MI6 looks back to 1994 and the day that Timothy
Dalton announced his retirement from the James Bond
Time Tunnel: Bailing On Bond
13th February 2010
The year was 1994 and the
world was awaiting the 17th installment in the James Bond
series. Every Bond fan had endured a long wait since the
last outing, "Licence
to Kill", in 1989.
Rumour and speculation were at an all
time high, but instead of a script ready to shoot - the
public alike were shaken and stirred by the latest news.
On Tuesday the 12th of April, Timothy
Dalton revealed to Variety, the movie trade
newspaper, that he would be standing down from the role
of James Bond.
Dalton, who had held the mantel of
007 for eight years but only starred in two films ("The
Living Daylights" and "Licence To Kill"),
told the press:
"Even though the [producers] have
always made it clear to me that they want me to resume my
role in their next James Bond feature, I have now made this
Left: Dalton as Bond gets caught in the action on his way to his friend, Felix Leiter's wedding in the pre-titles sequence of "Licence To Kill".
Dalton, who at the time
of announcing his decision was on the set of the CBS mini series "Scarlett",
expressed that there were no hard feelings between himself
and the Bond producers, the Broccoli family.
"The Broccoli's have
been good to me as producers. They have been more special
Meanwhile, the wheels of the Bond production
were running at full speed - but their activities
were, as often the case, operating away from the public
However, in his final speech as 007, Dalton
mentioned that a screenwriter was in place but no supporting
cast had been decided on. Indeed at the time of speaking,
Michael France was working on the script for a still unnamed
"Bond 17" with Dalton in mind.
Right: Dalton and
co-star Joanne Whalley-Kilmer on the set of "Scarlett".
The EON executives, thrust in to action on the
news that Dalton would be hanging up his tuxedo prior to "Bond 17", also spoke out on this
Events at a Glance
- 1989 - Worldwide release of "Licence To Kill"
- 1990 - United Artists is sold, new owners not
interested in Bond
- 1992 - MGM/UA keen to reboot Bond, but with a
new leading man
- 1993 - Dalton's 3 picture contract with EON expires
- 1994 - "Bond 17", still not in production, Dalton
- 1995 - Brosnan, an early Bond contender, beats
10 others to the role of 007
"We have never thought of anyone
but Timothy as the star of the 17th James Bond film," EON representatives said. "We
understand his reasons and we will honor his decision."
Yet all this while the team at EON remained
positive, assuring the world that Dalton's resignation
was not detrimental to their morale and the production was still on schedule
for a 1995 release.
Before the day was out rumours of the next
007 actor were spreading fast. The two top candidates on
this day were two Irish actors, Liam Neeson
(age 42) and Pierce Brosnan (age 41), yet at that time, EON denied
any links to these possibilities.
All in all, the predictions and rumours proved
remarkably accurate. The 17th James Bond film, "GoldenEye",
made a worldwide debut on the 24th of November, 1995 - as
predicted by EON productions' press release and Pierce
Brosnan, as rumoured by numerous media organisations, was
announced as the 5th James Bond that same year.
Above: Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan, top media candidates for the role of 007.
Bond 17 - History
- The Road To Production
Timothy Dalton - Bond Era