Dr. Madeleine Swann is a fictional French psychiatrist originally affiliated to the Austrian Hoffler Klinik organization. She is also the daughter of the mysterious SPECTRE member Mr. White and the lover of Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6) operative James Bond. A major recurring character portrayed by French actress, Léa Seydoux, she first appeared in the 2015 film, Spectre, and returned in its 2021 sequel, No Time to Die.
Madeleine Swann was born to Mr. White and his now deceased wife. When she was a young child, she was very close to both her parents, as shown in the photos on the wall in Mr. White's secret room in the hotel L'Americain. In 1998, Lyutsifer Safin came to their house in Nittedal, Norway to kill White, but only found a young Madeleine and her mother Mrs. White From a closet in her house, Madeleine heard Safin murder her mother and hid under her bed as he turned his attention towards her. Madeleine, knowing her father kept a pistol hidden in a cupboard, got the gun and blindly shot Safin, breaking his mask. Madeline then dragged Safin's body out of the house, but before she could dispose of it, Safin reawakened and restarted his pursuit of her, forcing her onto a frozen lake. The ice cracked beneath her feet and she fell in, beginning to drown. However, Safin took pity on her and shot the ice before pulling her to the surface. He left soon after. Madeleine grew estranged from her father and his lifestyle as a callous and ruthless assassin, blaming him for her mothers death because of that incident, which leads to her running away from him to live with relatives of her mother in Paris and severing all contact with him. Madeleine also developed a dislike of guns. She later became a consultant in psychiatry, and as such, worked two years with "Medecins sans frontiers", before she went into hiding at the Hoffler clinic near Sölden in the Austrian Alps.
Meeting James Bond
After James Bond travelled to Austria to find Mr. White, White tells Bond to find Madeleine who will take him to L'Américain, which will in turn lead him to the people he is after. Bond finds her at the clinic where she works, but she is captured by Mr. Hinx first. Bond gives chase to the kidnappers, and their three cars crash. The two then make their escape.
The pair then meet with Q, who reveals that Marco Sciarra's ring contains trace elements linking Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the leader of the organisation, and Bond's three previous missions. Swann then informs them about the name SPECTRE, and that L'Américain is a hotel in Morocco.
Bond and Swann travel to the hotel and stay in the suite her father used to stay in every year. Swann there tells him about her troubled relationship with her father, to which Bond defends the deceased White, stating that White -in the poor health state he was in, when he was found by Bond -could have died weeks ago, but that Madeleine was the only reason that kept his heart beating until Bond arrived. As a drunken Madeleine wants to go to bed, she slips and falls into Bonds arms. However she doesn't want to become romantically involved with him, going as far as to threatening to kill him, should he touch her in her sleep. The next morning, Bond discovers White had built a secret room full of videotapes, charts and photographs, as well as maps and co-ordinates of where they go next. They travel to the nearest point a train will go, but are again attacked on the train by Mr. Hinx. Bond fights with him and Swann shoots several rounds from Bond's gun at Hinx. They all miss, but it gives Bond time to throw Hinx off the train by attaching a rope to his neck and attaching the other side to some barrels, which he hurls off the train, yanking Hinx off with them. She proceeds to sleep with Bond back in their cabin.
At the station, the two are transported to a facility in the desert, where they are met by Oberhauser, the son of Hannes Oberhauser, the man who looked after the younger Bond when he had just been orphaned. While torturing Bond with the Neurosurgical Chair, Oberhauser also informs him that Max Denbigh is part of SPECTRE, and he feeds all the intelligence data straight to the criminal organisation. Oberhauser then reveals to Bond that he now goes by the name Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He changed his name to one from his mother’s bloodline after faking his death 34 years ago. Bond and Swann escape with the help of Bond's exploding watch, destroying the facility in the process.
Final Showdown in London
Back in London, Bond and Swann meet M, Tanner, Q and Moneypenny, and they travel to arrest Denbigh and stop the launch of the Nine Eyes program. Swann tells Bond she does not wish to assist and they part ways. She is captured by Blofeld's men and taken to the old MI6 building, derelict since the attack by Raoul Silva.
Bond arrives at the former HQ and sees Blofeld, who was scarred in the explosion earlier, who tells him the building is rigged to explode in three minutes and that Swann is hidden somewhere within it. Bond finds her and the couple escapes by boat out onto the Thames. They chase Blofeld's helicopter and shoot it down. The helicopter crashes and Bond leaves Blofeld to be arrested by M and leaves with Madeleine.
The next day, Bond retrieves his old Aston Martin DB5 from Q and drives off with Madeleine.
Later, Swann and Bond are near the Acropolis in Matera. On that day, people are burning their secrets by writing them down and burning them. Bond asks Swann to tell him her secrets, upon which she says "I'll tell you mine when you visit Vesper's grave." The next day, Bond visits Vesper's grave and is ambushed by a bomb. Bond then escapes back to his hotel, accusing Swann of setting him up. Following this, Bond and Swann go on a car, where Blofeld makes a call to Swann that suggests Swann has given Bond's location away. While Bond is able to dispatch the enemies who attempt to kill him (and notably, try to kill Swann first), he sends Swann away on a train, saying he will never see her again. As the doors close, Swann's hand noticeably goes to her belly, indicating a desire to tell Bond about her pregnancy, but no longer having the immediate opportunity to do so. Swann keeps walking backwards on the train as it pulls out to keep him in sight.
