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REMEMBERING Q


One of the most popular movie characters to hit the big screen is a secret agent named James Bond. By all accounts, the character and his adventures had been very popular with the movie-viewing public. Although this secret agent often operated alone in the movies, there were other recurring characters that would be the staples in the James Bond franchise.

One of the well-remembered characters in most of the James Bond movies is Major Boothroyd, played by actor Desmond Llewellyn. Boothroyd is always referred to by his code initial “Q”. He made his debut in the movie From Russia with Love. He is credited for providing James Bond with the devices that would ultimately save his life on many occasions and always come out the worse for wear and tear The British Secret Service has what is known as the “Q” Branch, which is the abbreviation to Quartermaster. This branch provides James Bond, and other agents, with special devices and gadgets that would be used in most of the James Bond movies. They range from tracking devices to modified cars that either have machine guns or have the ability to swim like submarines, as was the case in the movie The Spy who Loved Me.

In most of the movies, Q is forever frustrated with James Bond because he never takes his work seriously, does not totally pay attention to Q’s debriefing, and never returns the gear and gadgets back in their original condition from the field. In most of the James Bond movies, Q is always seen trying to debrief Bond, and for the benefit of the movie audience watching, on how to operate the devices he is to be issued. Most of those gadgets end up being total write-offs in the field.

It should be interesting to note that of all the regular characters and recurring ones, including the villains, the most popular character was not James Bond himself but Q. Both the character and the actor were forever favorites amongst the James Bond fans. Actor Desmond Llewellyn himself even attended many James Bond functions and was very popular and well liked by the fans he meets in person. The fans always sympathize with the character because James Bond seldom takes him seriously and he always seldom returns the gear and gadgets in their original condition. In the movie The World is not Enough, Q introduces James Bond to his nephew, played by actor John Cleese, who was slated to work in the Q Branch. What was unknown to both the cast and the fans was that this would ultimately be Desmond Llewellyn’s last movie. Following the movie’s release, Desmond Llewellyn died in a car accident. His funeral was attended by thousands of diehard James Bond fans. This left the actor’s family deeply moved. Among the very few actors who attended the funeral were Roger Moore and Samantha Bond.

When Roger Moore played the role of James Bond for the last time in A View to a Kill, he stated that one of the many things he would miss about leaving the role of James Bond was leaving Q. When the movie Die Another Day was released in the big screen, John Cleese took over the role of Q from then on. He had a very big pair of shoes to fill in that role. What was probably the most insulting to the fans was that the movie was not dedicated to actor Desmond Llewellyn. By that time, the James Bond franchise was beginning to lose its appeal and become stale with the movie viewing public, especially its fans. Many dedicated James Bond fans will contend that when Desmond Llewellyn died, much of the magic and appeal of James Bond went with him to his grave. In many ways, they could be right. I actually believe that Desmond Llewellyn was simply irreplaceable.

Actor Daniel Craig now plays the role of James Bond. The secret agent constantly faces danger in every turn. Unfortunately for the secret agent, he does not have the service of Q. The bad guys can easily make dog-meat out of James Bond.

This entry is dedicated to the memory of Desmond Llewellyn. He will be missed by James Bond fans everywhere.

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