Star Trek’s John de Lancie teases a very different Q on Picard season 2. De Lancie originated the role of god-like inter-dimensional troublemaker Q on the very first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Q would return to challenge and sometimes beg help from the crew of the Enterprise seven more times over the course of TNG’s run. The season 2 episode “Q Who” memorably saw the enigmatic and arrogant character introducing the Federation to their future greatest nemesis the Borg. Q was also involved in the series finale “All Good Things,” which saw him putting Picard through one more test with nothing less than humanity’s fate hanging in the balance. The character later resurfaced in Star Trek shows Deep Space Nine and Voyager and most recently on the animated show Lower Decks.
Now Q is back facing his old frenemy Picard in season 2 of the Paramount+ show centered on the former Starfleet captain. According to Q actor de Lancie, things have changed for the mysterious being in the years since he last challenged Picard. Speaking about his Picard role over several appearances on Cameo (via TrekMovie.com), de Lancie teased a different Q:
I’m on Picard right now. As a matter of fact on Tuesday I finish up my last scene for season two. It’s a different Q, but hey, it’s 34 years so I am a different John.
I am going to be on Picard. A VERY different Q this time. We will see how everyone feels about it. I think it’s pretty good, though.
In another recent Cameo appearance de Lancie teased that he “annoys the s—t out of Picard” during their new encounters. The arrogant Q of course excelled at annoying Picard during the TNG seasons. Perhaps his most irritating trick came in the season 4 episode “Qpid” when he sent the Enterprise crew to another dimension where they were forced to play out the story of Robin Hood. But there were other times when Q showed vulnerability, as in the season 3 episode “Deja Q” when he was stripped of his powers by the Q Continuum and went to the Enterprise for protection.
Of course Picard was not the only one who became annoyed by Q’s antics over the course of his appearances on TNG. Some in the audience also found the character irritating and didn’t appreciate the gimmickry of an all-powerful entity showing up randomly to shake things up on the Enterprise. However, Q was deemed by Alex Kurtzman to be an important enough bit of Star Trek lore that he earned a place in Picard season 2. Since Kurtzman’s approach to mining Star Trek for content amounts to ticking off a checklist of things from the universe casual fans will be familiar with, it’s no surprise that Q eventually made it onto the show.
Now it just remains to be seen how Q is ultimately deployed by Picard and in what ways he’s “different” this time around. De Lancie’s tease could just be a reference to Q being older (a thing that needs some explaining as he’s supposed to be immortal) but it could also be that the writers have come up with a clever twist to the character. Actually developing the relationship between Q and Picard would be potentially fruitful, and certainly a better move than having Q show up just to trigger the narrative. That being said, the Kurtzman approach to Star Trek has not always led things in a positive direction, so there’s reason to be skeptical that Picard season 2 will do anything genuinely creative with Q.