Q is a codename for "Quartermaster". He is the head of the Q Branch, the MI6 Research and Development division, and provides James Bond and other MI-6 agents with all the weapons and gadgets that can come in handy for their dangerous missions.
- Code Name: Q is the code letter for "Quartermaster".
- Deadpan Snarker: All the Qs are snarky to some degree, but Ben Whishaw takes the cake in Skyfall and Spectre. Overall, Q consistently snarks at Bond and stealthily castigates him for repeatedly returning most of his equipment in pieces (or not at all).
- Expy: Of Charles Fraser-Smith, Gadgeteer Genius for the Special Operations Executive during World War II.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He provides MI6 agents with gadgets designed and built by his team.
- Meaningful Name: Refers to "Q-devices", the Special Operations Executive's technical term for spy gadgets, which in turn refers to "Q-ships", the disguised warships the Royal Navy used to protect supply convoys from German submarines during World War I.
- Mr. Fixit: When a piece of equipment is broken, it's Q who repairs or replaces it, although not without plenty of annoyed snark at Bond for breaking it in the first place.
- Put on a Bus: Like Moneypenny, Q was not part of the Continuity Reboot in Daniel Craig's first two movies, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. And like Moneypenny again, he was reintroduced in Skyfall.
- Shoe Phone: The reason Bond is the single most well-known user of such items in fiction, which spawned countless copycats and parodies. Listing and describing all the gadgets/weapons disguised as innocuous items that Q gave to Bond would take up the whole page.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Any scene Q shares with Bond inevitably turns into this.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He and Bond argue quite a bit, but Q's gadgets have saved Bond's life at least once per movie, proven by this line from Q in Licence to Kill.Q: If it hadn't been for Q Branch, you would have been dead long ago.
- Watch the Paint Job: A great number of the cool weaponized cars Q gives to Bond end up severely wrecked or utterly destroyed, very much to his annoyance.
Major Boothroyd (The Armorer)
Played by: Peter Burton
Appearances: Dr. No
The very first quartermaster in the film series.
- Arbitrary Gun Power: He accuses Bond's beloved Beretta 1934 of being underpowered, despite the .380 ACP M1934 being actually superior in stopping power to the PPK's .32 ACP chambering. This is because of the straight adaptation from the novel, where Bond's first gun in question was a Beretta 418 chambered in .25 ACP, the stopping power of which was indeed inferior to that of the PPK.
- Early Installment Weirdness: He's more of a gunsmith / weapons specialist than a Gadgeteer Genius, as the only thing he does is introducing the Walther PPK to Bond. Also, M never addresses him as "Q", calling for "the armorer" on his office's phone instead.
- Expy: While the other Q's are more or less based on Charles Fraser-Smith, this one was directly inspired by Geoffrey Boothroyd, a British firearms expert who gave advices about his field to Ian Fleming (the change from the Beretta to the Walther PPK, most importantly). The real Boothroyd was not a Major, however.
- Small Role, Big Impact: He's never heard of again once he leaves M's office, but he's the guy who provides Bond with his legendary handgun, the Walther PPK. note
- Tuckerization: Named after Geoffrey Boothroyd, the firearms specialist who advised Ian Fleming.
- Weapon of Choice: He introduces the PPK to Bond, saying that "the American CIA swear by them" and mocks Bond's beloved Beretta as "Nice and light... in a lady's handbag. No stopping power".
Major Boothroyd / Q
Played by: Desmond Llewelyn
Appearances: From Russia with Love | Goldfinger | Thunderball | You Only Live Twice | On Her Majesty's Secret Service | Diamonds Are Forever | The Man with the Golden Gun | The Spy Who Loved Me | Moonraker | For Your Eyes Only | Octopussy | A View to a Kill | The Living Daylights | Licence to Kill | GoldenEye | Tomorrow Never Dies | The World Is Not Enough
Certainly the best known Q. He appeared for a very long time, in seventeen out of the eighteen James Bond pictures released between 1963 and 1999 — Live and Let Die was the only film that didn't include the character in that thirty-six years time span.
- Ascended Extra: He was just the replacement for Peter Burton in From Russia With Love, with the gadgets he gives to Bond being relatively mundane and realistic in that film. In Goldfinger, he introduces the first (and still most iconic) Weaponized Car in the franchise and trades snark with Bond, and becomes a core character of the cinematic Bond mythos, having at least one gadget presentation scene per film afterwards, and additional appearances in some films.
- "Now, pay attention, 007!", when he's about to explain something to Bond (and the audience).
- "Now this, I'm particularly proud of!" crops up a fair bit, but doesn't really signify that a gadget is going to be more important than the others.
- If he's describing a Cool Car, he'll add that it has "All the usual refinements."
- He picks up "Grow up, 007!" in Brosnan's first two films.
