Sometimes we have to be thankful that early versions of characters never made it into the final drafts of movies – otherwise we may well have been living in a world where Indiana Jones was a pedophile, and Doc Brown and Marty McFly were basically working in Be Kind Rewind. But that’s all for another time.
That effect counts double when we’re talking about classic heroes and villains, and because great villains are able to drag terrible movies out of the gutter a lot easier than great heroes can, we’re looking at the frankly ridiculous early drafts that would have ruined classic villains, in one way or another.
Thankfully, editors and producers still have the power to veto scripts and early test footage, or some of the abominations in this list might have made it onto the silver screen. And that would have been horrendous.
Dr No – Dr No
One early draft of Dr No was a whole world different to what we eventually got to see, and sounds a lot more like an Austin Powers sequel than the movie that launched Britain’s most enduring film franchise. Because the writers initially envisaged the grand nemesis of James Bond as a monkey, as Cubby Broccoli told the Daily Mail…
Our first problem was the character of Dr No. Since he was going to be 007’s first and most fiendish adversary, the situation called for a character of menacing dimensions. This was the brief which our writers took away with them.
Later, as we sat reading the pages, I had a sinking feeling. They had decided to make Dr No a monkey. I repeat – a monkey.
Imagine the carnage, and just how ludicrous that film would have been… So, why an honourable mention only? Well, because frankly, the idea of a monkey genius facing off against Sean Connery is just brilliant.
That might perhaps have gotten a better reaction out of Ian Fleming than his infamous “Dreadful. Simply dreadful” reaction to the film adaptation.
This article was first posted on July 20, 2013