This question is inspired by the recent news of Lashana Lynch taking over as 007.

Did the 007 position within MI6 begin with James Bond or did he take it over from a previous agent?

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    Although not in the original Fleming novels, it does appear that other 00 agents have been replaced see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/00_Agent So in the universe of James Bond, it certainly seems possible that another agent could be 007 either before or after Bond. Jul 17, 2019 at 16:55
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    If you want to delve into the real world, 16th-century royal advisor John Dee was known to sign sensitive documents to Queen Elizabeth with '007', meaning for her eyes only. The 00 looked like eyes, with the number 7 generally considered good luck.
    – Eric Soyke
    Jul 17, 2019 at 17:19

3 Answers 3


That depends on the source

According to the wiki, Bond is the only 007 in Ian Fleming's Bond stories:

James Bond is the only agent 007. In the novel You Only Live Twice, Bond was transferred into another branch and given the number 7777, suggesting there was no active agent 007 in that time; he is later reinstated as 007 in the novel The Man with the Golden Gun.

But the Bond stories from Anthony Horowitz's novel, he takes it from another agent:

In Anthony Horowitz's continuation novel, set before the events of Casino Royale, an unnamed agent 007 is murdered, which leads to James Bond taking over the code-number in Forever and A Day, thus marking his first ever assignment as a 00-agent.

It's never explicitly said in the movies, but the first Eon Production Films 007 movie was Dr. No (1962) which is an adaptation of Ian Fleming's novel, so we can safely assume that the movies have the same backstory as the novels.

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    There is no proof of it of course, but there is also the fan theory that each actor is actually a different Bond, the prior one having retired from the field or er... been retired in the field, just not on camera for us to watch.
    – Baldrickk
    Jul 16, 2019 at 12:57
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    @Baldrickk If for no other reason than the fact that Bond in 2018 is somehow younger than he was in 1962? Jul 16, 2019 at 13:53
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    Actual numbering is 007a, 007b..
    – TaW
    Jul 16, 2019 at 15:36
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    @Baldrickk That theory doesn't really hold water. Many times throughout the series we get references that point to the fact that it is the same person.
    – theblitz
    Jul 16, 2019 at 18:13
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    Actually - there's a clear indication that every bond from lazenby to dalton are the same bond- Moore gets his revenge on a wheelchair bound, and uncredited Blofeld in for your eyes only, for the death of Tracy Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and Tracy Bond is referenced in Licence to Kill and Spy who loved me Jul 17, 2019 at 6:07

The spy designation 007 dates back to well before the time of Ian Fleming.

Queen Elizabeth I used spies, as did most people in power in those days, and one of these was a colourful character called John Dee who had the code name 007: vide http://www.woe.edu.pl/content/dr-john-dee-original-007

It is thought that Ian Fleming chose 007 for his spy from reading about John Dee.


Alec Trevelyan played agent 006 in Goldeneye, which clearly implies the numbers are sequential and incremental.

So its reasonable to assume that there are have been least 6 other double-0 agents and potentially more afterward.

Horowitz's book (Trigger Mortis) is not a Fleming book, but it "draws inspiration from unpublished notes" and therefore has less "authority" or credulence than Fleming's own words. However there are only 12 Fleming novels and 9 short stories published in the Canon from which to draw. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_James_Bond_novels_and_short_stories )

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    I think you misunderstood the question. OP was not asking about 001-006. OP was asking about 007a, 007b, etc.
    – Evorlor
    Jul 17, 2019 at 23:10
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    The existence of 006 doesn't seem to imply that the numbers are sequential and incremental. Maybe each agent gets to choose their own number, for example. Jul 18, 2019 at 12:24
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    @Segfault It doesn't imply it at all. "A implies B" means that, if A happens, then B must happen also. It is not true that, if there is a 006, the numbers must be sequential and incremental. The existence of 006 is consistent with the hypothesis that the numbers are sequential and incremental but you can't say anything stronger than that. Jul 18, 2019 at 20:28
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    it's funny people are stuck on the word implies, the fact that there was a 006 to me this is a clear indication of sequential numbering
    – Huangism
    Jul 22, 2019 at 18:33
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    When I saw GE in the theater (as a teen), the conclusion I immediately reached re: 006 was that their having adjacent numbers was a coincidence meant by filmmakers to bolster the idea that James and Alec are unusually friendly colleagues -- really solid buddies, not merely fellow agents. It is absurd that agents' codenumbers would be assigned sequentially, because to do so would reveal to Britain's enemies how many agents HMSS employs! E.g. the Soviets would, like other commenters here, deduce that Britain has at least 7 top-tier spies. No spymaster would make such a careless blunder.
    – Tom
    Feb 5, 2022 at 5:03

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