According to the BBC Ben Whishaw’s agent has confirmed that the actor will play Q in the next Bond film, Skyfall. His role had previously been kept under-wraps and at the Skyfall press conference earlier this month he was simply announced as part of the cast, but now it looks like he’ll be helping Daniel Craig out with some gadgets.
Q is the head of Q Branch (or later Q Division), the fictional research and development division of the British Secret Service. Desmond Llewelyn played the role for 36 years, first in 1963’s From Russia With Love and in every subsequent Bond film, except Live And Let Die, until his death in 1999. In Llewelyn’s final Bond film The World Is Not Enough John Cleese played his assistant known as R, but in Die Another Day he was given the Q title.
Q was absent from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, most likely because the producers wanted to strip Bond back a bit and cut out some of the cliches we’d come to expect from a Bond film (Shaken or stirred? “Do I look like I give a damn?“).
Ben Whishaw taking on the role will be a clear departure from previous incarnations. Whishaw is 31, so he’ll be younger than Bond (Craig is 43) and he’s unlikely to have become head of Q Division at this stage. I can’t see him being the comic relief like John Cleese was, so they’re probably going the ‘young tech savvy genius’ route. I can’t see the gadgets being too outrageous either (like the invisible car in Die Another Day) as it would go against the new dark/gritty setting they’ve already established.
Filming is currently under-way on Skyfall under the direction of Sam Mendes. As well as Daniel Craig and Ben Whishaw the movie stars Javier Bardem, Dame Judi Dench, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney. Mendes said the storyline will take 007 to London, China, Turkey and Scotland, and it had “”all the elements of a classic Bond movie, including – to quell any rumours – lots of action”.
In SKYFALL, Bond’s loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.