- Character Aged with the Actor: Desmond Llewelyn's Q was the sole element that made the transition from the classic Cold War-era films to the Brosnan films due to his exceptional longevity in the role. To the point of officially taking his retirement both on the screen and out of it.
- Cool Old Guy: His age started to show in the late 1970s films, and, coincidentally, the gadgets he tested in his lab started becoming increasingly silly. He still enjoyed setting pranks to his hapless lab employees in old age, and kept providing Bond with the coolest and most cutting-edge gadgets till his retirement.
- A Day in the Limelight: In two films.
- In Octopussy, Q helps Bond break into the villains' lair and even stops a thug from killing some Octopussy's girls. They seem to be very grateful to him afterwards.
- In Licence to Kill, he goes against the MI6 hierarchy by taking leave to secretly help a now-rogue Bond in his quest for revenge in Isthmus, at the behest of Moneypenny. It speaks volumes on how he cares about Bond, and means he also gets to play a larger, more active role in the plot for once.
- Given Name Reveal: In The Spy Who Loved Me, Anya Amasova addresses him by "Major Boothroyd".
- Lost Food Grievance: In GoldenEye, he's quite annoyed when Bond grabs the sandwich he brought for lunch (but manages to take it back).
- Mad Scientist: He shows elements of this occasionally. Some of the gadgets during the Roger Moore era, such as an umbrella that closes like a Venus flytrap when wet, exploding bola ropes and a climbing pole fashioned from a snake charmer's basket that extended when played are just a few of the ideas he comes up with that take a special kind of madness to come up with.
- Passing the Torch: In The World Is Not Enough, Llewelyn's Q was planning to retire and appoint John Cleese's "R" as his successor, and was shown training him. "R" became the new Q in the next film. In a sad coincidence, Llewelyn was killed in a car accident a few weeks after the film was released.
- Plucky Comic Relief: He becomes one of the main humor-providing characters in Licence to Kill, probably the darkest and bloodiest Bond film before the Daniel Craig era. Moreover, his gadget presentation scenes often contain a gag.
- Put on a Bus: He doesn't appear in Live and Let Die for some reason. It's Moneypenny who gives Bond his gadget (a magnet-rotative saw watch) this time around. Bond also tests the gadget in the sole presence of M.
- The Prankster: In some of his later movies, he sets up pranks to his hapless employees, such as trapping one in an automatic sofa in The Living Daylights, or having one other trapped in a phone booth with an airbag in GoldenEye. Or even triggering the airbag-jacket on R in The World is Not Enough.
- Tuckerization: Like his predecessor, he was somehow also named after Geoffrey Boothroyd, the firearms specialist who advised Ian Fleming.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Sean Connery's Bond. The two really don't get along. Starting with George Lazenby, it warms up into...
- Vitriolic Best Buds: This Q and Bond show that they really care about each other, despite Q being often annoyed by Bond's handling of the gadgets and cars and snarking about it. It is best seen in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (with Q attending Bond's wedding), Licence to Kill (with Q braving dangers and his hierarchy to help Bond) and The World Is Not Enough (the poignant goodbye between the two of them).
Q (formerly known as "R")
Played by: John Cleese
Appearances: The World Is Not Enough (as "R") | Die Another Day (as Q)
One of Desmond Llewelyn's Q's subordinates, he was introduced in The World is Not Enough and became the new Q in Die Another Day following Llewelyn's onscreen and real life retirement.
- Butt-Monkey: As R in The World Is Not Enough, he gets constantly interrupted and bossed around by Llewelyn's Q. It culminates with him being a victim of the airbag-jacket. Originally, he was supposed to grow into the role and become less of a Butt-Monkey as time went on, but with Llewelyn's untimely death, this trait disappears between movies, but this doesn't mean he's entirely safe from Bond's antics in Die Another Day.
- The Comically Serious: Unlike Desmond Llewelyn's Q, he never had time or even the persona to become funnily mischievous. He never even smiles.
- In-Series Nickname: When introduced to the John Cleese Q and told he's the Desmond Llewelyn's Q's assistant, Bond immediately brands him "R". He was even listed with that name in the credits and a few other pieces of related media before eventually being given the title Q in Die Another Day. Apparently, Pierce Brosnan had real trouble keeping his English accent when saying the word "R".
- Legacy Character: He was previously the assistant to the old Q before the torch was passed on to him.
- No Name Given: He has never been named onscreen outside of his code names.
- Rank Up: Between The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day, he got promoted from Q's assistant to the Q rank after Desmond Llewelyn's Q's retirement.
