Four Non Bonds: The Most Notable James Bond Knockoffs

four-non-bonds-header

I say hey, what’s going on?! Well, we’re listing the four most historically relevant 007 knockoffs, ripoffs, and other unauthorized entries in the James Bond canon.

Spectre, the 24th official James Bond film to release since 1962, marks a major shift in the venerable 007 movie franchise. It’s potentially Daniel Craig’s final film as the famous spy, while MGM’s continued financial woes make new 007 movies a complex affair. Still, even with some of the James Bond cinematic universe in flux, it’s nice to know you can count on a few things nowadays; womanizing, eccentric villains, and a brand that isn’t diluted with outside projects and cheap knockoffs.

That wasn’t the case back in the day where looser copyright laws and a less-connected world allowed for some unnofficial branches of the Bond family tree to sprout. We’ve collected four such under-the-radar spy adventures that may not be recognized in a box set, but have a spot in our heart nonetheless.

James Bond Jr… in “James Bond Jr.”

james-bond-jr
James Bond Jr may have been made with the permission of MGM, but everything else surrounding the iconic spy’s relative smacked of second-rate treatment. Right from the start, JBJ’s existence was halfhearted as his official debut in the novel “The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003½” was written by an author using a pseudonym who has never been revealed to the public. The novel (and ensuing comic book, cartoon show, and video games) was also disingenuous to the character’s name, making James Bond Jr the nephew of the film franchise’s star despite naming convention suggesting the younger spy would be his son.

The cartoon (where most folks know of JBJ) was fine Saturday morning fare but just a bit too goofy to fit in with the biggest spy series in cinema history. Oddjob went from being an Asian stereotype in a bowler hat to a Run-DMC castoff with a tophat, and Dr. No went from a subdued scientist to a green-skinned cybernetically enhanced weaboo.

james-bond-jr

Some characters had kids to better act as BoJu’s counterparts, leading to allies like I.Q. and enemies like Goldie Finger. Oh, and the Bond girls went from having saucy sex-themed names to lame dad-pun monikers like Wendy Day, Hayley Comet, and Marcie Beaucoup. At least the show’s theme song was neat!

Sir James Bond in… “Casino Royale”

casino-royale-1967-niven
Before it was the launching point for Daniel Craig’s Bond career, Casino Royale was the title a more comedic take on 007 starring David Niven (best known for playing the jewel-thieving villain of The Pink Panther) as a retired Sir James Bond who’s called back into duty when other agents go missing. Presented in a segment-based style where multiple directors (six in total) show six other agents pretending to be Bond (played by the likes of Peter Sellers and Woody Allen), it’s unlike any other Bond film and is goofier than the standard series ever was.

This is a dark day for Bond.
This is a dark day for Bond.

How did this happen? Well, Ian Fleming had sold the rights to Casino Royale (his first novel) a year before he sold the rest of his work to Eon Productions and after producer Charles Feldman failed to negotiate proper terms with Eon, he decided to take Bond in a different direction and release it two months before the fifth standard Bond film (You Only Live Twice). The distribution rights for Casino Royale were eventually picked up by MGM, so this Bond finally has a… er… Bond with the rest of the film franchise.

A former Bond and his sibling both take their part in unofficial Bond exploits on the next page!

7 thoughts on “Four Non Bonds: The Most Notable James Bond Knockoffs

  1. The Thunderball rights controversy has always been fascinating to me, since it’s been a problem the movie producers have had to deal with since working on Dr. No (Thunderball had been intended by them to be the first film). It even sprinkled down into the games for god sake, with the From Russia With Love game needing to have Red Grant and Rosa Klebb work for “Octopus” because they couldn’t use the name SPECTRE. Gotta love the producers flipping a bird at McClory by having Roger Moore kill “not Blofeld” in the pre-credits of For Your Eyes Only. I’m glad to see that it will no longer be an issue these days, and was overjoyed when the SPECTRE movie was announced.

    I will say this however – Never Say Never Again is definitely better than the Roger Moore film of the same year, and arguably better than Conner’s last official work (Diamonds Are Forever). It still devolves into dated nonsense in the second half, and is on the boring said (I wouldn’t say the movie was good), but it’s not the stinkers that Octopussy and Moonraker are.

    1. I agree that the muddy legal history of the franchise is fascinating. Trying to explain to people why seeing SPECTRE again is so important is a Resident Evil-calibre confusing story to explain, and becomes infinitely fun to research. That said, you have no taste. Octopussy is good and Moonraker is pretty great until the last 45 minutes overflow the bed with shit. The only turd in the series is Goldeneye, which I dare you to sit through in a single sitting.

      P.S. Someone fix the mobile login. This shit is nothing short of broken.

      1. Well, I’ll agree that GoldenEye is boring as hell and overrated. But Moonraker and Octopussy are still bad and average IMO.

  2. wait… correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t James Bond 007 because 001 through 006 are dead or MIA? wouldn’t that make JBJ already dead by the time we’re seeing his asinine adventures? he’s pulling a Danny Phantom on us! I do love the LT episode where you guys realise that JBJ is most likely Bonds illegitimate son and his mom has always introduced him as uncle James. haha oh, what a world.
    my favorite Bond was the one in You only move twice, because thanks to Homer’s quick thinking he finally got what was coming to him.

  3. Ugh. I tried watching the original Casino Royale but couldn’t even make it half way. It was pretty tough. Never Say Never Again isn’t very good, but interesting enough to see how they reimagined Thunderball. In the end, surprisingly enough, it ends up feeling a lot like the plot to Broken Arrow.

    I highly recommend the movie Our Man Flint, if you like the early 60s/70s Bond movies. That is the movie, more than any actual Bond movie, that Austin Powers is most directly parodying. The sequel, In Like Flint, is a bit of a let down, but it does have a hilarious gag involving a dolphin.

  4. Man you’re gonna be so burned out on Bond! Good luck mnakig it through the month. I watched them all in quick succession over a summer year before last, and it was hard just watching one a week.

Leave a Reply to batmanboy11 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *