The first teaser for the new 007 film, Spectre, was recently released, and I held my breath in anticipation of what would be revealed during the marvelous one and a half minute trailer. What, you may ask, was revealed? Well, not much, actually. Spectre will continue right where Skyfall left off, with Bond delving deep into past to learn more about his family. He will uncover clues regarding the evil SPECTRE organization, and that’s about all we know. We kind of see Christoph Waltz, who will play the main villain of the film, silhouetted in a giant chamber, presumably the meeting place and headquarters of SPECTRE. But much remains to be discovered about the newest Bond film, and the cast and crew are certainly keeping their lips sealed.
Who isn’t excited by the new teaser trailer, though? It looks to be in line with the other Daniel Craig films. It surely will be dark and intense, and a non-stop thrill ride. But what kind of bad guy will Waltz play? Will he be an entirely new villain, or someone more familiar to Bond fans? This got me thinking about past evil-doers from James Bond’s world, and below, we’ll take a look at the top (double-oh) 7 baddies from the series.
007. Vesper Lynd (Casino Royale)
Vesper Lynd is the protagonist-turned-antagonist and Bond girl from Casino Royale. Lynd is an MI6 agent that is tasked with accompanying 007 to the ultra-high stakes poker tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. Her job is to make sure that Bond doesn’t abuse the MI6 funds allotted to him in order to compete in the poker game. When Bond wins the tournament, a trap is sprung and Vesper is used as bait to kidnap Bond. Bond and Lynd survive, and end up starting a pretty fast and intense romance, until she sends the entirety of the poker winnings to the evil Quantum organization. After receiving the crazy sum of money, Quantum agents figured that Lynd’s usefulness had reached its limits, and killed her while Bond sought desperately to save her life.
Bond spends the majority of Quantum of Solace searching for answers about Lynd’s double-crossing, and ends up learning that she had been forced to become a double agent, which clears her name. It’s pretty rare for Bond to become as attached to a woman as much as he does to Vesper. Casino is the first movie since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service that introduced a girl that could potentially have a long-term relationship with 007. Lynd is at the bottom of this list because, frankly, I still haven’t made up my mind about whether she is really a villain or not.
006. Alec Trevelyan (GoldenEye)
Alec Trevelyan is a former MI6 agent, and the main bad guy from GoldenEye. He is designated as Agent 006, and is occasionally partners with 007. He is apparently killed on a mission with Bond in northern Russia, but resurfaces as Janus, a terrorist seeking to cripple the British economy by robbing the Bank of England and obliterating all evidence of the theft by using the GoldenEye satellite weapons.
I’m tempted to just write, “Sean Bean. Enough said,” and be done with it. But that won’t really cut it. Sean Bean’s cult following definitely helps GoldenEye out, even if Bean hadn’t obtained his legendary status as film and TV’s foremost gruesome death victim upon its release. It’s not very often that a Double-O agent goes rogue, and Trevelyan’s plan seems plausible enough, and even understandable. Apparently the British government murdered his parents, and he’s out for revenge. He just also wants to add the feeling of cold, hard cash to the comfort of cold, hard vengeance.
005. Francisco Scaramanga (The Man With the Golden Gun)
Francisco Scaramanga is the child of circus entertainers, and grew up travelling in the circus with his parents. As a member of the circus, Scaramanga became extremely talented in the use of guns, particularly sidearms. Growing up, it became evident that he was a naturally gifted sharp-shooter — a skill that would become invaluable once he became a KGB assassin as a teenager. Eventually, he becomes a private contract killer, carrying out each hit with his signature golden Colt pistol, and charging insane amounts of money for each job. But it takes more than money and a steady gun hand to be a great villain.
Scaramanga uses his wealth to research and create gadgets similar to those that 007 uses, and he views Bond as his greatest adversary, rival, and one true challenge. In the culminating scene (and really, the only good one) of The Man With the Golden Gun, 007 and Scaramanga face off in Francisco’s funhouse, where he frequently challenges and defeats other assassins and agents. 007 is able to use his intellect, and some trickery, to draw Scaramanga out and fatally shoot him in the heart.
If Sean Bean as a Bond villain is great casting, then putting Sir Christopher Lee in the 007 film with the most descriptive, and least original, title is a stroke of genius. And it’s a good thing too, because Golden Gun doesn’t have much else going for it other than the villain. The film is long, dry, and a bit boring, and has one of the most irritating and useless Bond girls in the whole series. But Lee’s portrayal of Scaramanga is enough to make the movie worthwhile. Also, if you like guys with extra nipples, Golden Gun has that too.
004. Oddjob (Goldfinger)
One thing that the 007 films (the pre-Daniel Craig ones, at least) do better than just about any other film is take the ridiculous and make it awesome. This is true of many aspects of the films, but especially of the villains. And perhaps the most simultaneously ridiculous and epic villain is Oddjob. He is the servant and bodyguard of Goldfinger, and is fanatically obsessed with carrying out his bosses orders.
