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"For England James."
― Alec Trevelyan to James Bond[src]

Alec Trevelyan was a former 00 Agent of Don Cossack descent and head of the Janus Crime Syndicate. He serves as the primary villain of the 1995 film GoldenEye and was portrayed by British actor Sean Bean.

Formerly 006, he faked his death at the Arkangelsk Chemical Warfare Facility, commandeered by General Ourumov, and became a criminal mastermind hellbent on avenging his parents and the rest of the Don Cossacks who perished as a result of the British betrayal at Lienz.

Film biography

Upbringing

Following the Second World War, the anti-Bolshevik Cossack brigades whom had collaborated with the Germans fled into Austria to escape the advance of the Red Army. In Austria they surrendered to the British Army on the promise that they would not be sent back to the Soviet Union where the harshest of punishments would await them. Despite the promise, the British decided to forcibly repatriate them and their families to the Red Army where many were promptly executed and the remainder were sent to Gulags including women and children. The largest Cossack group was the Don Cossacks who had settled in the Austrian town of Lienz. In Lienz, the Cossacks violently resisted their betrayal, with many committing suicide rather than being repatriated. In the chaos of the fored repatriation, many Cossacks were able to escape their fate, including the parents of Alec Trevelyan, but they like many other survivors still felt the guilt of leaving behind their comrades. The few Cossacks whom survived Gulags were released under the Nikita Khrushchev regime. The survivors of the forced repatriation continued to harbor resentment towards the British for their perceived betrayal.

The Trevelyans survived the ordeal and Alec Trevelyan was born. Several years later, however, his father murdered his mother and then committed suicide; "unable to let himself or [Alec's] mother live with the shame of it". As with Bond, Alec was now an orphan.

Unaware that he knew the truth, MI6 took Alec Trevelyan into their service and trained him to be an agent of the government that had betrayed his parents. Trevelyan rose quickly through the ranks of MI6 to gain 00 status and the number 006. He became close friends with fellow MI6 agent 007 James Bond and they teamed up on many missions together. His skill set included stealth, manipulation, superb skills in martial arts and hand-to-hand combat, expert marksmanship and also a talent in several languages. However, Trevelyan began planning his revenge against Britain for their involvement in his people's suffering.

Janus

In 1986, 006 was paired again with 007 and the two were tasked with destroying the Soviet Arkhangelsk chemical weapons facility. It was on this mission, conspiring with Soviet Colonel Arkady Ourumov, that Trevelyan staged his own death. In the course of the mission, the two are surrounded and 006 is supposedly taken prisoner at gunpoint. Under the pretense of allowing 007 to surrender, Ourumov gave him ten seconds to come out. On reaching one, Alec was shot.

Bond escaped the facility shortly afterwards and succeeded in destroying the facility by setting limpet mines with a three minute fuse. Trevelyan had not anticipated that Bond would change the detonation fuse from the agreed upon six minutes. Although he narrowly escaped death, the right half his face was left horribly disfigured by the explosion.

Now supposedly dead, he founded a criminal organization under the pseudonym of Janus (the two headed Roman god of beginnings and endings) and set in motion a plan to take revenge against Britain. His scheme involved hijacking a secret Soviet space weapon, codenamed GoldenEye. With the weapon's control key in his possession and a duplicate control center in Cuba, Trevalyan planned to steal billions of dollars from the Bank of England and transfer the money to other organizations before erasing all of its financial records with an electromagnetic pulse generated by the GoldenEye satellite, concealing the theft and destroying Britain's economy.

Reunion

Goldeneye - Trevelyan reveals himself

Trevelyan reveals himself to Bond.

Assigned to investigate the detonation of one of the two GoldenEye satellites, Bond travels to St. Petersburg, Russia in search of the culprits. To find Janus, Bond meets crime boss and ex-KGB officer Valentin Zukovsky.

Onatopp drives Bond out of the city, into a open field where all kinds of statues are stored. Spotting the Tiger helicopter amidst the statues Bond journeys towards it. While Bond walks through the ruins he is approached by Janus who reveals himself to be Alec Trevelyan. Not believing his eyes, Bond lowers his weapon. Trevelyan sarcastically asks whether Bond would like to make his typical witty comeback, but Bond is too shocked.

