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Mr. Big/Dr. Kananga
Character from the James Bond franchise
Dr Kananga Mr Big by Yaphet Kotto.jpg
Affiliation SMERSH (novel)
Black Widow Voodoo Cult (novel)
San Monique (film)
Portrayed by Yaphet Kotto

Mr. Big is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the James Bond novel and film Live and Let Die. In the film, Big is portrayed by actor Yaphet Kotto. The novel and film versions of Mr. Big are extremely different, with the film incarnation bordering on being a completely new character altogether.


Novel biography

In the novel, Mr. Big's name is actually an acronym for Buonapart Ignace Gallia, his real name.His nickname also comes from the fact that he is 6ft 7inches[200cm]tall and weights 220 pounds[100kg]. He is forty-five years old. Big was born in Haiti and is half Black, half French. He got involved with Voodoo cult as a child, and eventually began making his living as a truck driver in Port-Au-Prince. Afterward, he emigrated to the U.S.A. and started working as a alcohol smuggler in a gang. When Prohibition ended he moved to Harlem and bought half of a share in a small nightclub. His partner was found in a barrel filled with cement in Harlem river in 1938, Big by default becoming the sole owner. Mobilized in 1943, he was posted to Marseilles due to his fluent French by the OSS. Probably trained in Moscow as a Soviet agent after World War II, Mr. Big then returned to Harlem in 1950 and entered the nightclub business as a front for more sinister operations. According to M, Mr. Big is one of the most powerful criminals in the world. Head of the "Black Widow Voodoo Cult", Big is believed by many of his subordinates to be a zombie controlled by Baron Samedi, the voodoo god of death and darkness; his greyish skin, the result of a diseased heart, lends plausibility to this belief. Big is also a member of SMERSH.

Mr. Big has discovered, and is engaged in excavating, the treasure trove of Sir Henry Morgan in Jamaica. Smuggling the valuable gold coins into Florida, he then has his agents sell them on to unsuspecting buyers as a means of laundering the treasure. He then uses the cash from the sales to finance the Soviet espionage machine in America.

Learning of this operation, Her Majesty's Government unleashes James Bond on Mr. Big after the events of Casino Royale, allowing Bond to exact his revenge on the organization SMERSH. Bond places a limpet mine on Big's yacht, the Secatur, sinking it. Although Big survives the explosion, he is killed moments later by a swarm of barracuda and sharks. He and his remaining henchmen are devoured while Bond watches.


  • The Whisper
  • Tee Hee Johnson
  • McThing
  • Sam Miami
  • The Flannel
  • Blabbermouth Foley
  • The Robber

Film biography

In the film, Mr. Big is a businessman and owner of a chain of restaurants in New York City and New Orleans called "Fillet of Soul". Big is also the head of one of the most vicious street gangs in Harlem. On the fictional tiny island of San Monique, Big is known by his actual name: Dr. Kananga. Kananga is the de facto dictator of the island and thus has certain diplomatic immunities in the United States, allowing him to easily smuggle drugs into the country.

Kananga stands out as a Bond adversary due to the supernatural aspect of his villainy. He uses a psychic kept girl, Solitaire, to tell the future; has an ally in Baron Samedi, who appears to be the genuine voodoo God of the Dead; and it has been implied that he, himself, is at least twice the age he appears to be, since he also used the powers of both Solitaire's mother and grandmother, before both lost their powers by losing their virginity.

Kananga grows vast quantities of heroin in San Monique that are covered by large camouflage nets and guarded by the mystical Baron Samedi. Using the poppies, Kananga hopes to flood the U.S. market with heroin distributed through his alias Mr. Big's legitimate restaurants for free, thus forcing other drug dealers out of business. In doing so, he believes that he would double the number of addicts, which he would be able to exploit with his new-found monopoly.

Big is thwarted by his former voodoo high priestess, Solitaire, and James Bond. During the climax, Bond fights Mr. Big, with both of them falling into a pool of sharks. At the conclusion of the fight, Bond forces Mr. Big to swallow a bullet of compressed air (from a Q Branch shark gun), which unloads inside Kananga, causing him to inflate, float up to the ceiling like a balloon and explode. Beforehand, Bond's friend Felix Leiter and his partner, Quarrel Jr., had already destroyed the poppy fields with timed explosives.


  • Tee Hee Johnson
  • Baron Samedi
  • Whisper
  • Adam
  • Rosie Carver
  • Small force of footsoldiers in red teeshirts and black trousers


Chris Nashawaty argues that Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big is the worst villain of the Roger Moore James Bond films. Critics also noted that Kananga's demise was arguably the most disgusting defeat of a Bond villian.[1]


  1. ^ Chris Nashawaty, "Moore...And Sometimes Less: A look at the most--and least--memorable bad guys, babes, and Bonds in Roger Moore's 007 oeuvre," Entertainment Weekly 1025 (December 12, 2008): 37.

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