So, Daniel Craig is going to play a stormtrooper in Star Wars: Episode VII. Pretty weird, right? Nope. The world of secret agent 007 and that galaxy far, far away is more tangled up than you might have thought. There are now going to be seven Star Wars movies and we all know James Bond’s number is 007. So, here are seven connections between James Bond and Star Wars that are for your eyes only and everyone else’s eyes, too. Uselessful minutia ahead!
In Casino Royale; Darth Vader Plays Frankenstein’s Monster
In 1967, a spoof film of James Bond stories titled Casino Royale featured multiple James Bonds: one played by David Niven, one by Bond actress Ursula Andress, one even played by Woody Allen, and one played by… Darth Vader. Years before he would stride onto that Corellian Corvette, the man who occupied Darth Vader’s costume—bodybuilder David Prowse—had his film debut threatening “James Bond” in Casino Royale, dressed as Frankenstein’s monster. (Prowse was somehow not approached for the “real” Casino Royale in 2006. I guess they decided the Frankenstein’s monster stuff wasn’t needed.) If you want to get really weird, Eva Green, who was in the “real” Casino Royale with Daniel Craig, now stars with a different Frankenstein and a different Bond (Timothy Dalton) on Penny Dreadful.
The Director of the BEST Star Wars Movie Directed the WORST Bond Movie
Irvin Kershner famously directed and probably helped save The Empire Strikes Back. He’s a cinematic god for everything he did on Empire, which we know would have probably been bad had Lucas directed it. Weirdly, Kershner’s other big forays into famous franchises weren’t as well-received. He directed the sequel to Robocop, Robocop 2, which most people know is just kind of okay. But, the weirdest thing of his whole career is easily his directorial work on Never Say Never Again. This movie features Sean Connery as an embarrassing and aging James Bond. This movie was actually in direct competition in 1983 against another “real” James Bond movie, Octopussy. Somehow, a movie called “Octopussy” is waaaay better.
Both Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn Turned Down the Role of James Bond
Can you believe there was once a time when Liam Neeson didn’t want to do action movies? Apparently it was in 1994, right before Pierce Brosnan made his debut as Bond; the studio wanted Neeson as 007. Then as the sun set on Brosnan’s tenure in 2005, apparently EON Productions approached Ewan McGregor, hot off his Revenge of the Sith gig to play Bond. He apparently turned it down because he didn’t want to be typecast as a badass. Again.
General Veers Messes With Bond in For Your Eyes Only
Consummate English character actor Julian Glover has played a lot of bad guys. He’s the villain in perhaps the most loved Tom Baker Doctor Who story “City of Death,” and also plays the villain in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Notably, Julian Glover also shows up in The Empire Strikes Back as General Veers, the guy who drives the AT-AT walker which manages to blow up the shield generator on Hoth. BUT, he also played the primary villain Aristotle Kristatos in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only.
George Lucas Wanted to Make a James Bond Movie
This one is slightly apocryphal, but supposedly Steven Spielberg and George Lucas wanted to do a James Bond movie for real, but Lucas felt he had “something better.” That something better turned out to be Indiana Jones, which was probably not a movie that would have been greenlit if it weren’t for the success of Star Wars. Although we know Han Solo and Indiana Jones are NOT the same character, and that Indiana Jones isn’t really James Bond nor is Indy really Bond, it’s still fun to squint and pretend that Sean Connery’s James Bond is Han Solo’s father.
Moonraker Was Made Because of Star Wars
At the end of the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, audiences were told that “James Bond Will Return in For Your Eyes Only,” but he didn’t. At least not right away. Instead, the next 007 flick after The Spy Who Loved Me was Moonraker. Deviating from the Earth-based action of the novel substantially, the film Moonraker features James Bond in space, and lots and lots of lasers. (It contains two boat chases, too!) Moonraker was released in 1979, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this Bond was made in direct response to the success of 1977’s Star Wars. And I’d love to say the big space battle at the end of Moonraker is on par with Star Wars, but that’s only because I don’t want to hurt Moonraker’s feelings.
The Force Awakens Was Shot in James Bond’s Home Studio
While we know a lot of The Force Awakens was shot on location around the world, any of the sound stage stuff was filmed at Pinewood Studios in London. This is a change for Star Wars, but also interesting because it’s where nearly all the Bond films have been shot. With this in mind, Daniel Craig lurking around the Star Wars set starts to make a lot more sense.
Add your own Bond/Star Wars connections below!
Ryan Britt is the author of Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths, forthcoming from Plume Books on November 24th. His writing has appeared with The New York Times, The Awl, Electric Literature, VICE and elsewhere. He is a longtime contributor to Tor.com and lives in New York City.