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James Bond/Q is a fandom slash pairing that rose in popularity after the release of film Skyfall in November 2012 and the portrayal of James Bond by Daniel Craig, and the young Quartermaster of MI6, Q, by Ben Whishaw.
The James Bond fandom has been prevalent in pop culture since Ian Fleming's James Bond series of books started publication in 1953. The popularity of the character, the books, and films, have endured, and since the inception of the first James Bond Fan Club in 1972 by Richard Schenkman and Bob Forlini in New York City, the fandom of James Bond shows no signs that it will fall into the ether anytime soon.
The Craig iteration of the James Bond films Casino Royale (2006) and Quantum of Solace (2008), saw the creation of a small smattering of fanfiction and fanart; however, it was the film, Skyfall (2012) that caused the new James Bond to break out within the fandom community. The film itself was a masterpiece, a stand-alone where the backstory of the previous two films had little impact. The introduction of a young new Quartermaster (Q), who was confident to Bond’s craggy tiredness, representing the young MI6 versus the old, along with the chemistry between the characters in Q’s introductory scene at the National Gallery, prompted an explosion of this new fandom 00Q to occur. Additionally, half-way through the film, the villain Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem, sexually menaces a bound James Bond. The dialogue exchange between Silva and Bond in that scene was a big hint--the 00Q fandom embraced--that perhaps, Craig’s Bond could be bisexual.
Silva “There’s a first time for everything.”
Bond “What makes you think this is my first time?”
Craig’s Bond is engaging, a gritty, and intense portrayal, bringing a version of this bleak Hero/Anti-Hero to life with the fullest of emotions. Craig’s Bond has a backstory in keeping with Fleming’s novels, but not seen in the previous films, and the 00Q fandom has consumed Bond’s tragic origins creatively in the work.
Q, on the other hand, is a character without origin, a clean slate prior to his appearance in Skyfall. The character is a mystery that fandom has taken as a challenge. The results can be seen in the richness and variety of Q’s origin stories, and characterization, in the work of the 00Q fandom.
By the time June 29th 2013 rolled around, seven months after Skyfall's premiere, there were 1605 stories under the tag ‘James Bond/Q’ on Archive of Our Own (AO3). Ten months after the fourth film in the series, SPECTRE, debuted in November 2015, there were over 4,500 00Q stories on AO3, and over 6,600 within the tag for ‘James Bond (Craig movies)’. The appeal of Daniel Craig’s portrayal, and the reconstruction of the character, of James Bond can be seen in the statistical data on AO3. As of September 2016, the category for the Classic James Bond films is just over 160 works, while the category for James Bond--All Media Types/Movies is just over 7,200 works and within that category, the Craig movie verse represents the majority.
Archive Of Our Own seems to be the archive of choice for the 00Q fandom, but there are over 2,000 stories for James Bond on FanFiction.net, though not specifically for 00Q.
Tropes Unique To The 00Q Fandom
Q is a Holmes, also known as Bondlock, is one of the most popular tropes and crossovers in the 00Q fandom. Mr. Whishaw’s portrayal of the young boffin Q, combined with his precise diction, aloofness, and looks, seemed a natural fit for the 00Q fandom to incorporate Q as one of the Holmes Brother’s into their headcanons. The BBC's Sherlock television series is an extremely popular fandom with Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat's modern reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, as well as Benedict Cumberbatch's take on the Consulting Detective. Q as the third, or youngest, Holmes brother lends itself well to the phenomenon of the Bondlock crossover, particularly with the backstory of Mycroft Holmes. The eldest brother, Mycroft Holmes is involved in the Secret Intelligence Services in canon. Mycroft Holmes IS The British Government, and the lack of Q’s backstory, encourages the 00Q fandom to incorporate the new Quartermaster of MI6 into the fanon of the modern Sherlock.
James Bond/Alec Trevelyan/Q or James Bond/Alec Trevelyan is a sub-trope incorporated into many works in the 00Q fandom. The headcanon of Alec Trevelyan, the villain in GoldenEye (1995) played by Sean Bean, as the good guy 006, best friend and occasional lover of James Bond, was brought to prominence in the 00Q fandom by authors Kryptria and BootsnBlossoms in their story Nova Prospekt, published in 2013.
