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Star Trek: John de Lancie Discusses Q Differences From TNG to Picard

One of the most anticipated returns of Star Trek is John de Lancie, who plays the omnipotent Q. Originally introduced in The Next Generation in the premiere episode "Encounter at Farpoint", the god became the nemesis of Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise D. He would reprise the role seven more times including the series finale throughout its seven-season run and would crossover to other spinoffs Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and several video games. With the resurgence of the franchise starting with Discovery on Paramount+, a new series of spinoffs spawned that allowed the second generation cast of Star Trek to appear in the new canon. De Lancie, who will reprise his role as Q in live-action for the first time in over 20 years in the upcoming second season of Picard, opened up (via Trek Movie) about what brought him back and how the character's changed.

Star Trek: John de Lancie Discusses Q Differences From TNG to Picard
Photo Cr: Trae Patton/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

"When I went into Paramount to have a talk with [co-showrunner] Terry [Matalas]… In a sort of humorous way, I said, 'You're not putting me in back in those tights again, are you?' And he said, 'No, no, no, no, no.' And I said, 'Okay, I'm willing to listen a little bit more now.' [laughs] He really wanted me to understand that they did not want to go over old ground," de Lancie said. "And that was particularly good for me because I am loth… there are real dangers in trying to recreate. I've been on a couple of shows which were recreations of very successful shows in the past, and that's what sometimes they try to do and it was always disastrous."

Star Trek Actor John de Lancie Reflects Casting, Q's Return in Picard
Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

De Lancie, like Stewart before him, had concerns about going back. "So, knowing that we were going to start where we start with today and move forward was refreshing as far as I was concerned… There's a part of me that is a little concerned that the audience will go, 'It's going to be the Q of old,'" he said. "And it would be kind of unseemly for me to be jumping around like mariachi band-time. So this is a new Q… not new Q, it's just the situation is different. The stakes are higher. What I need to have Picard go through now actually affects me. So my stakes are higher as well. So it is a different look. Yet, if you consider this, dare I say a diamond, and you're cutting different facets, it's just yet another facet. And, and I think, an interesting one."

star trek
STAR TREK: PICARD – Photo Cr: James Minchin/Paramount+ ©2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

The actor, who lent his voice in the animated Lower Decks, broke down the relationship dynamic between Q and Picard. "I think that there's a genuine love for [Picard]," de Lancie explained. "And in a way, I think he has that for me. Remember, I am a being that is in need of a lot, and looking for a lot. And this is a relationship that while I might be somewhat difficult to be with, I feel that I am very caring. And in this particular time, it's really important. I need for him to do something because in fact, on top of everything else, it's connected very much to what I need personally. So we are connected." For more on de Lancie explaining what Q wants out of humanity, how the character expanded to other shows, and initial concerns of his growth following the TNG premiere, you can go to Trek Movie.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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