It is the combination of Oddjob’s small stature, brute strength, lack of dialogue and, of course, his signature weapon that make him an exceptional villain. I mean, come on, the guy uses a bowler hat lined with a sharp layer of steel to decapitate or otherwise maim his nemeses. Even when he faces off against 007, he shows next to no fear or hesitation and is completely confident in his abilities as a skilled assassin. Only through a bit of luck and quick thinking is Bond able to take down Oddjob for good.
Aside from Oddjob’s appearance in Goldfinger, he is also a fan favorite and totally cheap playable character in GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64. Whether you think he’s a great villain in Goldfinger is one thing, but if you’re playing GoldenEye and your buddy decides to be Oddjob, you know you’re screwed.
003. Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker)
Maybe Oddjob just doesn’t quite cut it for you. Maybe you’re not a big fan of the unbelievable strength of the little guy. Maybe the bowler-hat-guillotine is a little too far out there. Perhaps, then, a giant beast of a man with a grill sick enough to make Flavor Flav tremble is more your style. If that’s the case, then Jaws is surely the villain for you.
Not only is Jaws a huge and intimidating figure, he’s also harder to get rid of than a swarm of mosquitos in the middle of July. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond apparently “kills” Jaws no less than six times, but the man just dusts himself off and keeps coming back. Unfortunately for Jaws, Moonraker saw the classic villain change from a brutal killing machine to a running joke, thrown into the film for nothing more than comic relief. The humor, as with many aspects of the Roger Moore films, just doesn’t work, and this great bad guy is delegated to nothing more than a bad punch line. But Jaws is the only bad guy on the list who doesn’t end up dead (as far as we know), and if you focus on the thorn that Jaws is in 007’s side, his menacing physique, and cultural recognizability, he is definitely one of the greats.
002. Le Chiffre (Casino Royale)
Casino Royale was a pretty big gamble. Not only would Daniel Craig’s 007 look and behave drastically different from his predecessors, the film would also be a reboot, and would attempt to reintroduce Bond to the world through his origin story, of sorts. The result was the greatest 007 film in years, and perhaps of all time. Craig is the Bond that we don’t want to see go away, and the first unanimously loved 007 actor since Sean Connery. So, Craig as Bond is great, and we’ve already talked about Vesper Lynd, now let’s get down to it and discuss the main protagonist throughout the majority of Royale: Le Chiffre.
Le Chiffre directly finances terrorist outfits, and it is even hinted that he had some involvement in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He is a genius, chess prodigy, and a master of determining probability, and he uses his brains to more or less screw people over in poker games. Bond foils his plans to sell cheap airline stock then crash the market, and Bond’s little intervention ended up costing Le Chiffre over one hundred million dollars, most of which didn’t belong to him in the first place. So Le Chiffre organizes the Texas Hold ‘em tournament at the Casino Royale in order to win back his lost funds, and then some, before his terrorist buddies find out what happened to their money.
Le Chiffre is not the kind of guy to get really hands on in a fight. He’ll send others to do that for him. I said it before in the Top 10 Marvel Villains list, and I’ll say it again: a villain is truly great not because of their strengths, but because of their weaknesses. Le Chiffre is the textbook example of this. Sure, he’s an evil genius, but that’s not what makes him cool. What makes him cool is his greed, his desperate attempt to fix a major mistake, and his physical deformity that literally makes him cry blood.
001. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (From Russia With Love, Thunderball, and more)
This is the guy that so many villains have been modeled after since. This is the guy who killed 007’s wife. And this is the guy who was the antagonist in not one or two, but five (and possibly six) Bond films. He is the head of the evil SPECTRE organization, which, despite it’s completely non-threatening octopus logo, is an extremely dangerous and massive counter-intelligence and terrorism syndicate. Blofeld is classic in every sense of the word. He, like Le Chiffre, is an evil genius, and, regardless of the fact that the can’t grow a decent head of hair, is a major threat to MI6 and other government organizations throughout the world.
Just by looking at him, you can tell how many typical bad guy characteristics Blofeld has inspired. From the bald head and the huge facial scar to the always present vicious white cat, Blofeld has inspired the looks and attitudes of supervillains for years. Just think of all those times you laughed at Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers films. You can thank Blofeld for that. And those Saturday mornings you spent wondering if you’d ever find out who Inspector Gadget’s nemesis, Dr. Claw, really is? That has Blofeld written all over it.
It’s unclear whether Christoph Waltz’s character in Spectre will end up being Blofeld, but it certainly seems like all the signs are pointing to it. Skyfall did a great job in beginning to bring the Bond series full circle, and began to reintroduce classic 007 elements into the reboot films. Including Blofeld in Spectre just makes sense, so there is no doubt in my mind that we’ll be seeing this awesome, hallmark villain again very soon.
Which James Bond villains do you think are the most epic? Do you think Christoph Waltz will end up reprising the role of Blofeld, making him the sixth actor to do so? What are you most excited for in Spectre? Let us know below!