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What If Pierce Brosnan Had Been James Bond In Casino Royale?

Pierce Brosnan was famously fired by Eon after Die Another Day, but had Daniel Craig not replaced him in Casino Royale, things would have gone a lot differently. Brosnan served as Agent 007, James Bond for a total of four movies: Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day. However, had Die Another Day been better received, the actor may well have stayed on for a fifth Bond movie, completely changing the course of the series forever.

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Brosnan started his Bond career in Martin Campbell’s Goldeneye, a fresh take on the series often hailed as a classic Bond adventure. However, Brosnan’s final Bond film, Die Another Day, was ridiculed by critics for its silly plot, with frequent comparisons to the Austin Powers series. This saw producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson fire Brosnan while he was filming another project in the Bahamas (via Digital Spy) to take the franchise in a new direction with the first blonde James Bond, Daniel Craig. The series then soft rebooted Bond for the first time, following Craig’s James gaining his 007 rank and license to kill in an adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale.


Related: Tomorrow Never Dies Deserves 1 James Bond First GoldenEye Wrongly Claimed

Had Pierce Brosnan been allowed to stay on as James Bond, Casino Royale could have been either completely different or even a totally different project. Brosnan had no indication of leaving the franchise and Die Another Day certainly did not seem like a final film for the actor. As such, Casino Royale would likely have followed a similar format to Brosnan’s other Bond movies, with a slightly more light-hearted tone. After this, Brosnan may have gone on to top even Sean Connery and Roger Moore in terms of number of Bond movies, as the actor showed no signs of slowing down at the age of 49.


Casino Royale Would Probably Not Have Been A Reboot With Pierce Brosnan

Casino Royale was only a soft reboot, as it included elements from the previous Bond movies, most notably Judi Dench as MI6 boss, M. However, no other supporting characters returned to accompany Daniel Craig’s first mission as Bond in either this movie or Quantum of Solace. Sam Mendes eventually brought back icons like Miss Moneypenny and Q, recasting them with Naomie Harris and Ben Whishaw respectively in Skyfall. However, this would likely have been completely different if Brosnan had stayed on as James Bond, as it would not have made sense for him to interact with new versions of the characters. As such, even if Bond 21 was still Casino Royale, it almost certainly would have featured Samantha Bond’s Moneypenny and John Cleese’s Q, returning from Brosnan’s prior movies alongside M and Bond himself.


The plot point of Craig’s Bond being an inexperienced, brand-new 00 agent would have been dropped, as it would make no sense with Brosnan at the helm once more. Not only had Brosnan starred in four Bond movies, Goldeneye had even shown him as a more junior agent in a flashback, when he was on a mission with 006, Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean). The new 00 agent plot point was clearly Eon trying to wipe the slate somewhat clean and letting Daniel Craig portray a more reckless, young Bond which simply would not have worked with Pierce Brosnan as 007.

Pierce Brosnan’s Fifth Bond Movie May Not Have Even Been A Casino Royale Remake

Casino Royale was adapted back in 1967 to the screen, but not by Eon. As such, the film is kind of a remake, but is a more straight adaptation of Fleming’s first novel. While it was still possible that Brosnan’s fifth Bond movie could have been Casino Royale, it seems unlikely as Eon seemingly used Fleming’s first novel as a basis to reinforce that this was a fresh start for the character, taking things right back to James Bond’s first adventure. While Casino Royale would have worked just fine with Brosnan in the main role and without the young agent plot point, it seems unlikely that the filmmakers would have gone for such a basic spy story after the ludicrousness of Die Another Day.


Related: The Role Sean Connery’s Bond Would Have Played In Die Another Day

As such, viewers of Bond 21 could have likely expected something more similar to Tomorrow Never Dies or Goldeneye: Bond movies that take elements from Fleming’s source material without directly adapting the stories. While it is unknown what, if anything, was planned for Pierce Brosnan’s fifth Bond movie before Wilson and Broccoli decided to reboot the series with Craig, his next film would probably have been tonally consistent with the last four as well as featuring the full cast, including Moneypenny, Q, and M. It was very unusual to see a Bond movie without all three supporting characters, so it seems likely they would have returned whether the movie was Casino Royale or something completely new such as Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and SPECTRE.

Martin Campbell Would Have Nevertheless Created A James Bond Masterpiece

If Goldeneye and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell remained on board with Brosnan and 007 in Bond 21, there is no question that the film would have still been a critically acclaimed masterpiece, just as both of his Bond movies are. Campbell is famous for having a perfect track record in terms of Bond movies, as Casino Royale currently has 94% on Rotten Tomatoes while Goldeneye maintains a very respectable 80%. Both movies are often considered some of the best in the Bond series, and it is easy to see why. Whether it was Casino Royale or another Bond movie, Bond 21 would still have been a masterpiece, provided Campbell was still on board.


If Bond 21 was Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond film, it would also have allowed him to leave the series on a high note. Not only would the actor perhaps be able to decide to leave rather than being fired, his final Bond movie would be much better renowned than Die Another Day. Thanks to its ludicrous plot involving a race-changing machine, invisible car, and giant space laser, Die Another Day is regularly counted as one of the worst Bond movies, maintaining a weak 56% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Reuniting Campbell and Brosnan would have also been poetic, as the two started their Bond careers together with Goldeneye. Sadly, Brosnan was destined to conclude his Bond career with Die Another Day, but had he stuck around for Casino Royale, it could have been a completely different movie while still being a solid entry in the James Bond franchise.

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