Five Years Later
Approximately five years, Bond has gone into a quiet retirement in Jamaica, but is drawn back into his old life to investigate the Project Heracles conspiracy. In London, it turns out that Swann is Safin's psychiatrist. Safin makes his intention clear. In order to save Bond, Swann must kill Blofeld using the nanobots. While Swann is initially hesitant, she eventually agrees to put a Heracles targeted for Blofeld on her hands. While interrogating Blofeld, she unexpectedly runs into Bond. Bond extends his hand but Swann refuses to shake it, making Bond rather confused. Before seeing Blofeld, her hands shake so much that she leaves the room for "home," but not before James' hands brush against hers. James then inadvertently kills Blofeld by almost strangling him, causing the Heracles virus to be transmitted and killing Blofeld instantly. Blofeld reveals to James that Swann had never betrayed him -- in fact, Blofeld framed her.
Swann then returns to her childhood home in Norway, where it was that she first encountered Safin. Bond tracks her to the house, expressing his regret for having pushed her out of his life. Madeline replies that she knows he is "not built to trust," and Bond acknowledges that neither of them are. Just as they begin to kiss, the are interrupted by Swann's five-year-old daughter Mathilde. When Bond asks indirectly if the child is his, Swann repeatedly denies it, despite the obvious resemblance in eyes. Their reunion is short-lived when they discover Safin is hot on their tail. They take Madeline's SUV, where they are chased by Safin's henchman. At one point, Swann rescues Bond while he holds Mathilde by shooting an enemy. When Bond realized too many enemies are coming, he hides Swann in a bunker with Mathilde. While Swann is able to kill several henchman, Safin captures her and Mathilde.
Swann and Mathilde are taken to Safin's base, which contains many toxic chemicals. When Mathilde is grabbed away from Swann, Swann continues following Mathilde around, repeatedly warning Mathilde not to touch any of the poisonous flowers. Eventually, Swann is taken away, where she's ordered to drink a tea; however, recognizing the scent of the flowers added to this tea, she knows it will make her blind. When she fails to persuade Primo to change sides, she blinds him by throwing the tea into his eye and escapes, locking Primo inside her cell. When Bond finishes killing Safin's guards, she and Bond find Mathilde and Bond sends Swann and Mathilde on a lifeboat away. Swann and Bond share a farewell kiss, and Swann rides off, while Bond promises he would return to them quickly.
Thanks to Nomi's help, Madeleine and her child were able to quickly get to a small rocky shoal island that was at a safe distance from the island. After Bond is infected with Heracles by Safin, Swann talks with Bond. Swann says that all of her secrets are finally behind her with Safin's death, and they can now live happily ever after. Bond knows, however, that they will not be able to be together, as Safin has put a Heracles targeting Swann and Mathilde in Bond's blood. As Swann sees the missiles fly, she tells Bond that Mathilde is his, and bids him a tearful goodbye. After his death, Swann drives Mathilde into the distance, telling her the story of her father, James Bond.
As a psychiatrist and Mr. White's daughter, Madeleine Swann is a strong, rebellious and resourceful woman. She was able to hide and evade SPECTRE members, with the Hoffler Clinic providing a perfect hiding place. However, Madeleine was still traumatized by her past and that of her father, as evidenced by her perpetual hatred of weapons and the originally aggressive behavior she exhibited at the beginning of her relationship with Bond. Despite this, her abilities and indirect connection to SPECTRE have made her a safe and effective ally for Bond. Moreover, her courage and fearlessness are such that she was able to briefly resume handling a gun to save 007 from Mr. Hinx.
Behind the scenes
- "I don't consider myself a Bond girl. I think I'm not really the stereotyped Bond girl. I feel quite different. You can't be like, 'Oh, James.' You have to find something else. She's not a fighter, she's a doctor. She fights in another way."
- ― Léa Seydoux
- Madeleine is the first blonde leading lady since Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights.
- It is interesting to notice that, Léa Seydoux being French, "Madeleine" and "Swann" are probably references to Marcel Proust's novel "À la recherche du temps perdu", the madeleine being an important element in the first book, called "Du côté de chez Swann".
- Madeleine is the first Bond girl in the film series to be a mother as well as a mother to a child of James Bond.
- Madeleine is also the first Bond girl to appear in more than one film since Eunice Gayson, who, as Sylvia Trench, appeared in Dr. No and From Russia with Love, and Rubelvitch from The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy (though she appeared as a minor character in all three).
- However, Madeleine is the first Bond girl to play a major role in more than one film. Indeed, she is the main Bond girl for both films.
- Madeleine is the first and so far the only woman that Bond has truly fallen in love with and survived any of her appearances. The other two women that Bond fell in love with, Tracy and Vesper, were both killed at the end of their first movie.
- Madeleine references Vesper by name in No Time to Die. This marks the first time since Anya Amasova's reference to Tracy in The Spy Who Loved Me that a Bond girl has acknowledged the existence of a previous one, and the first time one has been referenced directly by name.
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- 2/26/15 — EmpireOnline — World First Look At Dave Bautista's Mr. Hinx In Spectre