Call him a man of letters.
In the Bond flick ''Die Another Day,'' due out Nov. 22, Monty Python alum John Cleese will take over as chief gadget inventor Q, replacing the late Desmond Llewelyn, who'd played the part since 1963's ''From Russia With Love.''
Despite what seemed a torch-passing scene in 1999's ''The World Is Not Enough'' -- in which Cleese portrayed Llewelyn's assistant R -- the actor didn't expect to be promoted so soon. ''They weren't intending to say goodbye to him,'' says Cleese.
''He was such fabulous company, that Desmond, and [we] had struck a deal. I was 60 when I started and Desmond was 80. So we agreed to go on together until he was 100, at which point I would have had enough experience to take over.''
Cleese, clearly power-mad, offers fair warning to a certain grande dame who plays boss lady M. ''I'm going to work my way up the alphabet until I get to 'L,''' he pledges, ''and then I can sack Judi Dench.''