Baron Samedi is a fictional character from the James Bond novel and film, Live and Let Die. In the novel, Baron Samedi is a voodoo figure with whom Mr. Big has chosen to identify himself with to inspire fear among his followers. In the film, he was a separate character and henchman to Mr. Big. In the film he was portrayed by actor Geoffrey Holder.
In the novel Live and Let Die, Baron Samedi is described as the voodoo spirit of darkness and death. No such character appears in the novel, although many people in Harlem and elsewhere believe the novel's chief villain, Mr. Big, to be a manifestation of Samedi himself or perhaps his zombie. Mr. Big encourages this beneficial belief by keeping a Baron Samedi totem near his desk.
Baron Samedi is first introduced as a so called entertainer who does a voodoo dance act for tourists, when Bond arrives at the island on which most of the action takes place. The announcer introduces Samedi as an "immortal", though obviously neither Bond nor the viewer seem to think much of it at the time.
In the film, Baron Samedi is perhaps the most enigmatic villain/henchman the cinematic Bond has ever faced. The character is an ambiguous one, and the audience cannot tell if he is the Voodoo god Baron Samedi himself or simply a human who has assumed Samedi's identity. Contributing to the mystery is the fact that Samedi seems to operate as an aide to Doctor Kananga, aka Mr. Big, but is not entirely under his control. In one scene, for instance, as Kananga interrogates Solitaire (the film's main Bond girl), Samedi engages in an odd ritual of burning Tarot cards. The ritual seems to convey a sinister message to Kananga and Solitaire, and although it irritates Kananga, he refuses to put a stop to Samedi's card-burning.
Near the end of the film, Baron Samedi is apparently killed twice (the first appears to be a mechanical dummy) after Bond throws him into a coffin full of snakes (Samedi could have faked his death throes). But just before the end credits roll, at the point when Bond typically has achieved total victory in the Bond films, we see Samedi riding on the front of a speeding train laughing demonically, further suggesting that he is in fact a supernatural character, a first (and so far only, besides Solitaire) for the Bond films.
Samedi has never reappeared in any subsequent Bond film, unlike the henchman Jaws or the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, but neither has the series endeavored to solve the mystery of Samedi's nature. Since Samedi's last appearance was more than three decades ago, the mystery will likely remain unsolved.
Video game appearances
Samedi appears in The Duel as one of the cloned bosses in Stage 2.In the video game, GoldenEye, Samedi appears as a boss in an unlockable mission separate from the main plot as well as the game's multiplayer. In the game, Bond is sent to the ancient el-Saghira temple in the Valley of the Kings in response to a letter sent by someone claiming to be Baron Samedi. Additionally, Samedi claims to have possession of Francisco Scaramanga's Golden Gun.
Bond is sent to retrieve the legendary weapon and defeat a cackling Baron a total of three times before completing the mission. In the cutscene that follows, Bond strides down a corridor of the temple with the Golden Gun in hand. Just as he is about to leave, Samedi emerges from the shadows and laughs. However, he can be killed a fourth time during the cut scene using a glitch, but this does not result in any new cut scene.
- In the video game Fur Fighters a character very similar to Samedi, known as Odebah Bear appeared as a mini boss.
- The character is inspired from the loa Baron Samedi, a popular Voodoo figure.
- A character in Shadowrun Returns uses the alias and and likeness of Baron Samedi.
- Geoffrey Holder, Samedi's actor, died in October 2014 due to pneumonia complications.