- R: "And you might be...?"
- Q: "This is 007."
- James Bond: "If you're Q, does that make him R?"
- ―Dialogue between R, Q and James Bond.[src]
R was a fictional technician and quartermaster employed by the British Secret Intelligence Service's (SIS/MI6) research and development division, Q-Branch. The character first appeared as Q's assistant in the 1999 James Bond film The World Is Not Enough. His character became the new Q in Die Another Day (2002) and made his final appearance in the subsequent video-game Everything or Nothing (2003). He was portrayed by British actor John Cleese.
The World is Not Enough
When 007 sabotaged Q's fishing boat and wounded himself, Q decided he has had enough and wanted to retire (probably to run away from 007). Q soon opened a secret 8-ball table hatch to reveal R, working on a BMW Z8 and when he saw he was being summoned, he tried to move to Q and 007 but never noticed that he had his lab coat stuck in the BMW's door until Bond opened it and R asked for his name when Q introduced Bond to R, 007 soon joked "If you're Q, does that make him R?" In which R soon says "Ahh, yes, the legendary 007 wit. Or at least half of it."R also knew that Bond was on the inactive roster due to 007's shoulder. After talking about the BMW and said the wrong term "rather stocked" which Q soon rephrases him that the term is "fully loaded". Q also told him that he wasn't in Q Branch to think, he was there to do what Q told him and was told to put on the ski jacket and as he did, he ignored the tag and instead told Bond about how to put it on until Q pulled it, revealing an escape pod which inflates into a sealed sphere made of aluminum-coated plastic and Kevlar reinforcement which R is soon trapped in, much to 007's amazement. Near the end of the film, he is seen with others, trying to find 007 and Christmas Jones after they stopped Renard from destroying Istanbul and when they find them making out, R purposely pressed the "Esc" key and made an excuse saying there was an error.
Die Another Day
Prior to Bond being rescued from Korea, R was promoted to Q after his predecessor retired or passed away (as Desmond Llewelyn was killed in a car crash after The World Is Not Enough finished production in 1999) and adopted a more serious attitude like him. When Bond was reinstated and did a simulated training exercise, Q came up to him and reminded him that perfect marksmen isn't suppose to shoot his own boss but 007 made an excuse saying he only gave her a flesh wound in the simulator, making Q say "There's always an excuse, isn't there, Double-oh zero." In the same scene, Bond asked for the old firing range any day and said what Q stands for (Quartermaster). Q soon tells 007 to get used to the 21st century and didn't like it when Bond played with an old jet pack and when Bond asked about the cutting edged technology that Q mentioned earlier, he demonstrated it by using 007's own Walther P99 and soon showed him a new standard issue gadget. A ring for the ring finger which is actually an "ultra high-frequency single digit sonic agitator unit" that can shatter bullet-proof glass, unbreakable glass or disable another person. Along the way to Bond's new car, Q gave Bond a new watch, which Q believes to be 007's 20th watch and asked for him to return to establish a record.
Upon revealing nothing on a car tram, Bond thinks Q had been down in the station too long but soon revealed it as the ultimate in British engineering. When Bond saw that Q's legs deformed (because of the light-bending properties of the soon-to-be-revealed vehicle), he thought he was joking but Q rephrased him by saying "As I learnt from my predecessor, Bond, I never joke about my work." Before revealing an Aston Martin V12 Vanquish which Q dubs "The Vanish" and it soon reveals itself, giving Bond a delighted smile; Q informs Bond that the vanishing act is the work of adaptive camouflage with tiny cameras on both sides so that they reflect what they capture on the other side, making it invisible to the human eye, and also includes an ejector seat, torpedoes and target seeking shotguns that shoot down mobile objects. When Q asked 007 to read the car's manual (commenting he should go through it in hours), Bond tosses it up in the air, letting the guns destroy it and comments, "Just took a few seconds, Q." The unamused Q says he wishes he could make 007 vanish.
Near the end of the film, he found Miss Moneypenny on his virtual-reality training simulator, who was simulating that she was making out with Bond; when she heard Q calling out her name in confusion, she got up, buttoning her blouse, and pretended to have been testing it out. Q replied with a knowing look that it was rather hard before going back to his own business.
R appears in The World Is Not Enough. There is also another man who uses the name R in the video game Agent Under Fire, though Cleese was originally to have provided his likeness and appeared in advertising for the game.
In Everything or Nothing, Q has an assistant named Miss Nagai and when she and 007 met, they briefly held hands and Q pushed them away from each other. During, before or after missions, Q and Miss Nagai can upgrade either a camera disguised as a spider, explosive coins or 007's cars. Q also says a phrase his predecessor says to Bond when he jokingly said "A stunning development." Which Q replies "Oh, grow up."
Behind the scenes
In The World Is Not Enough he was an assistant to Major Boothroyd (Q) was introduced, teasingly called "R" by Bond and played by Monty Python veteran and comedian, John Cleese. His real name was not revealed on-screen, but he is initially credited as 'R' in The World is Not Enough stemming from a joke in which Bond asks the elder Q: "If you're Q does that make him R?" (Cleese's character responds, "Ah yes, the legendary 007 wit. Or at least, half of it"). The character continued to be referred to as 'R' in video-games produced between 1999 and the release of Die Another Day in 2002. Following actor Llewelyn's death in 1999, John Cleese's character took over the job of the former Q beginning with Die Another Day, and so from then on was known as Q, although Bond initially refers to him as "Quartermaster", the first official on-screen reference as to what Q stands for.
Cleese's Q is almost a radical departure from Major Boothroyd. From the start, Cleese's Q never liked Bond based simply from Bond's reputation of not returning items in pristine condition. When Bond tries to joke with Q, Cleese's Q is a lot quicker at comebacks than Boothroyd ever was, making him more of a match for Bond in terms of wit. Though Llewelyn's and Cleese's Qs are different from one another they both share the same attitude towards their professional work. In almost every film one or the other have said either "I never joke about my work" or "Pay attention" to Bond. Initially portrayed as rather clumsy and obtuse (i.e. referring to a vehicle as "rather stocked" rather than as "fully loaded"), once R was "promoted" to Q he has become more self-assured and more in the style of his predecessor. In Die Another Day When Q was demonstrating a car tram with the invisible Aston Martin V12 Vanquish, Bond made a comment that he was joking which Q's reply was "As I learnt from my predecessor, Bond, I never joke about my work." This is a direct reference of Q's Predecessor, (Desmond Llewelyn) Who said the same line about his work in Goldfinger.
"And you might be?" R's first line in "The World is Not Enough".
"Must be a premature form of the Millennium Bug." R's excuse to M after turning off the laptop after locating 007. Last line in movie.
"Must you touch everything?" Q upon discovering Bond releasing a knife from his old case in "Die Another Day".