- Straight Man: It's John Cleese we're talking about, after all. His comically serious demeanour perfectly sets up Bond's jokes during their Snark-to-Snark Combat in Die Another Day.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Brosnan's Bond, though not at first. He's not shy about making barbed comments to Bond in their first meeting, and even somewhat maliciously taking Q's instructions very literally to demonstrate how the jacket works to Bond as if he were explaining it to a toddler. By Die Another Day, they trade snark, but when he reveals the Aston-Martin Vanish, a very impressed Bond finally acknowledges him as Q (before shooting through the car's manual in about three seconds).
Q (The Quartermaster)
Played by: Ben Whishaw
Appearances: Skyfall | Spectre | No Time to Die
Q didn't appear in the first two Daniel Craig era films, Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. He was eventually reintroduced in the series with Skyfall.
- Action Survivor: Downplayed but still present in Spectre, with him going into the field himself to assist Bond, also putting himself at risk (not that he knew it at the time) and uses nothing but his wits to escape the SPECTRE goons pursuing him. Later in the film, he even accompanies M, Tanner and Moneypenny to stop Denbigh's plans and abort the uploading of the Nine Eyes.
- Ascended Extra: He does considerably more than just give Bond his gadgets. He is in charge of Mission Control for instance, and actively helps Bond in his investigation on Spectre in the eponymous film.
- Boring, but Practical: He provides Bond with much more mundane (but still effective) equipment for espionage in Skyfall, dismissing the classic exploding pens with "We don't really go in for that anymore".
- Subverted in Spectre, where he does give Bond an explosive disguised as a mundane object (a wristwatch).
- Brainy Brunette: An intelligent brunet man.
- Brick Joke: In Skyfall, he tells Bond his service doesn't make exploding pens anymore. The gadget he gives to Bond in Spectre? An explosive wristwatch.
- Character Development: He undergoes some pretty radical personality changes between Skyfall and Spectre. By the time of Spectre, he lost most of his Insufferable Genius tendencies and became a big case of Dork Knight.
- Dork Knight: He's become quite dorky by the time of Spectre, contrasting his Insufferable Genius demeanor in Skyfall. His computing and hacking talents are still intact, however.
- Hollywood Hacking: His specialty in addition to giving Bond his gadgets.
- Hollywood Nerd: The producers simply had Nerd Glasses placed on an attractive actor.
- Insufferable Genius: In Skyfall, the incoming Q shows disdain for field agents like Bond, believing his computer and hacking skills are more valuable for espionage in the modern age, although he does admit that "every now and then a trigger has to be pulled." He also mocks the idea of fantastic gadgets like an "exploding pen", instead opting to give Bond simple (but useful) gadgets instead. However, he has significantly mellowed down by the time of Spectre.
- Just a Kid: Bond's opinion of him in Skyfall, when they meet for the first time.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: In Spectre, Q reminds Bond that he'd prefer not to be fired because he has a mortgage and two cats to feed.
- Laughing at Your Own Jokes: In Spectre as he shows the Aston Martin DB5 being rebuilt after its destruction in Skyfall.Q: Mind you, there wasn't much left to work, only a steering wheel. I believe I said, "Bring it back in one piece", not "Bring back one piece". (laughs)
- Legacy Character: He is explicitly mentioned by M to be "the new Quartermaster".
- Megane: Of course!
- Mission Control: He operates the majority of MI6's computers and verbally guides the agents through their missions from afar.
- Nerd Glasses: He's got 'em.
- No Badass to His Valet: Tends to be very nonchalant and snarky around Bond, showing no fear or hesitation to reprimand him for destroying equipment.
- No Name Given: He has yet to be named onscreen outside of his code name.
- Not So Above It All: He is this per his Character Development in Spectre. With him cracking some jokes at Bond regarding his often-destroyed equipments.
- Not So Different: Between him and Daniel Craig's Bond. They are both very talented, but they both started out in MI6 without that much experience, which makes people question if they are too young to be in their positions.
- Pretty Boy: Of the cute nerdy variety.
- The Smart Guy: He designs all of the agents' gadgets, runs MI6's Mission Control, and tells Bond point-blankly that he can destroy someone's life without getting out of his pajamas in the morning.
- The Stoic: Whishaw's Q typically doesn't show much emotion, and even when he does panic (like in Skyfall where he mutters, "Oh shit, shit, shit, shit. He hacked us"), his reaction is still fairly muted considering how urgent the situation has become.
- Take That!: He makes one to the exploding pen from GoldenEye in Skyfall, saying to Bond, "We don't really go in for that anymore".
- Took a Level in Kindness: He is introduced as an Insufferable Genius in Skyfall. By the time of Spectre, he isn't quite the same, having grown very Adorkable, and the disdain he had for field agents like Bond has seemingly vanished.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: This Q and Craig's Bond seem to be shaping into this, shaking hands at the end of their first scene together. They all but say to each other "I respect you now because you held your own in our verbal bout".
- Younger and Hipper: A younger and more fashionable version of the gadget master compared to the old men who came before him.