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Why Donald Whitfield From 1923 Looks So Familiar

By now, Taylor Sheridan's "Yellowstone" is among the most successful western franchises of all time. While "Gunsmoke" and "Deadwood" were more traditional westerns taking place in the actual Old West, "Yellowstone" is notable for bringing the tropes and feel of a classic western to the contemporary world, as the Dutton family goes toe-to-toe with massive forces to defend their home in Montana. 

Following the show's success, though, its spin-offs have gone back to the time periods you would more traditionally associate westerns with. First came "1883," which sees James Dutton (Tim McGraw) and his wife Margaret (Faith Hill) as they journey out west to settle for the first time on the Dutton Ranch. The series also starred western veteran Sam Elliot ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"). The second series, "1923," follows James' older brother, Jacob (Harrison Ford), and his wife, Cara (Helen Mirren), as they face all the hardships of early 1900s America. They deal with drought, Prohibition, and of course, the Great Depression.

While those are all devastating conflicts for any rancher to deal with, they also have human adversaries they must deal with on a regular basis. The first is a Scottish sheepherder named Banner Creighton, played by the immensely talented Jerome Flynn ("Game of Thrones"). The second is a business tycoon who is used to getting his way — and gets ruthless when he doesn't. If you have been watching the series and wondering where you saw him before, he is one of the most underrated and understated performers of the last few decades. 

Timothy Dalton was the heir to Mongo in Flash Gordon

Back in the 1970s, "Star Wars" changed the game for sci-fi cinema. When the industry saw how well that project worked, the studios all wanted their own space opera to work with. And while 1979 saw "Star Trek" revived into a motion picture, it was 1980 when Dino De Laurentiis brought the world "Flash Gordon."

The film follows Gregory "Flash" Gordon (Sam J. Jones), a football star, who crash lands a plane and is then immediately swept away by a scientist who seems to know why the Earth is experiencing an overload of weather anomalies. They end up on Mongo, an alien planet ruled by Ming the Merciless (Max Von Sydow). Along with a group of rebels, Gordon fights Ming to liberate the planet from his rule.

Timothy Dalton appears as Prince Barin, the rightful heir to the throne of Mongo, exiled for his opposition to Ming the Merciless. While the "Flash Gordon" film was massively cheesier than "Star Wars," the comic strip source material the former was based on likely inspired the latter, and it's easy to see the parallels between Dalton's character and Han Solo. For a relatively unknown actor at the time, Dalton playing the character that inspired the scruffy-looking nerf-herder could have been a lot of pressure, but the British actor played it so well that this film helped put him on the map for the most significant role of his career.

Timothy Dalton was a darker James Bond

By now, it goes without saying that there have been a ton of James Bond movie, and numerous actors have filled the suit with their own take on the suave super-spy. Sean Connery was the one who made the character a household name, and is often listed as people's favorite — though recently, Daniel Craig's grittier take has also earned accolades. 

Before Craig, though, the original darker 007 was Timothy Dalton. When Roger Moore hung up his Walther PPK at the age of 58 after his final film, "A View to a Kill," the studio searched for new life, and they found it with Dalton, who was about as far from Moore's cheerful superhero as humanly possible. Dalton's edgy, murderous Bond premiered in the 1987 film "The Living Daylights," and set the stage for a new take on the franchise.

Sadly, Dalton's time as Bond was cut shot after the subsequent movie, "Licence to Kill," due to legal issues at the time. In an interview with This Week, Dalton explained that he jumped ship when — after years of those legal battles — he told the producers that he'd be up for one more film, and they said they'd only take him if he could do four or five. "Too much. Too long," Dalton explained. "So I respectfully declined."

Timothy Dalton was a shady grocery store owner in Hot Fuzz

Like all James Bond actors, Timothy Dalton worked to shed the tuxedo-clad, gun-toting superspy image in other parts. Arguably one of his best other roles was in the comedic parody "Hot Fuzz." Following the story of Nicholas Angel (Pegg), a London Police Constable that is so good at his job that the department ships him off to a quiet village in the country, seemingly devoid of crime. The most exciting thing that happens in the town is the annual Village of the Year competition, which they often win. Of course, there is more than meets the eye, and the residents seem to be very ... accident-prone.

Timothy Dalton appears as Simon Skinner, a shady supermarket owner who has a penchant for murder jokes and puns or play-on-words that lead the viewer to believe he has nefarious goals. When Angel and his partner, Police Constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), begin to suspect the constant accidents are anything but that, Skinner is one of their first suspects. During the investigation, though, it is discovered that he is only one of many killers in town. In fact, every one of the killers is a member of the neighborhood watch, obsessed with winning Village of the Year.

"When I read (the script), I realized I had read nothing like this ever before," the actor said in an interview (via YouTube). "I mean, it's really original. I mean, it's really original. And when you see something like that, and you know that the people who wrote it are going to be making it, as talented as we know that they are, it is something you jump at."

Timothy Dalton was a bitter explorer in Penny Dreadful

Weaving together all of Victorian Gothic literature into one over-arching storyline was famously done in a film that starred another former Bond — see "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," the catastrophic film that led to Sean Connery retiring from the business — but a more successful effort can be found with Showtime's "Penny Dreadful." 

In that series, Timothy Dalton played Sir Malcolm Murray, a British explorer on a deeply personal quest to atone for the death of his son and find his lost daughter (a character whom has a lot of parallels to Allan Quatermain, the figure Connery played in "LXG"). Murray teams with Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) to battle the darkness in London. Along the way, they run into Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and Abraham Van Helsing (David Warner).

Dalton spoke to The Wrap and explained what he loved about "Penny Dreadful." "I can give you the absolute truth, but it is kind of a cliché. I love writing. I love words. I love good drama. When you start reading a story that grips you and involves you and makes you ask lots of questions, that makes you turn the page in excitement about what is gonna to happen next, you know you're reading something good."

Timothy Dalton assembled the Doom Patrol

The pages of DC Comics are filled with superhero teams, from the big league champions of the Justice League to the scrappy anti-villains of the Suicide Squad. There are more off-kilter squads of super-powered figures, as well, with two of them — the Creature Commandos and the Authority — headed to the screen in James Gunn's new DCU slate.

The weirdest superhero team of all, though, is probably the Doom Patrol, which fans have already enjoyed for multiple seasons on HBO Max. In "Doom Patrol," Timothy Dalton appears as Niles Caulder aka Chief. He is an immortal who searches the world to find those who need a safe place to go. While he seems to be altruistic, he is always hiding secrets, and he often does the wrong things for the right reasons. 

When looking back on Dalton's career, he seems to have a penchant for playing deeply flawed characters, and Caulder is certainly one of the most fascinating. As Dalton told Looper, when asked if he sees his character as a hero or a villain, he responds, "Neither, really. I see him as a man in a certain set of circumstances, I think. One's experience of life tells you we are capable of doing great good, and sometimes doing bad. He's doing this because of his daughter, but what he does is horrendous. I mean, it's egotistical and perhaps sort of obsessive and maniacal."