With the towering success of Skyfall, it’s fair to say that EON Productions have set themselves a tough act to follow. Making $1.18 billion worldwide, Skyfall wasn’t only the biggest Bond film to date, but also ranks among the biggest films of all time. It was about the best 50th birthday present the franchise could have hoped for.
If what we’ve heard is true, however, Skyfall could have been rather different.
You’ll probably remember Skyfall‘s final act: Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Judi Dench) speed off in an old Aston DB5 and head to Skyfall Lodge, Bond’s ancestral home. There, Bond stands reflectively over the graves of his parents, and meets Kincade (Albert Finney), the lodge’s groundskeeper and Bond’s childhood mentor. Together, the three of them engage in a Straw Dogs-like final confrontation with villain Silva (Javier Bardem) and his army of henchmen.
You may also recall that director Sam Mendes revealed that Bond veteran Sean Connery was once considered for the role of Kincade, but the thought was quickly dropped; Mendes and his team concluded, perhaps rightly, that Connery’s presence may have pulled audiences out of the film.
“To me it becomes too… it would take you out of the movie. Connery is Bond and he’s not going to come back as another character,” Mendes told The Huffington Post. “It was a very brief flirtation with that thought, but it was never going to happen, because I thought it would distract.”
But a source close to the production suggests that Connery’s involvement in Skyfall was far more than merely an early abandoned idea. In fact, we’re told that not only did Connery rehearse for the part, but also that Kincade and the Skyfall Lodge’s part in the film would have once been rather different.
The story goes that, as initially written, Skyfall Lodge was intended as an isolated refuge for retired agents — and that Connery would have been one of them. The conclusion of Skyfall would therefore have seen Craig’s Bond defend Skyfall Lodge from Silva’s goons; we understand that Connery wouldn’t have been specifically referred to as a 00 Agent — “it was left reasonably vague,” we’re told — but the implication would have been there.
According to our source, who was on the production at the time, rehearsal footage was shot with Connery as Kincade, but the actor’s ill health was such that, regrettably, Connery had to bow out. Following Connery’s departure, all mention of his involvement was quietly glossed over.
One of the other cinematic Bonds was allegedly sought — George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton are the two names provided to us — but ultimately, the script was rewritten and Albert Finney was brought in to play Kincade, now a groundskeeper.
Of course, none of this has been officially confirmed by EON, so we’ll have to treat the story with a certain amount of caution. But it’s exciting to think that Connery, who’s now retired, could have enjoyed one last appearance in a Bond movie.
The 25th Bond film, Spectre, is out in theaters November 6.