SPECTRE fix-it stories are becoming increasingly popular in the fandom, as a result of the ending of the film where 007 leaves MI6, and Q, in his newly restored Aston Martin DB5, driving into London’s overcast sky with Madeleine Swann at his side.
Other popular tropes within the fandom feature the Q-Branch Minions; the Quartermaster’s second, R as a woman; and the inability of 007 to bring Q’s equipment back in one piece or at all after missions.
00Q Fandom Communities
The MI6 Cafe on livejournal and tumblr is a fan community for all things James Bond and is welcoming to 00Q shippers. The Cafe hosts book and film clubs, monthly prompts, and the 00Q Last Drabble Writer Standing competition. The month of July sees the Cafe celebrate all things 007 with 007 Fest. As part of the festival, the 007 Games encourages friendly competition between Team Q Branch and Team 00 participants for the creation of fanworks, metas, headcanons, and sponsored event hosting.
The 00Q Reverse Big Bang is a art and writing challenge hosted on tumblr to promote and celebrate the broad scope of creativity in the fandom. Artists create original artwork for writers to claim, and stories are created based on the artist’s prompt. The first big bang was held in 2014, with consecutive bangs in 2015 and 2016. The resulting stories and art are compiled into collections on AO3.
The main Facebook community for the pairing is 00Q - James Bond/Q Addicted, A lively bunch of 00Q shippers, full of enthusiastic readers, artists, and writers. The group is closed, but requests for membership are always open.
- Analogue by endofthyme
James Bond wants to know his Quartermaster's name. So, he asks a second time, in a roundabout spy way.
- Bittersweet by dr_girlfriend
The first time Bond flirted with Q, it was purely out of self-defense. The second time Bond flirted with Q was largely manipulation. The third time Bond flirted with Q, he just wanted to feel something. The fourth time Bond flirted with Q was out of sheer boredom. Somehow, flirting with Q became something of a habit for Bond. And then, it became something else.
- Lose Your Clothes and Show Your Scars by alby_mangroves,vix_spes
In hindsight, Bond knew that he'd made some bad decisions, but it was all his Quartermaster's fault for being so fascinating.
- Temeraire by sorion
James Bond is not a man to retire. At least not without a proper incentive.
- Blind Trust by Only_1_Truth
When an accident leaves the Quartermaster blinded - possibly permanently - all of MI6 is understandably shaken up. It doesn't help that this happened in the middle of MI6 because someone who was supposed to be an ally turned out to be an enemy. It also doesn't help that said enemy made it past 007, proving that even 00-agents can slip up...and even hardened assassins can feel guilt. The man who nearly killed Q also stole valuable information, though, and even blinded, Q isn't going to just let that happen. Woe-betide any head of MI6 or 00-agent who feels the need to get in his way...
- Quriosity by dr_gitlfriend
Bond finds himself increasingly curious about his enigmatic Quartermaster.
- All the King's Horses by Revenant
MI6 has been compromised, at least one agent inside suspected of working for the criminal mastermind James Moriarty. Bond's assignment is simple: find the mole and resolve the situation. The only catch is that the mission requires something Bond doesn't have in abundance: computer skills. With all of Q-Branch under suspicion he must turn to outside sources, and Mycroft Holmes thinks he has the perfect solution: his youngest brother. Or: the unholy merging of Reichenbach Falls and Skyfall, and their respective super-villains.
- The One Who Made Him Stay by JayEz
Twenty-one days after the Double-oh programme is reinstated, James Bond returns to MI6 with his Aston Martin and without Dr Swann. This is only the beginning of Q's problems.
- The Worth of Your Doorway Series by Chestnut_NOLA
Q has no idea why he is sleeping with James Bond, womanizer, heartbreaker, libertine… lover.
- Alley-Cat Quartermaster by Only_1_Truth
After the death of M, everything is in shambles. MI6 is trying to stay afloat and not let its enemies scent blood in the water; the new Quartermaster is orchestrating a flurry of activity to keep his branch at pique efficiency and therefore his agents alive; 007, the agent hit hardest by the death of the old M, is going through the motions and throwing himself into his work. Everyone is a little bit broken, and a lot exhausted. So when Bond and Q end up together in unexpected circumstances, perhaps the outcome should not be so unexpected...
- Bond/Q: Why Ship It? by Saucery (November 2012)