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Out Of Every James Bond Movie, Only One Doesn't Feature M

Throughout its 25 films, the "James Bond" franchise has made itself known for following certain blueprints that make it stand out from other action franchises. Sure, there have been outliers that subvert what fans expect, like Daniel Craig's first outing as Bond in "Casino Royale," but as a whole, there's a certain formula that makes a "Bond" movie work. Usually, this includes unique and far-fetched gadgetry that Bond will use at some point during the movie to escape impossible situations, an eccentric or dastardly villain with world-altering motives, a love interest, and Bond's interactions with his boss and handler, M.

Even with "Casino Royale" and its Craig-centered follow-ups taking the franchise in a slightly different, more modern direction, these blueprints have mostly been upheld throughout. However, throughout the franchise's nearly 60-year run, there has been one "Bond" movie that took the interesting approach of not featuring the pivotal M character at all.

For Your Eyes Only decided it didn't need the M character

"For Your Eyes Only," which was the 12th film in the "Bond" franchise and the first one to be released in the 1980s, is the only film in the series that does not include the M character in any capacity. Instead, it sees the character of Bill Tanner (James Villiers) step into this role, though he's never referred to as M. As for the real-life reason, Bernard Lee, who had played the M character up until that point, died of cancer in early 1981 (via New York Times). Apparently, M had been included in the script, but the actor was too sick to film his scenes.

Either way, "For Your Eyes Only" remains the sole "Bond" movie to not feature the M character, and the reason is a sad one. The role of M continues to live on, however, recently being played by acclaimed actor Ralph Fiennes. Now that Daniel Craig's time as Bond has come to an end with "No Time to Die," however, who knows what direction the character of M and the franchise as a whole will go in.