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Liam Neeson Is The Greatest James Bond We Never Had

Ever since Sean Connery hung up his iconic James Bond suit, his license to kill has been wielded by a truly legendary selection of stars. Daniel Craig was the most recent actor to embody the character, but in the future, someone else will sip on that martini in his place, whether they give a damn about it being shaken or stirred. And just like 007's gadgets, his impeccable one-liners, or the earworm songs accompanying each mission, everyone has their favorite Bond. 

What's wild is that there was a potential MI6 agent that could've topped them all — but didn't sign on.

Now, sure, plenty of potential secret agents got the call over the years, including huge names like Clint Eastwood, Sam Neill, and Hugh Jackman, the latter of whom admitted that his phone rang ever so slightly before Daniel Craig found himself in front of that iconic blood-soaked scope. However, while those actors could've been interesting in their own way, the true loss is that we never got to see Liam Neeson with the Walther PPK in his hand.

Yes, that Liam Neeson. He was almost offered the role of Bond back in the pre-Brosnan era, as he revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone, but he turned down Barbara Broccoli on the advice of his late wife, Natasha Richardson, who probably saw ahead to how such a franchise would've dominated the next decade of their lives.  And while it's fair to say that Liam chose what was best for him, it's fun to consider what an incredible 007 he would've made. Because it only takes a look at Neeson's most notable roles to certify that his take on Bond would've been the all-time best. 

Neeson's Schindler's List performance shows why he would've made the greatest Bond

Like his signature tipple, 007 is shaken, not stirred, with lots of ingredients that make him the iconic super spy, and believe it or not, Neeson had buckets of it on show when he played Oskar Schindler. Indeed, "Schindler's List" — while it's obviously an important film for entirely different reasons — did display a glint of Neeson's secret spy potential in the first four minutes he appears on screen. 

In Spielberg's film, we meet Oskar Schindler — the man that would become the savior of 1,200 refugees — networking with Nazis. At an event he sits alone, hidden behind cigarette smoke and observing what high level guests are in attendance. Women are glancing his way, but that's what not he's there for. Instead, it takes only a "reserved" sign at a table for Oskar to turn a high-level officer on his side in a tactic that could be torn right out of Bond's playbook. It's how he makes sure he keeps his name on the radar.

Bending the rules and brushing shoulders with monsters to achieve his goal (one of which is played by future M himself, Ralph Fiennes), Neeson's charm as Schindler is amplified even more so under the black and white filter that applies a timelessness to this charismatic rogue on show. Sharply dressed and in control, it's enough to earn a seat across any blackjack table with a SPECTRE villain. 

Of course, being a Bond actor also means getting bruised knuckles. A few decades later, though, we learned that Neeson excelled at this, too. 

Neeson could have balanced the suave with the brutish for his 007

Of course, seeing Neeson as Bond now may be easier than it was in the 1990s, because we've gotten so used to him as an action hero. While Neeson was already stepping in that direction a bit as far back as "Darkman," the shift truly began with his cloak and daggers turn in "Batman Begins" and hit a running jump with "Taken," which grew a franchise of its own. That 2009 film saw him become a one-man army, the scariest hero with a cellphone, and painted a clear picture of the sort of menacing, Craig-esque Bond he could've brought to life. 

After all, it's hard not to think that "Taken" was, in some level, a Neeson-as-Bond-type film anyway, since it arrived just two years after Daniel Craig's debut as James Bond in "Casino Royale." Both were battling in an era where heroes hit harder than they used to, thanks to trendsetting protagonists like Jason Bourne, who were anything but elegant fighters. For Neeson, though, "Taken" was a strong testament that came all too late — proving he could hold his own against a conveyor belt of henchmen to reach his goal, whether it be sprinting or shooting or steering his way through a high-speed chase.

Here's the thing — we're used to brutish Bonds like Craig and suave ones like Brosnan, but Liam Neeson could have balanced both of these traits like no other. Combine with his raging relentless from "Taken" with the sophistication he displayed in "Schindler's List," and there'd be a perfect balance of Bond that we, unfortunately, never saw called into action. 

State your case for your number one 007 as much as you want, but Neeson could've beaten them all.