Secrets behind the early development of pop culture icon James Bond are coming out as the very first novel in Ian Fleming’s series, Casino Royale, celebrates its 60th anniversary.
One of the most interesting factoids about James Bond mythology actually concerns his name. Instead of “Bond, James Bond,” the character’s signature line could have been “Secretan, James Secretan.” Here’s guessing that wouldn’t have caught on quite as well.
“Ian’s first idea was to give James Bond an assumed name as his cover,” said Fleming’s niece Kate Grimond, whose family released the 1952 draft. “Ian typed it up that way when he [Bond] first met Felix Leiter, the CIA agent, in the casino at the Hotel Splendide.”
“Ian must have realized it would cause confusion if he had Bond known as Bond to friends and the security services in London, but as Secretan for his cover name to strangers,” she opined.
This is just one of the many secrets behind the character’s early development being revealed by a just-released early draft of Casino Royale, the first of the Bond novels on which the films are based.
The novel was first published on April 13, 1953, but a proper film adaptation didn’t come until 2006’s Casino Royale, which rebooted the Bond film franchise with Daniel Craig in the leading role.
Prior to that film, the novel was adapted in 1954 for television, and again in 1967. The latter was a farcical, parody adaptation of the novel.
So where did he get “Secretan?” Grimond believes the name came from 19th century Swiss philosopher, Charles Secrétan. Additionally, M’s secretary was originally called Miss Pettavel, or “Petty” for short. Fleming later changed the name to the now-iconic Miss Moneypenny.
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