In Casino Royale, Bond’s iconic gun barrel shot was replaced by a black-and-white cold open. In Quantum Of Solace, it was saved for the very end. In Skyfall, well, you’ll have to find out for yourself. But to whet your appetites, here are seven different pastiches of Maurice Binder’s iconic piece of title design, the best of a multitude of riffs on one of the most famous shots in cinema history...
First seen: Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)
Person shot: Jason Voorhees
The name’s Voorhees. Jason Voorhees. Where Bond has a Walther PPK, Jason has a machete; instead of a licence to kill, he has some seriously messed up mummy issues and an unstoppable desire to poke his victims with a large slice of metal. One of the many occasions Jason jumped (and probably killed) the shark, Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives began the series’ turning point, making Master Voorhees a zombie serial killer with supernatural powers rather than some sort of mortal superhuman. As part of that process, he occasionally breaks the fourth wall and takes large chunks of mick out of himself and other franchises. Exhibit A: Jason’s extra bloody gun barrel sequence (in the film, it takes place inside an eye), in which Jimmy Bond gets it in the neck (and other artery-filled body parts).
First seen: Muppets Tonight, Season 2, Episode 4 (1996)
Muppet shot: Clifford
When Pierce Brosnan hosts Muppets Tonight, you're going to get a lot of Bond gags. Marvel, then, as Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew come up with a variety of Q-like inventions for Mr. Brosnan – note: not James Bond, despite his dinner jacket – including a microphone that makes Beaker’s trousers explode, a deadly alarm clock that you fire from an enormous catapult and a high-powered laser-of-death cotton swab (which zaps straight through Brosnan’s noggin and into the wall, naturally). Despite Brosnan’s appearance on the show, the man (or muppet) who ends up in the gun barrel’s sights is the episode’s host, Clifford, who looks awkward and runs away – something you can see for yourself by jumping to 3.25 in the clip to the left.
First seen: The ‘Pantomime Horse Is A Secret Agent Film’ Sketch 1972
Person(s) shot: Pantomime horse
This 007-themed Python sketch starts with two clear Bond references before descending into beautiful, wonderful chaos. There’s From Russia With Love on the riverboat, a Goldfinger car chase which turns into a tandem bicycle race – take that, Top Secret! – which turns into a horses-on-horseback chase – take that, Inception – which turns into a rickshaw race – take that, um, Kung Fu Panda 2 – before a pantomime Princess Margaret and a pantomime goose attack the British pantomime horse, then the Duke Of Kent gets involved and it all gets rather silly, so they stop it. To give this utterly bonkers sketch a bit more context, it’s from an episode called Blood, Devastation, Death, War And Horror, which had other pantomime horse-based gags, including one where two fight to the death for a job as a merchant banker. This one, believe it or not, is the least weird.
First seen: Tearjerker, Season 2, Episode 10 (2008)
Person shot: Stan Smith
When your lead character, Stan Smith, is a special agent on a day-to-day basis, going one step further and turning an entire episode into a Bond spoof is practically unavoidable. So three seasons into MacFarlane’s Family Guy follow-up, Stan’s wife, Francine, becomes the comely temptress Sexpun T’Come, his sardonic alien housemate-cum-pet, Roger, becomes bad guy Tearjerker, and the rest of his family and friends fill up the ranks as Q, M and Moneypenny-a-likes until you finally get the picture: you’re watching 007 parody. The biggest clues are this gun barrel opening – "Wait, you're a gun? I thought you where an eyeball or something... Douche!" – as well as a teaser sequence where a British agent is killed, Union Jack parachute in hand, by Stan’s out-of-control snowmobile. Watch the whole thing for a remarkably on-the-nose You Only Live Twice pastiche, a golden pen that makes women’s breasts grow larger and Stan ordering a can of beer “shaken, not stirred” before it blows up all over his face.
First seen: Dear Consumer, Season 4, Episode 20 (2009)
Person shot: Santa Claus
Seth Green and Matthew Senreich’s stop-motion pop culture skewering device has made a fool of Bond many times, turning him into a Jewish superspy – “Do you expect me to talk, Goyfinger?” “No, Mr. Hashanah, I expect you to eat this BLT!” – and making him a pun-obsessed creep who gets dumped by Christmas Jones after one too many “dick the halls” gags. But though ‘Never Say Goy’ boasts a Star Of David-shaped gun barrel sequence, there’s something about an evil Santa Claus staring down a kitchen knife – no, really – that sticks in the memory. Dubbed ‘Santa Royale’, the sketch is notable for its Christmas-themed Bond credits sequence, which sees Ol’ Saint Nick firing sleighs from his gun, angels shooting snowflakes out of flamethrowers and, um, a robot chicken killing everyone. Then again, that’s what robot chickens do, so maybe it’s to be expected.
First seen: Spy Buddies, Season 5, Episode 84a (2007)
Person shot: SpongeBob SquarePants
From the twisted minds of Rocko’s Modern Life and The Ren & Stimpy Show comes the multi-media behemoth that is SpongeBob SquarePants, a wonderfully bizarre Nickelodeon kids’ show that has now produced over 200 episodes and amassed a Mariana Trenchful of cash through the sale of backpacks, lunchboxes and novelty kitchen sponges. With so many shows under their belts, it should come as no surprise that Squidward Tentacles and his brethren have indulged in a touch of Bond-age, though unfortunately at no point does anyone make a Mr. Krabs Key joke. That missed open goal aside, a straw-based gun barrel gag does come to pass, as well as some ingenious Q-like gadgets, including an underwater jet pack and a “Knock-Out Ray” which may or may not be an actual fish.
First seen: A Maggie Makes Three, Season 6, Episode 13 (1995)
Person shot: Homer Simpson
You’d think this Bond-inspired couch gag would be found at the beginning of the equally Bond-inspired episode, You Only Move Twice, in which Albert Brooks’ megalomaniacal villain (and hammock appreciator) Hank Scorpio gives Homer a new, seemingly perfect life in Cypress Creek. You’d be wrong. Used in three different Simpsons episodes, none of them particularly 007-themed, it’s just another couch gag in a long line of much-loved Simpsons couch gags. It was even used in the 500th episode, At Long Last Leave, as part of a couch gag montage, such was the affection for the blood-filled mickey take. For other instant Simpsons’ Bond funtimes, have a listen to the closing theme from You Only Move Twice and try not to sing “SCORPIO!” at least three times a day for the next 20 years.