By Adam B. Vary
Updated July 12, 2012 at 03:00 PM EDT


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The first two James Bond films starring Daniel Craig famously took things back to basics — no cartoonishly eccentric über-villain, no wildly over-the-top secret lair, and no over-elaborate sci-fi gadgetry. Most of the changes were quite welcome, but that last one also meant the loss of one of the franchise’s most beloved characters: Q, the master of spy technology at MI6 and a sharp comic foil for Agent 007.

EW is happy to confirm that Q will return in the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, as played by actor Ben Whishaw (Bright Star, I’m Not There, Perfume). Q will aid Bond’s mission to help save MI6 after it comes under attack thanks to a looming threat in M’s (Judi Dench) past. Check out this exclusive first look at Whishaw as the character below:

Image Credit: Francois Duhamel[/caption]

Whishaw is the fourth actor to take on the role of Q. The first was actor Peter Burton in the very first Bond film, Dr. No:

In the next Bond film, From Russia with Love, and 16 subsequent films, Q was played by the inimitable Desmond Llewelyn, the only actor to appear alongside all the actors who’ve played 007 other than Craig: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan.

In The World is Not Enough, Q took on an assistant, R, played by John Cleese. After Llewelyn passed away in 1999, Cleese was promoted to Q for 2002’s Die Another Day.

All the actors who’ve embodied Q have one thing in common: They were all older than the actor playing James Bond, often considerably so. It would appear, for Daniel Craig’s 21st century 007, technical geekery is very much a young man’s game.

Skyfall arrives in theaters Nov. 9.

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Read more:

‘Skyfall’ teaser trailer: ‘Murder?’ asks a shrink. ‘Employment,’ responds James Bond

James Bond production video: ‘Skyfall’ goes to Shanghai!

Bond Girls: The Best and Worst

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