An "insider" on the set of the 23rd Bond shared the earth-shattering scoop: "We've just filmed M's death scene."
(Cue the sound of a million "No's!") Judi Dench has played James Bond's boss, M, since 1995's "Goldeneye." She's overseen both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig's reign as the rogue agent, making her the only regular recurring character in the franchise. (Q, the British Secret Service's gadget man, will be played by newcomer Ben Whishaw in "Skyfall.")
There's always the possibility that multiple endings have been filmed to deliberately throw off the media, but Dench has previously been rumored to be leaving the franchise.
So, if this is (sniff) indeed true, who would replace her? EW suggests another Dame, such as Helen Mirren or Vanessa Redgrave (Ralph Fiennes has been rumored to take over the role.)
Neither Sony Pictures or Eon Productions, the company behind the Bond films, will comment on the rumors of Dench's rumored departure or the possibility of Fiennes becoming the new M. (The New York Post came right out and said "great Judi Dench is being killed off as M," in a piece about how she's returning to the stage.)
The 77-year-old Dench, who won an Oscar for "Shakespeare in Love," recently revealed she is suffering from macular degeneration and is no longer able to read scripts, but has vowed to keep acting.