Alright, so maybe simultaneous Bond iterations would’ve gotten us weirdly close to MCU-style team-ups. But there’s an even bigger silver lining to Connery passing up a “Live and Let Die” appearance: it gave Moore room to work. Connery’s Bond was a force to be reckoned with, both on-screen and in terms of reputation. What’s more, George Lazenby, the only other actor to play Bond up until that point, mysteriously only took up the moniker for a single film — a fact that doesn’t seem too encouraging for whoever was to come next. If Moore wanted to prove himself as a worthy heir of Connery’s legacy, he would need to make Bond his own.
Despite filming accidents and logistical mishaps, “Live and Let Die” allowed Moore to do just that. But when you’re trying to prove that a new actor can be just as compelling as the original, it doesn’t make sense to debut him in a movie that uses nostalgia as a selling point. Connery’s absence made it easier for Moore’s Bond to establish himself, which in turn led to a long, successful run as the beloved superspy.
As for Sean Connery, he would ironically come to eat his words. While the actor didn’t return to Eon’s official James Bond franchise, he would eventually play the spy again in “Never Say Never Again,” a 1983 Taliafilm remake of “Thunderball” whose unusual creation was the result of a legal battle. Unfortunately, since Eon did not produce “Never Say Never Again,” the movie will not be joining the main Bond franchise coming to Prime Video this October. Nevertheless, its creation was a fun way for Connery to return to the role without stepping on future actors’ toes.