Although not knowing Janus' identity, Valentin reveals to Bond that Janus' is a Lienz Cossack. Through his criminal ties Zukovsky manages to reach out to Janus and tells him to meet Bond at the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg. Janus sends Onatopp to dispose of Bond but Bond manages to overpower her and forces her to bring him to Janus. Calling Bond "Her Majesty's loyal terrier", Alec reveals that he had enough of risking his life, toppling dictators only to return home and find that everything he risked his life for had changed. Bond claims that this was the job they were chosen for but Alec disgustedly remarks that he knew Bond would say something like that. He then tells Bond to drop his gun, stating that he is insulted because Bond really thought that Alec had not expected Bond's every move.

Shocked, Bond lowers his gun. He tells Alec that he trusted him and asks how MI6 could miss that Alec's parents were Lienz Cossacks. Alec reveals that MI6 knew of his identity, explaining that while his parents survived the British betrayal and Stalin's execution squads, Alec's father couldn't let himself or his wife live with the shame of letting their people die, which lead him to commiting murder-suicide. MI6 then took in Alec, expecting that the six year old boy would not remember his parent's deaths. Alec also blames Bond for his disfigured face, as Bond reset the timers. Bond claims that he did so to save Alec, but Alec responds that he didn't want Bond to save him but to die for him. He casually mentions that he initially wanted to ask for Bond to join him, but deep down he knew that Bond would be loyal to his country and not to his friend. Furious and disappointed, Bond then tries to shoot Alec but is shot with a sleeping dart by one of Alec's hidden henchmen.

007 and Natalya Simonova (a witness to Trevelyan's scheme) are bound and placed in a stolen helicopter rigged to destroy itself. Alec sets the helicopter to shoot it's missiles at itself but Bond is able to eject both of them out of the helicopter before it explodes.

Bond and Natalya are soon taken into custody by Russian soldiers. After attempting to frame Bond for the murder of a the Russian Defense Minister Dmitri Mishkin, General Ourumov is ordered by Trevelyan to kidnap Simonova and rendezvous at his armored train. However, while Ourumov manages to flee with Natalya Bond escapes and enters in a Russian T-54 tank driving it through St. Petersburg in pursuit of Ourumov. Ourumov eventually manages to enter Alec's converted missile train which drives off almost immediately. Inside, Alec thanks Ourumov for the "gift", as Natalya is now in his custody and unable to reveal his plans. However, he reveals his anger about Bonds escape. He then approaches Natalya, telling her that he and Bond shared everything. He attempts to rape her but Natalya breaks free and slaps him. They are then interrupted when Bond drives his tank on the rails, intending to derail the train. Alec orders a henchmen to keep the train at full speed, to ram Bond's tank. However, Bond uses the tank to shoot at the train, killing the driver as well as blasting the front cabin. The driverless train crashes into the tank and derails, knocking everyone inside off their feet. After a short moment of dizziness, Alec realises what's going on. He crouches towards his gun but Bond steps on it, forcing him backwards. Although he is unarmed Alec is not impressed, stating that Bond has no way to escape and that Alec has the only bargaining chip, Natalya. He orders Ourumov to bring her to them and the general enters the cabin with Natalya at gunpoint.

Bond tries to drive a spike between Alec and Ourumov by revealing that Alec is a Lienz Cossack. Ourumov is startled and Bond uses this to swiflty turn around and shoot him in the head. This however gives Alec and Onatopp the second they need to flee from the train wreckage and and lock all doors. Alec and Onatopp then escape in a helicopter. 
"Good luck with the floor, James. I've set the timer for six minutes, the same six minutes you gave me. It was the least I could do for a 'friend'."
― Trevelyan taunts Bond over the loudspeaker.[src]
 While they fly off, Alec uses a walkie to contact Bond and tell him that he rigged the train with explosives. After gleefully telling Bond that he set the timer to the same six minutes Bond gave him, he cuts the connection, leaving Bond and Natalya behind. 

