9 Iconic Movie Characters Who Appeared Outside Their Franchises

Bet you don't know George Lazenby played Bond twice.

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Universal Pictures

Cameos can come in various shapes and sizes – from Stan Lee’s blink and you’ll miss it Marvel appearances to Alec Baldwin’s blistering scene in Glengarry Glen Ross - but most of the time they’re just fun Easter eggs for audiences to discover while they watch the movie.

Some of the best cameos can even help elevate a movie or overshadow it completely, like Bill Murray’s surprise role in Zombleland taking it from being a fun horror comedy to near masterpiece - for about five minutes anyway.

One of the rarer types of cameo is an actor reprising one of their iconic characters, but appearing in a film outside of their original franchise. This mostly comes down to legal reasons – after all, icons don't come cheap these days – but they can be a nice surprise for even the most jaded movie fan when they happen.

Nearly all of these cameos are just tongue in cheek (and decidedly non-canon) appearances that aren’t meant to be taken seriously, and while some of them go unnamed in the movie, there’s little doubt about who they’re supposed to be playing.

9. James Bond - Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E

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Viacom Productions

George Lazenby famously only played the world’s greatest spy once in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, before deciding he was famous enough to make it on his own; a mistake on his part. Something even hardcore Bond fanatics may not realise is that he actually played Bond twice, even if the second time was completely unofficial.

He appears as J.B. in the television movie Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E, a dapper English gent who wears a white tux, drives an Aston Martin equipped with gadgets and carries around a Walter PPK; hell, he even has a tinny Bond parody theme. He helps out Napoleon Solo during a car chase repeating famous Bond lines, and breaks the fourth wall to say “Shaken but not stirred.”

This wink wink nudge nudge appearance does about enough to avoid a lawsuit, and it also cashed in on the Battle of the Bonds that was going on in 1983, with Roger Moore’s Octopussy versus Sean Connery’s Never Say Never Again. Moore ultimately won the battle box-office wise, but Lazenby’s appearance was a nice nod to Bond fans everywhere.


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