As if fans didn’t know already, Bond producers have finally confirmed that the famous quatermaster of MI6 who has supplied 007 with gadgets galore will be returning in Skyfall. Q is coming back. Ben Whishaw will be putting a youthful spin on the iconic character made famous by Desmond Llewellyn in seventeen Bond films.
Whishaw playing Q has been rumored for months. It got to the point that it was just a given by fans, so this announcement does not come as much of a surprise. The only thing it did was make 007 fans say, “oh yeah, I knew that”.
I’m completely unfamiliar with Whishaw. Someone told me he’s done a decent amount of acting, mainly in television. He appeared in two films starring Daniel Craig (Layer Cake and Enduring Love). I wonder if Craig had some kind of influence with his casting. Either way I don’t know much about him.
The absence of Q has not gone unnoticed by Bond fans. Llewelyn’s final appearance in the role was in 1999’s The World Is Not Enough before his death later that same year. Ironically, the film groomed his assistant ‘R’ played by John Cleese. He would go onto to play the Q role in 2002’s Die Another Day. Although I never really thought of him as Q. To me it was just John Cleese in a Bond movie.
Since then Q has been absent in the two Daniel Craig Bond films and fans have been wondering if he would ever return. Director Sam Mendes has been describing Skyfall as a ‘classic Bond movie’, so the inclusion of the character seems like it would be a key ingredient to make that truly happen.
Having the character come back is a welcome sight to me. I always like the recurring characters in the Bond films and Q has always been a standout. The scenes with Llewellyn might have been short, but they were always eagerly awaited and entertaining. It was always a great to see him again and a kick to see what kind of gadgets he came up with to hand out to Bond.
Based on the tone the Craig films have been following I’m not sure Q will be portrayed as such a light, befuddled fellow who is going to exchange quips with Bond. Just looking at the photo of Whishaw as Q, he looks to be a much more serious, focused character. My guess is that he won’t be working on boombox grenade launchers or magnetic wrist watches.
If I had to bet I would say he’s going to be more of a computer geek working on tracking satellites and breaking codes to unlock security systems and that kind of stuff. But granted that’s just based off a picture I’m looking at. They could be taking him into a whole different direction and will use the character to inject ‘the fun’ some fans say the Craig films have lacked.
It will be interesting to see how this Q and Bond will interact. Will Q and Bond make off hand sarcastic jokes aimed at each other? Will Q be respectful towards Bond? Will Bond view this young geeky kid as a joke? Will this Q be in a workshop with a lot of outlandish gags going on in the background? Can anyone picture Craig’s Bond riding in a crocodile submarine?
One thing I’ll predict is that when Skyfall does finally get released inevitably comparisons between Whishaw’s and Llewelyn’s Q’s will be made. There’s no getting around it. It’s going to be really difficult to not think of Llewelyn in the role after he played the part for thirty six years.
Every interview Whishaw will give Llewelyn’s name will come up. Recasting the character was going to happen at some point. Hopefully the film and Whishaw will have a different enough take on the character that they can make him feel fresh, fit into the Craig films nicely and have this Q stand on his own.
Whatever they plan on doing with the character I just hope he helps to service the story and is an interesting character that Bond works with, perhaps begrudgingly.
Now fans will just have to await to see if Miss Moneypenny shows up….