25 June 2021 923 Views

Fleming Friday: INDIANA BOND? Two Heroes, Both Alike?

by James Murphy

Two action legends. One destiny. To be examined, in detail here. 007 /Indy!

There is a kind of symbiotic relationship here. Dr Jones / Mr Bond. Trust me. It goes beyond incidental casting (Sean Connery as Indy’s Dad; Daniel Craig as a Harrison co-star in Cowboys and Aliens; John Ryhs Davies and Julian Glover among others turning up in both 007 and Indiana Jones films, etc..).

Allow me to elaborate.


  • Bond is where it all started: 

Spielberg wanted to make a James Bond film. Cubby Broccoli rightly said no, because Steven would want too unique a vision and no doubt make it his own. Nowadays, the Broccoli family actively encourage that (Sam Mendes).

But back then things were more cautious. ‘Don’t worry, I got that beat’, said George Lucas to Spielberg. And so, on a beach one day, ‘Indiana Smith’ was born. Steven loved the pitch but changed the surname and shook his best buddy’s hand on making three movies. The rest is history.


  • Indy influenced Bond, too? 

Look at Octopussy, A View to a Kill and The Living Daylights. Lots of dust, mines and turbans. VERY ‘Raiders‘. Licence to Kill has the baddie die in a ball of flame and is edgy and dark (think Temple of Doom?). Skyfall /Spectre have Bond reconciled to childhood issues via his own middle age: very Last Crusade.



We don’t actually know for sure if God was the source of Dr Jones’ supernatural experiences. It seemed that way. But. Still a BIT open. Maybe? In ‘Crystal Skull’, you get aliens and interdimensional beings as well as nuclear power. Is the alien divine and vice versa? All open to interpretation, just as Lot’s being turned to salt in the actual Bible reads like a latter day nuke just without fridges in which to escape ;). 

Indy remains a sceptic as much as he does a believer in the case of each and every single experience he encounters. In general, the revelation of divinity /other power is at the very end of the picture and the rest is pure action / rational archaeology.

James Bond, by contrast does not have a supernatural dimension as such. But in Live and Let Die, it is left ambiguous as to whether a voodoo cult has harnessed some other-worldly power. And the technologies displayed are always five minutes into the future while 007 himself is a paradoxical man out of time in many senses.



We know Bond loves Casinos, cards and indeed, taking extreme risks with his own life, for kicks/Queen and country. Good Luck, Mate! 

Though Dr Jones is not associated with the gambler’s iconography to quite the same extent, he is certainly a man who lives off chance and profits from that method. Temple of Doom opens with Harrison Ford’s Indy in very Bond like white tux: talking tough in a club.



Jones and Bond are ethical hedonists and as part of that comes an inevitable tendency toward womanising. Yet they do so, generally, with a civilised and gentlemanly sense of respect. Seriously. Anyone saying differently really ought re-watch /read source material again. Each love interest can be distinctive and beautiful and play a vital role in the hero’s adventures. Both men end up with pipe and slippers ending.

Ian Fleming’s book, The Man with the Golden Gun has Bond knowing retirement and settling down are around the corner. Indiana Jones ultimately marries Marion, albeit having spent the majority of their lives apart pre reconciliation.


Both men are outstanding in their fields and earn a certain arrogance for that. Yes, they have setbacks and screw up on occasion. But those errors are redeemed, quickly and competently.

It’s part of the fantasy: that these characters live lives of consequence and yet somehow live free from responsibility; globe trotting and facing death yet home in time for tea. Meanwhile, the authority figures are at once disapproving of the antics yet facilitating of them (M, Q, Marcus etc). An eternal paradox!

Bond is a good detective and spy as well as an adept killer. He is also a very particular man about all areas of his world from dress to drink and food and cars. He must bring the civility of his orders to fruition by reaching into a primal brutality, confronting villains who often begin as quite calm and approachable hosts.

Dr Jones is a first rate academic; a versatile archaeologist as much as daring adventurer. Both heroes can ‘rough it’ and then scrub up nicely for evening diners, via multiple outfits they make their own (fedora /whip / tweeds/man bag / leather jacket; tux /suit / commander’s outfit/wetsuit etc).

That sets the bar rather high for incarnation onscreen. And it’s why people keep getting the speculation and assumption so wrong. Indiana is neither as prolific nor as tested as 007 so recasting beyond Harrison Ford is all but impossible.

At the same time, it’s a myth that the character need be permanently placed in the 1930s fighting Nazis anymore than James Bond must always face SMERSH.

But theoretically? Done ‘right’? You could have  a new actor as younger Indy (nobody is Harrison Ford, though).

And it’s possible to allow a James Bond to simply age up in the role and become his own ‘M’. It’s just safer and better to recast every decade and keep the series’ reinvention as its own constant asset. But don’t cast the first click-bait name who happens to be on netflix or in a marvel movie that week? 😉


Enough said. Get well soon: Harrison Ford! Daniel Craig: best of luck in the promotion for NO TIME TO DIE.







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