This is somewhat related to another question I've asked.
A common tradition of early Christian literature is that Jesus had a core group of twelve disciples (Mark 3.14-19; Matthew 10.1-4; Luke 6.13-16; John 6.67; Acts 1.13,26; 6.2; First Corinthians 15.5; Revelation 21.14).
The Synoptic Gospels preserve a tradition that Jesus had a sort of 'inner circle' among these twelve, consisting of Simon Peter and the two sons of Zebadiah, James and John (cf. Mark 5.37; Matthew 17.1; Luke 8.51), who Jesus allows to accompany him to otherwise private moments.
Paul and Acts, however, introduce some curious information.
Acts maintains a degree of the unique quality of Peter and John (e.g. Acts 3.1-4,11; Acts 4.13,19; 8.14). However, the first time James the son of Zebadiah is mentioned beyond the list of twelve (Acts 1.13), it is when he is executed by Herod Agrippa (12.2)... and then immediately after this (12.17) a different James is brought into the narrative without introduction, despite apparently being a significant leader in the Jerusalem church (15.13; 21.18).
Paul acknowledges the tradition that Jesus had a core group of twelve disciples (1 Corinthians 15.5), and that Jesus' brother James was a significant leader in the Jerusalem church (1 Corinthians 5.7; Galatians 1.19)... but very curiously associates him with Peter and John (Galatians 2.9).
To summarize my thoughts, it seems a terrific coincidence that the Synoptics, Acts, and Paul each mention a triad of men named Peter, John, and James, and yet 'James' was two completely different men. If a reader conveniently missed the death of one James in Acts 12.2 right before another is mentioned in the same chapter, it would be very natural to conflate the two as one individual (different fathers notwithstanding).
Has there been any scholarly talk over this unusual coincidence? If so, what reactions have there been?
I assume some would suggest we take the accounts at face value, that it really is just a coincidence. But I expect others might have something more to say (e.g. that Acts 12.2,17 is an awkward attempt at stitching together two separate Peter-John-James traditions).