No one needs me to introduce Daniel Craig’s Skyfall
character. For the third consecutive time, the dapper Englishman plays, “Bond. James Bond” in what amounts to the 23rd feature in the secret agent’s silver-screen career.
But who’s joining 007 for his latest mission on behalf of his majesty’s secret service? Ever since Craig helped reboot the James Bond mythology in the hard-hitting, fantastically enthralling Casino Royale, the writers have been maintaining more continuity than the series has bothered with in years past. As a result, a few familiar faces populate Sam Mendes’ Bond sequel, mixing with newcomers like the ingredients of a shaken martini.
As you prepare for the coming of Skyfall, which opens in theaters on November 9, we wanted to map out the key players in Bond’s universe at the start of the story. It also means you don’t have to revisit Quantum of Solace to remember where Bond left off. You’re welcome.
Note: What follows may include minor spoilers
James Bond (Daniel Craig)
The blunt-force instrument with a license to kill is still relatively new to MI6 at the start of Skyfall, which literally begins mid-mission for 007. He’s pursuing a stolen computer modem that contains the identities and locations of MI6 agents across the globe. In the wrong hands, it could compromise countless missions and put too many British spies in danger. But is James up to the task, or have too many missions dulled his skills?
M (Dame Judi Dench)
The longtime head of MI6 also is being questioned by her superiors in light of this valuable modem going missing. A dominant theme of Skyfall is “out with the old, in with the new,” which puts Dench’s cherished character in the crosshairs of her own agency. It doesn’t help that M can look over her shoulder and see her replacement, Gareth Mallory, breathing down her neck and looking for either M or her “pet” agent, Bond, to slip up. Speaking of …
Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes)
The latest stuffed suit tasked with whipping MI6 into shape, Mallory wants what’s best for his country… he’s just not sure that M and Bond’s vintage ways are working to the greatest advantage of the British Empire. If Mallory had his way, MI6 would turn most of its staff over, leaning to younger, tech-savvy agents who are well-versed in the finest tools available to an international spy ring. Agents like …
Eve (Naomie Harris)
A well-trained field agent who’s as comfortable with a long-range sniper’s rifle as she is with a slinky dress that she uses to turn heads in a high-stakes casino. Eve may go down in history as the only MI6 agent who tried to kill James Bond. (That’s not a spoiler, as the scene has been featured heavily in Skyfall’s marketing campaign.) Thankfully, she fails, but that doesn’t mean Eve’s eventual shift to a safe, cushy desk job is going to take her out of 007’s life forever. Quite the contrary.
Q (Ben Whishaw)
Another sign of the changing times at MI6, Q – James Bond’s new Quartermaster – is a fresh-out-of-university genius who can do more on a laptop while still in his pajamas than most agents could manage in a year. And Q’s not afraid to remind 007 that the world is rapidly advancing. Exploding pens and similarly cheeky spy gadgets no longer are par for the course. Good thing Bond’s still pretty handy with a gun.
Severine (Berenice Marlohe)
There’s always a girl with Bond, isn’t there? The lethal lothario’s interested in Severine at the start of Skyfall because of the access she can grant him. Bond needs to get to Severine’s employer, a mysterious force who might be behind the modem theft that kicks Skyfall off in explosive fashion. But her decision to help 007 could prove costly… for everyone involved.
Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem)
Very little can be said about Silva’s motivations without spoiling the meat of Mendes’ spectacular James Bond film. Know this, though: Bardem’s portrayal of the maniacal, meticulous Silva instantly elevates him to the heart of any discussion on “Best Bond Villains of All Time.” His flamboyance and cavalier attitude to the queen directly contradicts Bond’s stoicism. He’s the ideal foil for Craig’s 007, and I desperately pray the producers of this long-running series figure a way to bring him (and Mendes) back again, and again and again.