After Roger Moore retired from the role of James Bond, Timothy Dalton made his first appearance as Ian Fleming’s secret agent in The Living Daylights. More serious than Moore, Dalton took Bond back to his literary roots as a fierce killer. However, Bond faced his biggest challenge yet – the 80′s action hero. Faced with action stars like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson, it appeared that Bond had finally met his match. In the summer of 1989 Licence to Kill failed at the box office when pitted against the blockbuster likes Batman, Indiana Jones and Lethal Weapon. It looked like the era of Bond was over.
Audiences never really connected with Dalton’s portrayal of Bond. While he may have taken the part with the best of intentions, many critics believed that the Welsh actor felt that the role was beneath him. Looking back it’s easy to see that this just wasn’t the case, the excess of the 1980s just wasn’t ready for this interpretation of Bond. Maybe things would have been different if audiences had been given the opportunity to see Dalton in more of the super spy’s exploits; however they wouldn’t have the opportunity.
Following a six year court battle over rights issues between Eon and MGM, many thought that the suit wearing Bond was now a relic of a bygone era. In the mid 1990′s Dalton declined an invitation to return to the legendary role and, in 1995, Pierce Brosnan finally had his chance to star as James Bond in Goldeneye.