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Although Sean Connery was the first actor to play James Bond in EON’s now 25 film series, he returned to the role multiple times. First, after George Lazenby’s single movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Connery returned for Diamonds Are Forever. Then he returned for 1983’s competing James Bond film Never Say Never Again. He also came relatively close to appearing in a Daniel Craig film, though he wouldn’t have played James Bond again.

Sean Connery in Dr. No
Sean Connery | MGM Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images

Craig’s third James Bond film, 2012’s Skyfall, had a role for which Connery would have been suited. Director Sam Mendes addressed the possibility in a 2012 interview, and further sources reveal more. 

‘Skyfall’ was the 50th anniversary of Sean Connery’s first James Bond film

In Skyfall, Bond (Craig) gets shot on a mission before the title song. Presumed killed in action, he’s really just hiding out and recovering. He returns to foil a plot against M (Judi Dench). Silva (Javier Bardem)’s plan gets him within shooting distance of M, so Bond takes her to his old family home of Skyfall, where Kincade (Albert Finney) is waiting for them.  

Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Daniel Craig | MWE/GC Images

2012 was the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movie franchise. Connery made his first appearance in 1962’s Dr. No. As such, the otherwise serious Skyfall included such homages to the classic films as the Goldfinger car, complete with ejector seat. 

Sean Connery could have played Kincade 

Kincade is the groundskeeper at Skyfall and he’s been there long enough that Bond knew him. He ultimately helps Bond lay traps for Silva’s ambush. Mendes told The Huffington Post that he did consider casting Connery as Kincade.

James Bond Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig | Eduardo Parra/FilmMagic

“There was a definite discussion about that — way, way early on,” Mendes said. “But I think that’s problematic. Because, to me, it becomes too … it would take you out of the movie. Connery is Bond and he’s not going to come back as another character. It’s like, he’s been there. So, it was a very brief flirtation with that thought, but it was never going to happen, because I thought it would distract.”

Sources say there were more than discussions 

Mendes may be right. Having two James Bonds appear in the same movie might be too much of a gimmick, even more than seeing the Goldfinger car in a Daniel Craig movie. 

However, in 2015 Den of Geek sources say they went so far as to rehearse with Connery in the role of Kincade. It was health issues that reportedly forced Connery to step down, not concerns over breaking the fourth wall.

Sean Connery as James Bond
Sean Connery | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

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Further, the sources say Skyfall producers considered casting former Bond’s George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton. The reason they were considering former Bonds was that Skyfall was intended to be a home for retired agents. They would not have overtly stated that Connery, Lazenby or Dalton had been James Bond before, but it would have been implied. 

This would have leaned into the long-suggested theory that James Bond is just a code name. Each of the actors who played 007 would have been a different person who took on the code name James Bond. This theory ignores the continuity of Roger Moore visiting Lazenbys wife’s grave, and both Dalton and Pierce Brosnan referencing the loss of his wife. 

In any event, Finney played Kincade and Skyfall became Bond’s ancestral family home where Kincade remained the groundskeeper. Connery remained retired.