Before escaping the train, Bond and Simonova trace the location of the GoldenEye control antenna to Cuba

The downfall of Trevelyan

While flying over a lake while searching for the base, Bond's plane is shot by a missile that comes straight out of the lake and crashes into the forest. After the crash, Alec sends Onatopp in a helicopter to search for survivors. She is defeated and killed by Bond, who now knows that Alec's base is located inside the lake.

At the base, Alec tells his programmer Boris Grishenko to heave the base out of the lake in order to start the operation. Grishenko claims that the satellite would be in range in six minutes so it is too early to prepare the dish and he is not ready, but Alec angrily orders him to do it anyway. After the base has emerged, Alec hands Boris the GoldenEye, threateningly telling Boris that it better be working. While Boris makes the final preparations, Alec is handed a tablet by one of his henchmen and watches footage of Bond and Natalya sneaking onto the base. He sends his men to deal with Bond and orders Boris to have the GoldenEye satellite target London.

Infiltrating Trevelyan's control facility, the two split up; Bond attempting to plant explosives and Simonova hacking the GoldenEye's guidance systems. With the base at high alert, Bond is forced to shoot many of Alec's men while advancing to the main control room. Providing a distraction to allow Natalya to flee in order to hack into the system, Bond gives himself up after activating a hidden explosive charge near a gasoline tank. Bond is brought before Trevelyan who examines Bond's belongings. Using his experience as a 00 operative, he takes Bond's watch and examines it and deactivates the explosive charge Bond had planted. Being kept prisoner at the base's main chamber, Bond watches the nearby computer screens and realizes that Alec intends to hack into the Bank of England to transfer all the money electronically, moments before setting off the GoldenEye and thus erasing every trace of the transaction. Alec reveals that his plans are far greater than that, since the GoldenEye will also erase the banks financial records and destroy the United Kingdoms economy, all to satisfy his revenge for his family's demise.

Eventually, Natalya is also captured and brought before Alec. Boris is delighted to see Natalya but she furiously headbutts him, attacking him until she is restrained by guards. At that point Bond spots Boris' habit of spinning a pen when he is nervous. Alec then sends Boris back to his computer to check whether Natalya has done any harm hacking before she was captured. Big-mouthed, Boris brags that Natalya does not have his skills and would be unable to hack into the GoldenEye but is proven wrong when an alarm goes off, stating that GoldenEye is about to reenter earth's atmosphere which would cause the satellite burn up upon re-entry. Boris tries to hack back into the system while furiously clicking the pen. Unbeknownst to Boris, Bond had exchanged Boris' pen with his own explosive one and thus Boris accidentally arms the pen. Bond senses an opportunity and knocks down Boris, who drops the pen near the gasoline canister, causing it to blow up. Fuelled by the gasoline and the explosive charge Bond set earlier, the explosion destroys almost the entire control room.

Leaving Boris in the unenviable position of attempting to reverse Natalya's interference at gunpoint, Alec sets off to hunt down Bond, who has decided to sabotage the antenna hanging over the base. Their duel starts with a convoluted shootout, but eventually both men's rifles are empty. 007 pursues him, but Alec ambushes Bond and engages him in a frenzied fist-fight in the confined space. Although the two seem surprisingly evenly matched, Trevelyan overpowes him. Exhausted, bloodied and virtually disabled by the duel, Trevelyan holds Bond at gunpoint and goads to James that he was always a better fighter than him. Before he can shoot however, Bond kicks open a trap door underneath him and drops down onto the antenna. Running out of bullets, Trevelyan calls for a helicopter then goes down. Bond and Alec fight continuously, which ends with Alec choking James, smiling maniacally. Just as the helicopter pilot is taken prisoner by Natalya Simonova, James uses the distraction to out think and overpower Trevelyan. Losing his footing, Trevelyan falls but is grabbed by Bond.
Goldeneye - Trevelyan hanging over the dish

Trevelyan hangs over the Uplink Dish.

