Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean)

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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


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. 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.


In 1986, 006 was paired 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.


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. Through ex-KGB operative, Valentin Zukovsky, he arranges a meeting with representatives of the Janus crime syndicate, unaware that it is headed by his former colleague. After a tense reunion, 007 and Natalya Simonova (a witness to Trevelyan's scheme) are bound and placed in a stolen helicopter rigged to destroy itself. They narrowly escape using the aircraft's ejection system and are captured by the Russian authorities.

After attempting to frame Bond for the murder of a Russian government official, General Ourumov is ordered by Trevelyan to kidnap Simonova and rendezvous at his armored train. Despite initially escaping, Bond manages to intercept the train and derails it using a Russian T-54 tank. Boarding the train, Trevelyan traps Bond for a second time in one of the carriages.

"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]

Blaming Bond for his disfigurement, Trevelyan sadistically informs him that the carriage is rigged to explode and wishes him luck cutting his way out. The timer had been set for the same amount of time Bond had given him to escape; exactly three minutes.

The downfall of Trevelyan

Before escaping the train, Bond and Simonova trace the location of the GoldenEye control antenna to Cuba. Infiltrating Trevelyan's control facility, the two split up; Bond attempting to plant explosives and Simonova hacking the GoldenEye's guidance systems. Shortly after completing their objectives they are captured and brought to Trevelyan. Using his experience as a 00 operative, he casually disarms Bond's limpet mines. However, unbeknownst to Trevelyan, his programmer Boris Grishenko had begun fumbling with an explosive pen which Bond had been provided with by Q-branch. He unknowingly detonates the pen, destroying the computer controls and several fuel tanks; providing the distraction for Bond's escape.

Goldeneye - Trevelyan hanging over the dish

Trevelyan hangs over the Uplink Dish.

Leaving Boris in the unenviable position of attempting to reverse Natalya's interference at gunpoint, Trevelyan proceeds to the Antenna itself to activate the satellite manually. 007 pursues him and he uses an escape ladder to avoid being shot but at risk of falling off the antenna meanwhile Alec Trevelyan watching James calls for a helicopter to come pick him up.

Alec corners Bond above the satellite dish and engages him in a frenzied fist-fight. Although the two seem evenly matched, but Trevelyan quickly overpowers him. Exhausted, bloodied and virtually disabled by the duel, Trevelyan goads to James that he was always a better fighter than him. Bond tries to escape just as Trevelyan tries to shoot him. He ends up hanging directly from the antennae. 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.

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 him plummeting to the dish below. Although barely clinging to life after the initial fall, the falling debris from the disintegrating structure above 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.


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, 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. 


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.



  • 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.


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

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