Ben Whishaw Fast-Tracked To Head of Q Branch In SKYFALL

MI6 HR dept OKs Q for 007.

Though EON had been keeping certain specific roles under wraps for Skyfall, it seems the agent of actor Ben Whishaw didn't get the memo: the BBC is crediting said agent with naming the 31-year-old actor as the new Q, taking over for the late Desmond Llewellyn and a brief run by John Cleese.

Originally identified as Major Boothroyd in the novels and in Dr. No (and played in that first film by Peter Burton), "Q" was the code letter of MI6's quartermaster - the officer in charge of the British Secret Service's armory. He started modestly, swapping out Bond's Beretta for his signature Walther PPK, then graduated to trick suitcases in From Russia With Love before coming into his own in Goldfinger, unveiling a tricked-out Aston Martin. From there his inventions changed with the times (you'll recall the unfortunately named "ghetto blaster" rocket launcher in the 80s) and the tones of the film themselves (Bond's invisible car in Die Another Day quickly became the go-to icon of how ridiculous the series had become).

Whishaw, with whom I'm familiar primarily as one of many incarnations of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' I'm Not There, will be the first actor playing Q as a younger man than Bond himself. The casting news is the first solid hint that the film will be returning to some of the franchise's trappings. Mourn or celebrate that as you see fit.