Regardless of what you think about that conspiracy theory where 007 has already died numerous times and "James Bond" is just a code name they give to the next guy in line, no one can argue about the fact that everyone's favorite misogynistic murder machine would have died approximately three or four times per movie if it wasn't for Q and his trusty gadgets. All the super-powered cars, watches, shoes, and other gear that has made the franchise iconic and distracted the audience from the times George Lazenby was playing the lead came from the Quartermaster and his division, yet the man himself is generally treated with joking dismissal and friendly-but-not-quite animosity by the man whose life, remember, he's trying his level best to save.
Let's see you hand a seven-figure supercar you've built for years to a dickhead
who you know will trash it within minutes.
But why does a proud combat-inventor like Q take shit from a cocky, clearly replaceable field guy like Bond? Because he's seen plenty of kids like 007, that's why. In fact, I have my suspicions that Q has very much been a kid like that: The arc of Desmond Llewelyn's Q (real name: Major Boothroyd) over the films, plus his occasional involvement in field work despite advanced age, reveals heavy hints that not only does he have a background in field work but that maybe Bond's inane shit-flinging is actually a display of grudging respect for a man with credibility far beyond his own. Over the course of the movies, this Q is pretty much the only guy who can and frequently does get the last word on Bond ("When have I ever let you down?" "Frequently."). Finally, here is their final exchange of words, in The World Is Not Enough:
Q: "I've always tried to teach you two things: First, never let them see you bleed."
Bond: "And second?"
Q: "Always have an escape plan."
"Never let them see you bleed. Always have an escape plan." Those are the words of a man with a lifelong knowledge of two things: shit, and how to deal with it. No wonder he didn't mind the field agent kid firing a few potshots at him and became only mildly agitated when he kept breaking his hyper-expensive gadgets and fucking up his budget.
(That still doesn't explain why Bond gets away with the puns when John Cleese is Q, mind you -- that man looks like he would specifically equip your supercar with a device that sticks bananas in the tailpipe the second the big chase scene starts if you so much as looked at him the wrong way.)
Maybe he tried that on Daniel Craig, who tracked him down and
punched him until he was condensed into Ben Whishaw.
So, to recap: What we have in the classic Q character is the biggest gadget genius in all spy moviedom, who can handle himself in the field, and is enough of a badass to give spying advice to motherfucking 007. This is not about what kind of movie the man deserves -- why doesn't he have a dozen already? Just have the character start from the 1950s and slowly work his way up to the current Bond universe's time frame, perhaps working with Judi Dench's future Q at some point in the 1970s -- and eventually retiring just before Daniel Craig is promoted to 007. The rebooted Bond-verse could finally get a somewhat coherent timeline, for the first time in the franchise's history. Really, there's just one question: What use would we have for James Bond after Q: Rise Of Agent Boothroyd inevitably overshadows him?
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Steve Buscemi starring in his own action movie would certainly be pretty rad. Even more rad would be a movie about Chewbacca. Check out more great sidekicks who didn't get their due in 6 Famous Sidekicks Who Deserved To Be In Charge. Or imagine Davy Jones from Pirates Of The Caribbean teleporting his way around his own movie when you read 5 Famous Movie Characters Who Wasted Awesome Superpowers.
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