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Napoleon Solo

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Title: Napoleon Solo  
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Subject: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Illya Kuryakin, Robert Vaughn, The Spy with My Face, Botticelli (game)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Napoleon Solo

Napoleon Solo
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. character
Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo
Portrayed by Robert Vaughn (television series)
Henry Cavill (film)
Gender Male
Occupation Secret Agent
Nationality American

Napoleon Solo is a fictional character from the 1960s TV spy series Cold War.


  • Background 1
  • Personality 2
  • Afterlife 3
  • Film 4
  • References 5


The character was created by [1]

Solo is Number One in Section Two (Operations and Enforcement) at U.N.C.L.E. (During the show's black & white first season, the number on his official badge was the Roman numeral 'II,' signifying that he was the head of Section Two. But when the show went to color the following season, Vaughn picked up the new colored badge with "11" on it, and the mistake was never corrected.) It was originally intended that Solo would be the primary focus of the series, however the unexpected popularity of the Russian agent, Illya Kuryakin, played by David McCallum, saw McCallum elevated to co-star status. Most of the episodes devote equal screen time to Kuryakin and Solo, and much of the success of the program was based on the chemistry between McCallum and Vaughn.


The two characters are, in many ways, polar opposites. Solo is urbane, self-assured, sociable, charming, and laid-back. Kuryakin, on the other hand, is reserved, intellectual, and intense. Although little was revealed about his background or his partner's, Solo comes across as the more accessible and straightforward of the two men.

He dressed well and had a taste for expensive suits and ties. His hairstyle and his clothing did not change in the first three seasons but in the fourth and final year, Vaughn (like McCallum) grew his hair much longer and wore modish clothing, such as double-breasted suits, in order to reflect evolving 1960s fashions that the show itself had influenced.

In "The Secret Sceptre Affair", it is stated that Solo served in the [1]

Like Bond, Solo is a serial womanizer. In the first season's press guide, Solo's democratic view of women is described in words paraphrased from [1]

His charm and social skills are his most potent weapons, allowing him to manipulate almost every situation to his own advantage. He is keenly aware of his abilities in this area. When in "The Candidate’s Wife Affair" Kuryakin sees him romancing a woman and asks in exasperation “Don’t you ever turn it off?” Solo responds, tongue in cheek, "When you’ve got it, you’ve got it; I’ve got it." But there is a certain idealism at the heart of his character. In "The Giuoco Piano Affair", a THRUSH operative offers this summary of Solo's character --

"For a man like you, if there's the smallest doubt in your mind, no matter how insignificant the cause, you have to make the ultimate sacrifice. Your respect for what you think is right is your weakness."

Solo is also an indefatigable optimist who rarely, if ever, countenances the idea that he might not succeed in everything he attempts. He also keeps a cool head at all times and is utterly unflappable, even in the most dire or life-threatening situations. Unlike his Russian associate, he rarely exhibits anger or loses his temper.


The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was cancelled mid-way through its fourth season in 1968. Vaughn reprised the role of Solo for a TV movie The Return of the Man from UNCLE: The Fifteen Years Later Affair, in 1983.

The character has enjoyed a rich afterlife in fandom, particularly in fan fiction. In the 1988 comic Shattered Visage, made as a sequel to the spy show The Prisoner, Solo and Kuryakin both make cameos at the funeral of a spy, along with John Steed and Emma Peel.

The Danish SKA band Napoleon Solo[2] and Spanish indie-pop band Napoleon Solo[3] are named after him, while El Paso post-hardcore band At the Drive-In have a song named "Napoleon Solo" on their album In/Casino/Out.


Henry Cavill portrayed Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a 2015 feature film adaptation of the TV series of the same name, having replaced Tom Cruise after Cruise declined the part in order to work on what became Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.[4][5][6]

In the film, Solo is a former World War II soldier, war profiteer and thief. It is revealed that after being prosecuted for his crimes and given a five-year prison sentence, he was recruited by American intelligence in exchange for his freedom.


  2. ^ "Site of SKA band Napoleon Solo". 
  3. ^ "Site of Spanish indie-pop band Napoleon Solo". 
  4. ^ Kroll, Justin (May 28, 2013). "'Man of Steel' Star Henry Cavill Eyes Lead in WB’s 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  5. ^ Alexander, Bryan (June 4, 2013). "'Man of Steel' star Henry Cavill needs nerves of steel". USA Today.
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 18, 2013). "Tom Cruise Eyeing 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' With Guy Ritchie At Warner Bros". Deadline Hollywood.
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