John Cleese most recently played the character, who was last seen in Die Another Day with Pierce Brosnan.
Merchant told ShortList: "I've been angling for the role of Q in the James Bond films when John Cleese hangs up his boots. I could imagine doing that - a faintly comic role in a dramatic thing.
"But I can't imagine they'd cast me as a hard-bitten private eye with a drink problem and a failed marriage."
Merchant also revealed that he would like to play more dramatic characters in the future, explaining: "The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire or The Wire - those are the things I admire the most. I'm not saying I could do anything as good as that, but I'd like to do something like that before I die. I always think of things in terms of 'before I die'."
"I don't think I've got the face and physique of a dramatic actor," he added. "I think I'm innately comical."
The 23rd 007 film will be called Skyfall, it was recently announced.
> James Bond girl Naomie Harris 'raring to go' on Skyfall
Watch the recent Skyfall press conference in full below: