The James Bond series continues to boast an impressive array of actors who have played recurring characters in the 007 franchise, but only one performer has the record for appearing in the most. It's not Daniel Craig, whose most recent portrayal of James Bond in No Time To Die was only his fifth installment, and it's officially his last. And though both Sean Connery and Roger Moore portrayed 007 in seven movies each, neither ranks among the actors with the most appearances in the James Bond series.
The cast members with a more substantial presence in the James Bond franchise are those who played three of 007's closest colleagues at MI6, namely the characters known as M, Q, and Miss Moneypenny. These characters have appeared in most of the Bond films, from their start in the early 1960s through to 2021's No Time To Die. Two such actors with a high number of appearances were Bernard Lee, who played the part of M in 11 007 films, holding onto the role until his death in 1981, and Lois Maxwell, who portrayed Moneypenny in 14 installments, albeit with a total screen time consisting of less than two hours.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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The actor with the most appearances in the James Bond franchise was Desmond Llewelyn, who played the part of Q, quartermaster of the MI6 lab, in 17 films spanning four decades. Llewelyn's wisdom as an actor seamlessly flowed into his portrayal of Q to mark comical clashes with the handsome Pierce Brosnan or dashing Sean Connery. He dominated the 20th-century era of 007 and gave the series a level of continuity that no other actor has managed to achieve. Viewers could always feel at home when Llewelyn introduced the 007 agents -- five of the seven -- to an exciting collection of gadgets as well as a sparkling and ingeniously adapted BMW or Aston Martin, ready for Bond's adventurous spy missions. Llewelyn's final scene as Q came in 1999, alongside his new assistant, R (John Cleese), in The World Is Not Enough.
Llewelyn's untimely death in 1999 from a car crash came just weeks after his last Bond film's release, and his character's role as Q in MI6 went to Cleese's. His 17 appearances in the franchise continue to be unmatched, with only Michael Wilson's cameos coming particularly close: 16 appearances between 1964 and 2015. Wilson could continue to appear in future Bond films and exceed Llewelyn's record; the reason his appearances are so numerous is due to his position at Eon Productions, the company that continues to make the official James Bond films. Still, Wilson could never take away from Llewelyn's legendary impact on the franchise and the spy movie genre more broadly.
The actors with the most James Bond franchise appearances made their marks in earlier installments, while new versions of M, Q, and Moneypenny and new actors in the roles have taken over in the past few decades. While the next James Bond actor is still yet to be cast, whether that performer can reach Llewelyn's respected status is unlikely and discouraged. Llewelyn's highly-regarded 17 appearances as Q in the James Bond movies have offered the series a kind of nostalgia that would be hard to match and probably shouldn't be.