Live And Let Die’s Baron Samedi is James Bond’s only supernatural foe – to date, at least. Despite James Bond author Ian Fleming favoring movie stars like David Niven for the role, a relatively unknown Scottish actor named Sean Connery landed the role of the suave spy in 1962’s Dr. No. The success of the movie would lead to the creation of one of the longest-running franchises in movie history.
Since Sean Connery departed the role following 1967’s You Only Live Twice – though he later returned for two further Bond outings – five other actors have inherited the role. While certain Bond movies are better than others, the series has the uncanny ability to adapt to each new generation and constantly reinvent itself. From the tongue-in-cheek fun of the Roger Moore era to the (relatively) grounded action of Daniel Craig’s Bond, the franchise always manages to keep itself fresh.
Daniel Craig is set to exit the series with the upcoming No Time To Die, which will mark his fifth outing. The longest-serving actor in the James Bond role is still Roger Moore, who started with 1973’s Live And Let Die and ended his run with 1985’s A View To A Kill, his seventh time in the role. Moore’s Bond went through a lot, from tossing Blofeld down a chimley to being shot into space, but he also faced the spy’s only real supernatural foe in Geoffrey Holder’s Baron Samedi in Live And Let Die.
Samedi is the Loa of the Dead and giver of life in Haitian Vodou religion, and in Live And Let Die the character is introduced dancing for tourists at a resort. This Baron is soon revealed to be something of a henchman for Yaphet Kotto’s villain though, there’s still something a little off about him – and it’s not just his eerie laugh. His real nature is revealed in the finale, where Bond has to rescue Jane Seymour’s Solitaire from being sacrificed at a voodoo ceremony.
Baron Samedi is seen rising from a grave, and James Bond later shoots him in the head with a magnum. His eyes are looking at the gaping wound in his own skull, and when Bond shoots again he crumbles like a clay figure. Another Samedi soon rises from another grave, and after a fight, Bond tosses him into a coffin loaded with snakes. That seems to be the end for Samedi in Live And Let Die, though he appears in the final shot of the movie – alive and well – sitting on the front of a train Bond and Solitaire are riding on.
While the James Bond franchise has dabbled with everything from space travel to invisible cars, it’s very rarely touched on the supernatural or horror in general. Live And Let Die’s Baron Samedi is a singular character in the franchise in this case, as the evidence seems to point to him being an otherworldly figure. He’s literally introduced as “The man who cannot die,” and the finale bears this out. It could be argued he’s still a flesh and blood man – maybe Bond really did shoot a very lifelike Baron Samedi figure, or that snakes in the coffin weren’t poisonous after all. The franchise never returned to the character so there’s no definitive answer, though it’s more fun to think he is the literal incarnation of the Voodoo God of Death.