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A new Q in the next James Bond film

Ben Whishaw attends the 48th New York Film Festival premiere of "The Tempest" on Oct. 2, 2010, in New York. Getty Images

(CBS) When the new James Bond movie, "Skyfall," debuts next year, it will feature a new Q.

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British actor Ben Whishaw has been cast as the spy-gadget specialist in the 23rd Bond flick, reports BBC News.

The 31-year-old actor appeared opposite Abbie Cornish in 2009's "Bright Star" and has been a series regular on BBC's 1950s TV drama "The Hour." He also starred in Julie Taymor's recent movie adaptation of "The Tempest" with Helen Mirren.

Whishaw is considerably younger than the actors who have previously starred as 007's gadget designer. Most of them have been older than the actor playing James Bond.

Q leads the Branch Q, the armory division of the secret service in the Bond film series. Actor Peter Burton portrayed the fictional character in the first Bond film, 1962's "Dr No," under his real name Major Boothroyd. Desmond Llewelyn played Q in 17 Bond films, and John Cleese last assumed the role in 2002's "Die Another Day."

"Skyfall," which hits theaters on Nov. 9, 2012, stars Daniel Craig, 43, as James Bond. The Sam Mendes-directed film will also feature Javier Bardiem, Albert Finney, Judi Dench, Naomie Harris and Ralph Fiennes.

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