Welcome to my April A-Z! This month I will be posting about James Bond 007 every day except Sunday, mostly focusing on the movies, not the books. Enjoy!
Q stands for Quartermaster, which is a job title (like M). Ian Fleming created the Q character to be the head of Q Branch/Division, the fictional research and development department of the British Secret Service. Q doesn’t appear in the original novels, but is referred to indirectly. However, this Bond film fan loves scenes with Q, where Q explains to Bond how to use his latest gadget, but Bond is distracted by a pretty girl or feigns boredom. Finally, in exasperation, Q utters his trademark line, “DO pay attention, double oh seven!” Of course, Bond IS actually paying attention, since later in the film he will use one of the items Q gave him to escape from some sticky wicket. Another long-running trope centers around Bond inadvertently destroying one of Q’s inventions during a mission, and Q takes that personally.
Q has appeared in 21 out of 24 of Eon-produced Bond movies and had a role in both non-Eon films. At first, in Dr. No (1962), the gadget guy is introduced to us as Major Boothroyd, but beginning in Goldfinger (1964) and thereafter, he is referred to as “Q.” In The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), however, he is referred to as Major Boothroyd again. Why? Who knows! Just go with the flow. Q does not partake in direct action, except in two films: Octopussy (1983) and License to Kill (1989) In LTK, Q actually joins Bond in the field after Bond goes rogue to pursue vengeance.
Several actors have played Q. Peter Burton had the role in Dr. No, where he appears briefly to switch out Bond’s gun. Burton later made non-Q appearances in Thunderball (1965) and Casino Royale (1967). Desmond Llewelyn (RIP) had a long run as Q, from 1963 to 1999. John Cleese, Ben Whishaw, Geoffrey Bayldon, and Alec McCowan took on the role after Desmond’s last time in The World Is Not Enough (1999). Desmond was actually in more Bond films than any actor who played Bond himself ~ 17 films in total. Q did not have a part in the first two Daniel Craig Bonds (2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace), and Craig said that he hoped that Q would return. He did! In the next film, Skyfall (2012), Q reappears, played by Ben Whishaw. When Bond meets him, he expresses concern that Q is so young, but new-Q proves his mettle. Ben will return in 2021’s No Time To Die.
Tune in tomorrow for more A-Z Bond!
Information and images from Wikipedia, James Bond Wiki, and Pinterest.
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