Alec Trevelyan: From MI6 Agent to Bond Villain
Alec Trevelyan, once MI6 Agent 006, is a complex character from the James Bond universe. Initially an ally, he deceivingly fakes his death, adopts the pseudonym ‘Janus,’ and establishes a Russian criminal syndicate.
Brought to life by Sean Bean, Alec Trevelyan is the formidable antagonist in the 1995 film, GoldenEye, and reappears in its novelization and GoldenEye 007 video game.
Background and Faking His Death
Like Bond, Alec Trevelyan was an orphan recruit for the British Secret Intelligence Service, and he ascended the ranks to become Agent 006, forging a close bond with fellow agent, 007, James Bond.
Trevelyan proved his mettle in stealth, manipulation, martial arts, marksmanship, and language proficiency. But beneath the surface, he harbored a deep resentment towards the British government fort he way it treated his family.
In 1986, Alec and Bond undertake a mission to obliterate the Arkhangelsk chemical weapons facility. However, in a conspiracy with Soviet Colonel Arkady Ourumov, Trevelyan stages his own death during this mission.
As Trevelyan and Bond are surrounded by Ourumov’s men, Alec pretends to surrender, only to be seemingly shot in the head. However, 007’s successful escape and destruction of the facility leaves Trevelyan disfigured and presumed dead.
Presumed dead, Trevelyan establishes a criminal enterprise, using the alias Janus, after the two-faced Roman god symbolizing beginnings and endings.
His revenge plan against Britain involves commandeering a covert Soviet space weapon, GoldenEye. With the control key and a duplicate control center in Cuba, Trevelyan plots to rob billions from the Bank of England and redistribute the wealth to other organizations.
Afterward, he intends to obliterate all financial records with an electromagnetic pulse from GoldenEye, covering his tracks and ultimately crippling Britain’s economy.
Investigating the activation of one of the two GoldenEye satellites by General Ourumov and Trevelyan’s accomplice, Xenia Onatopp, James Bond journeys to St. Petersburg, Russia.
To locate Janus, Bond connects with former KGB officer and current mafia leader, Valentin Zukovsky. Unaware of Janus’ true identity, Zukovsky reveals Janus to be a Lienz Cossack.
After Bond arranges a meeting via Zukovsky, Janus sends Onatopp to kill him. However, Bond overcomes the assassin and forces her to lead him to Janus.
In a shocking revelation at a memorial park, Janus reveals himself as Alec Trevelyan, and a dumbfounded Bond is unable to act. Trevelyan explains his motives, admitting he considered recruiting Bond, but knew his allegiance would ultimately lie with Britain.
Enraged, Bond attempts to shoot Alec Trevelyan but is incapacitated before he can. Bond and Natalya Simonova, a witness to Trevelyan’s plot, are then trapped in a rigged helicopter set to self-destruct. Quick thinking allows Bond to eject them both before the explosion.
Soon, Russian soldiers capture Bond and Simonova. After Ourumov frames Bond for the murder of Russian Defence Minister Dmitri Mishkin, he kidnaps Simonova and aims to meet Trevelyan on a Soviet Missile Train.
Even though Bond, in a T-55 tank, pursues them, Ourumov manages to bring Simonova aboard the departing train. A dramatic confrontation ensues with Trevelyan, culminating in a standoff and Bond’s narrow escape from a self-destructing carriage.
Bond and Simonova later trace Trevelyan to a concealed satellite control center in Cuba’s jungles. After downing their plane, Trevelyan sends Onatopp to scout for survivors, who ultimately meets her end at Bond’s hands.
Infiltrating the control facility, Bond and Simonova are caught shortly after, and using his 00 training, Trevelyan disarms Bond’s explosives. Unaware of a rigged pen in the possession of programmer Boris Grishenko, the control room is partially destroyed when the pen detonates, providing Bond and Simonova with a chance to flee.
With Boris Grishenko left to rectify Natalya Simonova’s sabotage at gunpoint, Trevelyan heads to the Antenna to manually activate the satellite. As James Bond follows, Trevelyan corners him above the satellite dish, igniting an intense hand-to-hand combat.
While both fighters hold their own, Trevelyan gains the upper hand. Beaten, bloodied, and nearly incapacitated, Bond hears Alec Trevelyan’s taunts about being the superior fighter. In response, Bond latches onto and triggers a retractable escape ladder to dodge Alec’s gunfire.
Trevelyan then signals a helicopter for evacuation. And as the fight rages on, culminating with a grinning Trevelyan choking Bond, Simonova hijacks the helicopter, and Bond uses the opportunity to outmaneuver and overpower Trevelyan, who slips but is caught by Bond.
In retribution for Alec Trevelyan’s brutal betrayal, Bond releases his former friend’s boot, sending him plummeting to the dish below. After the initial fall, Trevelyan clings to life, only to be crushed by the falling debris from the collapsing structure above.
British actor, Sean Bean, born Shaun Mark Bean on April 17, 1959, originally dreamt of becoming a professional footballer, but an injury redirected him towards acting. After completing school in 1975, he worked in various roles before enrolling at Rotherham College of Arts and Technology. His passion for acting emerged, leading him to win a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1981.
Bean’s early career blended stage and screen work, notably appearing in an advertisement for Barbican non-alcoholic lager and as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1986 to 1988. He started to make his mark in British television during the late 80s and early 90s with roles in The Bill, Clarissa, and Inspector Morse.
In 1996, Sean Bean lived his childhood dream by playing for Sheffield United in the film When Saturday Comes. He gained international recognition after appearing as Bond villain Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye (1995). Other notable roles include the part of Boromir in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Bean has also appeared in Season 1 of Game of Thrones as Lord Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark. He earned a Royal Television Society and BAFTA Best Actor awards for his role in Accused, and won a BAFTA award for Best Actor for the BBC series Broken. More recently, he won a 2021 BAFTA TV Award for his role in Time.
In addition to acting, Bean has lent his distinctive Yorkshire accent to commercials, movies, and popular video games such as GoldenEye 007 and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.