The Bond legend

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

His name is Bond. James Bond. Ian Fleming's famous character celebrated his 70th anniversary this year. This is an opportunity to look back at the phenomenal success of a franchise that has managed to renew itself over the years.

Would you care for a martini? Shaken, not stirred, of course. The British secret agent's famous lines have become classics. Agent 007 has 25 films to date, from Dr No in 1962, played by Sean Connery, to No Time to Die, Daniel Craig's last film in 2021. The fictional character was created 70 years ago in 1953 by the writer and former British spy Ian Fleming in the novel Casino Royale. Between 1953 and his death in 1964, he wrote twelve novels (one of which did not appear until after his death) and nine short stories (grouped together in two collections, the second posthumous) featuring the character of James Bond. By then, the myth was born.

"As a child, I grew up watching the films with my parents. Then, when I was working on my PhD, I worked for a professor who also specialised in James Bond. He organised a conference on the subject, which enabled me to write one of my first publications. But when you look at pop culture, you soon realise that James Bond is part of it and that many academics specialise in James Bond. And it's an international field, " says Lena Steveker, a professor of British literature at the University of Luxembourg who is particularly interested in British fiction and its pop culture. For her, the success of the saga is undeniable, James Bond has become a myth: "As far as I know, James Bond is the longest-running film series in the world and one of the most popular. James Bond is a mixture of tradition and renewal. And I think that's why the film series has been so successful."

Since the 1960s, there has been one film after another, and each release has become an event, each change of actor to play the secret agent unleashes passions. Everyone has their favourite: the Scotsman Sean Connery and his distinctive accent, the blue-eyed Roger Moore, the Irishman Pierce Brosnan and his good looks. Englishman Daniel Craig has made a marked turn in the saga, while presenting a return to his roots as a more violent but also more tortured character. No Time to Die will be Daniel Craig's last Bond movie. And – no spoilers –, fans are currently a little tense, to say the least, when it comes to the sequel. Not only because of the possible scenario chosen, but above all because of the name of the actor who will take on the onerous task of continuing the saga.

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