In the James Bond films, the character Q heads the fictional research and development division of MI6 and provides Bond with all of the gadgets he needs on his various missions. Though the character has always been played by a man since the first Bond film in 1962, CNN reports that the real head of MI6 Alex Younger has now revealed that “the real-life Q is a woman,” though her actual identity obviously remains a secret. Watch the video unpacking the news below.
“Glass ceilings are being broken,” says former Chief of Disguise for the CIA Jonna Mendez. She believes that a woman might bring “an empathy, an ability to communicate with people, a kind of softness, not so much of an edge, but a natural ability to work with people” to the Q role.
The character has been played by four actors in the Eon productions. Desmond Llewelyn portrayed the character from 1963 through 1999 until his death, appearing in 17 Bond films. Though Q did not appear in “Casino Royale” nor “Quantum of Solace,” Ben Whishaw plays the role in the last two Bond films “Skyfall” and “Spectre.” Peter Burton first played the character in “Dr. No” while John Cleese also briefly played Q.