When the James Bond films received a reboot with the dawn of the Daniel Craig era, one of the characters left out of Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace was Q, the Quartermaster to Her Majesty's Secret Service, a role made famous by Desmond Llewelyn and most recently filled by John Cleese who appeared as Q's assistant, R, in The World is Not Enough and was later promoted to Q in Die Another Day.
Now, Q is back, with the producers of the forthcoming Skyfall confirming the role will be played by Ben Whishaw in the 23rd (plus Never Say Never Again) instalment to the Bond franchise.
They're good gags and they're worth telling again. But we have to learn to tell them in a new way.
The character's return also suggests a welcome revival of Bond's sense of humour as well, with Q usually the foil for witty exchanges and mechanical mishaps. At the time of the release of Quantum of Solace, Daniel Craig spoke to Fairfax of his hope that Q would return to the Bond franchise, along with the famous gadgets and associated gags.
"It's not that we'll put them in self consciously, that's the real key I think," Craig revealed. "It's to find a way to get them back into the movies. They should work. They're good gags and they're worth telling again. But we have to learn to tell them in a new way."
A prominent stage and television actor in the United Kingdom, Whishaw is best known to audiences for playing John Keats in Jane Campion's Bright Star opposite Abbie Cornish, and also played one of the Bob Dylan characters in the critically acclaimed film I'm Not There.
Skyfall producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in the statement announcing the casting that "it's a real thrill to confirm the return of Q in Skyfall played by the enormously talented Ben Whishaw. We are delighted to have this beloved character back in the series."
Sam Mendes, the Oscar winning director of American Beauty is directing Skyfall which sees Bond's loyalty to M (played by Dame Judi Dench) tested once more, as her past comes back to haunt her as MI6 comes under attack.
- Sydney Morning Herald