Trevelyan: "[hanging over the dish] For England, James? "
Bond: "No. For me. [lets go of Trevelyan's boot] "
―Bond and Trevelyan's last exchange.
In revenge for Trevelyan's callous betrayal, letting go of Trevelyan's boot, 007 sends his former friend plummeting to the dish below, knowing he was too dangerous to be left alive. Although barely clinging to life after the initial fall, the flaming debris of the antenna falls down directly on top of him and Trevelyan can do nothing to save himself as it finishes the job by crushing him to death.

Later, the entire base explodes, killing Boris Grishenko and the rest of the Janus Crime Syndicate. This time, Alec Trevelyan, 006, double agent, evil genius and James Bond's old friend and teammate stays dead.

Physical Appearance and Characteristics

Alec's hideous scarring

Alec's scarring caused by the explosives.

"You know, James, I was always better."
― Alec, thinking he won.

The former "00" underwent the standard MI6 training procedure while working for "Her Majesty's Secret Service" and was physically on par with Bond himself. Even nine years after defecting from MI6, Trevelyan still managed to keep his body at its physical peak. Due to the rigorous training placed upon him, Trevelyan was in perfect physical condition and had superb aim & agility while also being able to carry himself as refined and elegant. He is a skilled leader and able to take command of the Janus Crime Syndicate and also has strategic talents when it comes to making plans for the future.

Alec Trevelyan was a cold-hearted psychopath. He was immoral, resourceful, cunning, diabolical and highly intelligent. Trevelyan had a dark, sarcastic and cynical sense of humor, going so far as to mock James for things he had already said - especially the things he said at the time that Alec faked his own death. He was extremely sophisticated, in terms of speech, appearance, surroundings and equipment, his eccentricity only breaking at the time of his final confrontation with James Bond.

Alec was cunning, pitiless and deceitful, with enough skill and confidence to double-cross his best friend and his employers at MI6 so that he could enact his revenge. Alec was extremely confident in his own talents, as he gloats to James that he was always better than him in a fight. Alec was sadistic and immoral, taunting James about his scenario of 'Your friend, or the mission' when James confronts him on the train.

AlecOnatop

Trevelyan with Onatopp

Alec's dissonant serenity had limits: His self-control finally dissolves when his plans are foiled by Bond and Natalya, and he reacts violently to Boris Grishenko, going so far as to ruthlessly demand a soldier to kill Grishenko if he tried to escape. Also, he showed anger when participating in his shootout with Bond. This is possibly an element in his massive final fistfight with Bond, as both of them were on equal levels of anger and revenge, but Trevelyan still prevailed over pure skill and the will to turn on his old friend one last time.

Trevelyan was also an expert in hand to hand combat and was more than capable of holding his own against Bond during their climatic battle. His fighting style is based on cunning, stealth and psychological warfare. This is possibly due to his elite military training in advanced forms of unarmed combat and military strategy at MI6, and he possibly developed his skills even further over the next nine years and easily defeats Bond during their fight. He was also an expert with several firearms: He carries an AK-74 assault rifle during the assault on Arkhangelsk, and also wields a Davis Mp.4 k-9d Mk.9 automatic pistol during his duel with James Bond.

Trevelyan rather dramatically opted to dress himself in well tailored suits, mirroring 007's own tastes in fashion, although Trevelyan preferred darker colors. While Trevelyan was overseeing the Bank of England robbery, he wore a black combat suit similar to the one he wore during his 006 days.

When Trevelyan attempted to stage his own death at Arkhangelsk, the right side of his face was severely scarred in an explosion caused by Bond. This further deepened his hatred towards Bond, because Trevelyan believed that if Bond had set the detonation timers for six minutes instead of three, he would have escaped the facility unharmed. This further embittered him against Bond, but also inspired his code-name, Janus: The two-faced Roman god who rained fire down on those who betrayed him.

"I might as well ask if all the vodka martinis ever silenced the screams of all the men you've killed, or if you ever found forgiveness in all those willing women for all of the dead ones you failed to protect.

