ByPeter Flynn, writer at
An advocate for understanding the phenomenological wonder of the moving image. Also Tremors is the best.
Peter Flynn

I'll be the first to admit it. It's a nice feeling when a little fan theory comes together. It feels like you're written a portion of the story yourself, and you've beaten the system to a degree. People latch on to fan theories because they truly represent the vital element of the fandom when it comes to the reception of mainstream media. The only problem comes when adherents to a fan theory try to make further iterations of a story fit their own narrative. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the "James Bond Codename Theory", and in the run-up to Spectre, we should question what weight this theory actually has.

The James Bond codename theory!

I'm gonna assume that most readers are familiar with the codename theory. As far as fan theories go, it's quite an old one, positing that, since James Bond appears with different faces, has contradictory characters, and operates within political climates that span over fifty years, the very name "Bond, James Bond" must itself be an alias. Sure, this makes the sequential nature of the movies fit within one long shared timeline, but the problem is that it chooses to focus on continuity logic instead of something much more exciting like... well, James Bond!

Didn't Skyfall disprove it already?

For many James Bond fans, Skyfall put an end to this pedantry once and for all; while for others, it only stoked the flames further. Anti-theorists pointed to the very concrete grave stones that read the name of James' farther, "Andrew Bond". Proof against the codename theory is literally set in stone here, yet there were still fans who insisted the name was just a tie between six different men. I've heard fans stating that the gravestones where installed there by MI6 as an extra cover for 007, or even that Craig's bond is brainwashed into assuming his heritage is legit.

Will Spectre put this all to rest?

But what if it was photoshopped?
But what if it was photoshopped?

It's one thing to have a couple props in your movie that speak against a theory; it's another entirely for the plot to hinge on a character's very explicit past. The moment Moneypenny says "personal effects recovered from Skyfall", I began gearing myself up for another fruitless game of detective where each side attempts to prove the other wrong.

In a very immediate sense, Spectre has already said enough. You see the boy on the right in that burned photograph? That's baby James Bond, taken into the care of Hannes Oberhauser, alongside the boy burned out in the photograph, Franz Oberhauser, played in the movie by Christoph Waltz. We've got a cool Kane and Abel dynamic here, with a specific focus on James Bond's past. That's all thrown to the wayside if we're continuing to obey the codename theory. Even if Spectre comes to present some irrefutable evidence against it, I'm sure some fans will continue to retcon the material to fit with their own less interesting premise.

Why we shouldn't cling to these theories

Fan theories are all well and good for a bit of fun and discussion, but it's when fandoms begin looking to the actual creators, expecting their desires to be confirmed that things get boring. It's a shame that so many would rather make James Bond fit within an allotted timeline than actually analyze him as a character. Ultimately, focussing too much on these theories seems to ignore the facts that these stories are made by real people with real creative endeavors. All we can hope for now is that Spectre gives us something so good that speculation and conspiracy cease to matter, and we can for once just watch the movie.


Should Spectre disprove the James Bond codename theory?


Latest from our Creators