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Mr. Vargas is a villain who appears in both the Ian Fleming novel Thunderball and its 1965 film adaptation. While the character's role in the novel was relatively minor, for the big screen adaptation he becomes one of Emilio Largo's more prominent henchmen. In both, he is portrayed as a killer with stoical devotion to SPECTRE. The character is played by Philip Locke.

Novel biography

In the 1961 Ian Fleming novel Thunderball, Vargas is one of around forty SPECTRE operatives under the command of Emilio Largo. He only briefly appears in Chapter 9, Multiple Requiem, with his name mentioned in passing in the subsequent chapter. The character is notable for being the man who coldly kills Giuseppe Petacchi, the Italian pilot who is bribed to hijack the Vindicator bomber and its atomic payload.

"[The mechanic] reached into his overalls and took out a packet of Camels. He offered one to the killer [Vargas], who took it, broke it carefully in half, put one half behind his ear and lit the other half. The killer was a man who rigidly controlled his weaknesses."
Ian Fleming.[src]

A short, thick man with a very direct gaze, his distinguishing feature is a stoical professionalism and rigid self-control. In the novel, these characteristics are shown to not be unique to Vargas and apply to the entire Disco Volante crew.

Film biography

After spotting him in the casino, Vargas is properly introduced to 007 by Largo while visiting the latter's estate at Palmyra. Largo offers Bond a Rum Collins, and illustratively prepares to hand Vargas one, before using the opportunity to mention Vargas' complete abstinence from alcohol, tobacco or sex. Unlike the novel, this characteristic is unique to Vargas and emphasizes his total devotion as a killer.

"For you? Of course. Vargas does not drink. Does not smoke. Does not make love. What do you do, Vargas?"
Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi).[src]

A few days later, he kidnaps Bond's assistant Paula Caplan at their Nassau hotel with the help of Janni and Fiona Volpe. While interrogating Caplan, Vargas goes too hard which Ladislav Kutze protests causing her to slip a cyanide pill into her mouth. Later, Volpe waits for Bond in his suite, keeping him occupied until her assistants arrive. Leaving for the Junkanoo, Bond opens the door to come face-to-face with Vargas and Janni. Slamming the door shut, he turns to find Volpe holding a gun on him. They take him captive.

Thunderball - Vargas gets the point

Vargas "gets the point".

Later, as Bond reveals the fate of Domino's brother, François Derval, Vargas arrives and observes the pair from a distance. As Vargas screws the silencer onto his sidearm, he is spotted by Domino, who calmly comments “Vargas is behind you”. Bond slowly but smoothly picks up his spear gun and impales Vargas on a tree.

"I think he got the point."
James Bond (Sean Connery).[src]

Behind the scenes


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