- Alec Trevelyan to Bond  

Despite that they were probably very good friends in the past, Trevelyan makes several, quite cutting, personal remarks aimed at Bond as a person. The above quote might have been a reference to Bond's wife Teresa, who was tragically murdered on their wedding day in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but the subject is not touched on again. This is a trait which had never been seen to such an extent in previous villains. Alec also belittles Bond's devotion to duty, stating that he had even considered inviting James to join in his scheme, but didn't, guessing that he would prioritize loyalty to MI6 over friendship. 

Henchmen

Game appearances

Goldeneye 007 (N64)

Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye 007 (1997)

Sean Bean's Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye 007.

In the 1995 Nintendo N64 video-game, GoldenEye 007, Trevelyan plays a very similar role to that in the film. He once again meets with Bond in the Chemical Warfare Facility and is 'killed' by Ourumov. In the Statue Park, ex-KGB agent Valentin Zukovsky arranges Bond's meeting with Janus at the Statue of Lenin. Bond stands by the statue and is soon confronted by Trevelyan and his bodyguards, where the traitorous spy informs Bond of the British government's betrayal towards his parents and how he plans to take revenge.

Bond then finds out that Trevelyan had kidnapped Natalya Simonova and has left her by the stolen Pirate helicopter, which is primed to explode in three minutes time. Before Bond can kill Trevelyan, he runs away and his bodyguards attempt to stop Bond from pursuing him.

Trevelyan reappears aboard his Converted Missile Train along with Xenia Onatopp and General Ourumov (who is holding Natalya at gunpoint). Bond kills Ourumov and saves Natalya, but Trevelyan and Xenia take this opportunity to escape. Trevelyan then travels to Cuba and attacks Bond in both the Janus Control Centre and the Subterranean Caverns, but Natalya manages to redirect the GoldenEye's path of alignment away from London while Bond destroys the master control console. Trevelyan then climbs to the Antenna Cradle suspended high above the control centre, where a back-up control console is situated. The villain uses this to realign the GoldenEye in a final attempt to destroy London, but Bond reaches the cradle himself and destroys the console. He then engages in a fierce gunfight with Trevelyan and chases him throughout the cradle, finally confronting his former ally on a small round platform and killing him.

Behind the scenes

Sean Bean had previously auditioned for the role of James Bond in The Living Daylights. Sam Neill was also considered as were Mel Gibson, Mark Greenstreet, Lambert Wilson, Antony Hamilton, Findlay Light and Andrew Clarke. In addition, Pierce Brosnan - who would eventually play 007 in GoldenEye opposite Bean - was offered the role, but lost out due to his contractual obligations to Remington Steele.

For the confrontation between Bond and Trevelyan inside the antenna cradle, director Campbell decided to take inspiration from Bond's fight with Red Grant in From Russia with Love. Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean did all the stunts themselves, except for one take where one is thrown against the wall. Brosnan injured his hand while filming the extending ladder sequence, making producers delay his scenes and film the ones in Severnaya earlier.[1]

Alec Trevelyan is believed to have been named after John Trevelyan (1903-1986), a former head of the then British Board of Film Censors. Under Trevelyan's stewardship, a number of the early Bond films had to have cuts to gain a A rating allowing for the film to be seen by children accompanied by an adult, as opposed to an X rating that would limit viewership to over 16s.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Trevelyan's death scene is considered the greatest death of a Sean Bean character in film.
  • Alec Trevelyan is one of the very few Bond villains with convoluted and/or compelling personalities, as well as motivations and opinions that the audience can understand and relate to.
  • Alec Trevelyan is the first in a hugely developing series of villains in the James Bond franchise with proper motivations and genuine personalities as opposed to megalomaniacal lust and are considered more modern and realistic than previous main antagonists.
  • Despite his good performance, the choice of Sean Bean to play a character with this background creates something of an enigma. The events which precipitated the death of Trevelyan's parents would have been around fifty years before those of Goldeneye, while Bean would only have been in his mid-thirties, making the actor far younger than his character.

References

  1. Martin Campbell, Michael G. Wilson. GoldenEye audio commentary. MGM Home Entertainment.

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