Sean Maguire has ditched the bow and arrow for a license to kill.
The actor, who played Robin Hood on Once Upon a Time, will appear as Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels, on NBC’s upcoming time-travel drama Timeless, EW has learned exclusively. In the fourth episode, titled “Party at Castle Varlar,” the heroic trio led by historian Lucy (Abigail Spencer) will encounter Fleming early in his pre-Bond career, when he served as an undercover British agent behind enemy lines.
Executive producers Eric Kripke (Revolution) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield) wrote Fleming into the story when they decided to feature Nazi Germany for the hour. “We knew we couldn’t just do a war movie, so where we landed was, ‘Alright, then let’s do a spy movie,’” Kripke tells EW. “We needed a spy in Germany to help our heroes and bring them into this world… and we turned to our historian, and he said, ‘Let me work on it,’ and then he comes running in the room an hour later and says, ‘Ian Fleming was there!’” Laughing, Kripke adds, “So, quickly, we realized our World War II story was really a James Bond movie, and we had the real James Bond.”
The real James Bond will take an interest in Lucy and her team’s mission when they wind up in the wartime era while chasing terrorist Flynn (Goran Visnjic), but Maguire’s guest role won’t be the only significant historical figure taking center stage in a Timeless adventure. Each episode will follow the team to a new point in history — the time-travelers can’t return to a time they had already traveled to — and introduce real-life stories people may not have read about before.
“I was really intrigued by the idea of having a story engine that would allow us to tell different kinds of stories each week,” Ryan says, while teasing some of the future stops. “Our pilot, which deals with the Hindenburg, is a kind of disaster movie. When we go to World War II in Germany, that’s a spy story. When we go to Watergate in the ’70s, that’s a conspiracy story, and the Las Vegas, Rat Pack story is an Ocean’s Eleven kind of thing.” In other words, expect mini-history lessons every week with an added cinematic flair — and without any of the homework.
Timeless premieres Monday, Oct. 3, at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.