay increase, something that he wasn’t too keen on doing.

When Sean was denied his pay increase, his time playing the James Bond character was seemingly over. However, he would subsequently play the character on the screen two more times, in both an official capacity and an unofficial film featuring the character and made by other producers. The first person brought on to replace Sean was George Lazenby. He debuted as James Bond in 1969, with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The film has since gone down as one of the most popular of the Bond films, which has allowed George to stand alongside the other Bond actors in the eyes of fans despite his turn in the film being both his first and last. George was unhappy during the production of the film, and he didn’t get along with the rest of the cast and crew.

Despite the fact that George didn’t seem like an ideal fit to practically anybody involved in the production of the franchise, he was apparently offered a seven-film contract comparable to what Sean had signed. However, he turned the offer down. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! While you’re at it, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

When it was clear that George Lazenby wasn’t going to be returning for a second turn as James Bond, Albert and Harry offered Sean the chance to come back to reprise his role as the character. He did so in 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, but that film proved to be Sean’s last official Bond outing. Still, he would come back to play the character of James Bond in an unofficial capacity with 1983’s Never Say Never Again. Though a different studio and other producers made the film, it has achieved cult status due to it being an outlier in the franchise, as well as for the fact that it ended up containing Sean’s last performance as the iconic spy.

In 1973, Roger Moore took over the role of James Bond and ended up occupying the role of the character until 1985. While audiences had gotten used to Sean Connery as the character, they were quick to accept Roger. Roger had a charm all his own, and there are many that even consider him to be the best Bond in the franchise. Roger loved playing the character of James Bond, but ended up calling it quits when he felt that he was getting too old in the face. His body could still perform the actions, but he felt somewhat ridiculous romancing young vixens on screens when he started looking wrinkled and gray during his late 50s.

Roger gave up the role of James Bond amicably and was replaced by Timothy Dalton. Timothy performed in the role until License to Kill, which was the sixteenth official James Bond film. The actor was meant to come back for one more film, but things fell through with the producers and the seventeenth James Bond film was put on hold for several years. Production on the film was originally meant to start in 1990, but didn’t end up starting until much later in the decade. By the time that the seventeenth official film in the franchise was becoming a reality, Timothy’s contract had expired. The actor was no longer introduced in playing the character, and the studio needed someone to fill the role.

Pierce Brosnan was brought on to revitalize the franchise with GoldenEye, and the film proved to be a massive success. After the massive gap between GoldenEye’s release and Timothy Dalton’s last outing, the public was ready for more James Bond. The film offered more intense action and better special effects than the franchise had seen up until that point, though many now look back upon the Pierce Brosnan Bond films as being the corniest of the lot. Pierce ended up going out with a bang, as his last performance as James Bond was in the character’s highest grossing film up until that point: 2003’s Die Another Day.

Like Sean Connery before him, Pierce was becoming disenchanted with the character of James Bond and only felt that continuing to act in the franchise would be worthwhile if he could get a significant pay increase. Once again, Albert turned the actor down, deciding that it was time to reinvent the franchise with a new look. Not only did the producers want to give the series a stylistic makeover in terms of the way the action and story were presented, but they also wanted to cast an actor that had little physical resemblance to any previous actor that had been cast as James Bond.

The producers ended up going with Daniel Craig, a blonde actor that had previously gained notoriety thanks to his starring turn in the action thriller Layer Cake. Daniel debuted as the character of James Bond in Casino Royale, and has starred in five films as the character. Daniel’s most recent turn as James Bond was in the just-released No Time to Die, and the film is fully intended to be the last in the franchise to feature the actor. Due to it being his last film as James Bond, Daniel was sure to have extra input into the film’s production, guaranteeing that he had a proper sendoff as the character. The film has been received positively, and fans are anxious to see who is going to play James Bond next!

No Time to Die featured a new face in the role of 007, but only because the codename had been given to another agent. The actor that is truly going to replace Daniel Craig has yet to be announced. Many have speculated about whom might be a good candidate to replace Daniel, with Idris Elba being one of the most common names thrown around when the matter is addressed. Idris has claimed that he has no interest in playing the character, which means that him taking on the role is unlikely. Another actor that is often mentioned as a likely replacement for Daniel is Tom Hardy, who previously replaced Mel Gibson in the role of Mad Max for the film Mad Max: Fury Road.


So many actors have played the character of James Bond that it’s hard to choose which one is the best! Comment down below to share if you agree with the common consensus that Sean Connery is the most iconic James Bond, or if you feel that another actor deserves the title for the most iconic Bond so far in film history. As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!

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