James Bond is probably the franchise best known for recasting. Unlike Batman and Spider-Man, which tend to reboot their movies when new stars come aboard, Bond even tried to loosely maintain series continuity across the tenures of Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Sean Connery again, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan. Bond himself isn’t even the only one to be recast as if nothing’s happened: M, Moneypenny, Felix Leiter, and Blofeld also routinely changed actors without acknowledging it.
Q was different. At 85 years old, Desmond Llewelyn had been a series constant, though perhaps sensing an imminent aging out, producers gave him a protegee named R (John Cleese) in “The World Is Not Enough,” which turned out to be his final film. Ironically, it wasn’t old age that took him in the end, but a fatal car crash. By the next film, R had been promoted to Q, in a rare acknowledgment that the role hadn’t just been recast, but the character succeeded. They don’t flat-out say the previous Q died, but it’s implied. After playing the character 17 times, he couldn’t just be swapped out.