John de Lancie On Why We Haven’t (and wont) see Q in a Star Trek Movie

After appearing as the enigmatic super-being Q in the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation, John de Lancie became a regular guest star on all three 24th century Trek series, but he never made it into the TNG movies. In a new Q&A, the actor talks about why we haven’t, and may never see his Q on the big screen.


de Lancie: Q is not a villain, but he is aging has a fan Q&A with John de Lancie where he responds to various questions about his career on and off Trek. Regarding why he never appeared in one of the four Next Gen movies, de Lancie spoke of the nature of how Q is not really a bad guy:

Q was never a villain as far as I was concerned, and the films needed villains. I might have been arrogant and badly flawed and all that, but I never thought of the character as a villain. And I don’t think, after a while, that the writers and producers thought of me as a villain. If they’d used me in one of the films in the way they’d used me in some of the episodes I just mentioned, sure, that would have been great. But I don’t think that’s what they needed.

de Lancie’s first appearance in TNG "Encounter at Farpoint" and final appearance in VOY "Q2" (CBS)

de Lancie also explained why (even though he would be interested) he doesn’t expect to appear in the new universe of the JJ Abrams Star Trek films :

I’d be very interested. The only problem is that I, too, am suffering from this mortal thing called aging and there’s a point at which it might not make sense. What might make sense is that you hear my voice, but I just don’t know that it would make sense to have an aging Q. I would have a problem with that as a viewer, and I don’t think I’d be the only one.

More Q&A with de Lancie at

The ‘mortal’ John de Lancie on the Saturn red carpet in June (Albert L. Ortega)


POLL: Sequel Q?

Should we see Q in the Star Trek sequel? And if should Q be played by de Lancie? Weigh into our new poll.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Ill give it to John. He is one smart Actor. It would be fun though to at least have him do something in a Trek Movie. But as he said. He is not realy a Villian. But he sure can make things fun for the Trek Crew.

maybe an ‘end of q’ type story.. with some ‘villian’ trying to age them out of existence… they could have an old kirk in there too! :p

If Rick Berman grew some balls then we could have had Q in a TNG movie instead of Ru’Afo or Soran or Shinzon or Mrs Borg. Maybe when TNG gets rebooted we will see him again.

That idea actually has some potential. That would make an interesting story, at least at the core

I would love to see Q in a movie, personally.

It would be really fun to see Q “pretending” to be an older man in a future ST film. Q would *choose* to look older to make fun of an aging (TNG) crew, then we could have them all back for at least a part of a new ST film. That would be a fun way of explaining the real life maturing of John (although the man has aged quite well!)

Whether he is a villain or not is irrelevant. Q is usually an observer who likes to throw in odd twists.

The first TNG episode with the borg is a perfect example of how Q can be used as an intermediary between the villain and protagonist.

Anyway, I wouldn’t want to see Q ruined by appearing in these new ‘trek’ films. They are nothing like the star trek that has always been and Q has no place in these new movies.

Since the character ‘Q” was so adept, and eager to emmulate Picard, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to imagine “Q” trying to appear aged, “I decided that since I am a better Q- a more seasoned Q, that I would appear that way as well.”
I’m sure it would be easy for deLancie to pull it off. He mentioned : “What might make sense is that you hear my voice, but I just don’t know that it would make sense to have an aging Q.”
To me, It was his voice that stood out more than his appearence.

Q could be de-aged in the same way Professor X and Magneto were in the X-Men scene where they went to recruit Jean Grey! I would love to see Q butt heads with a head-strong young Kirk, a logical Spock and an irritated McCoy more than a retread of the Khan Story! Q would be a great way to pull Kirk Prime into the story and once and for all straighten out that mess that the Trek Universe has been in! Bring on more Q !!!

If they want Q in a movie, they should really hand off the baton to John’s son. Have a younger Q mess around with the younger Kirk, Spock, and McCoy!

I always get a head shake out of these prompted discussions of whether to use such and so reoccurring character from TV, pre-09 movies or this and such a previous plot point. I am a geezer fan of the Original, TNG and VOY but the new Star Trek was so fresh in it’s reprisal of the core crew following a deviant story line that I’m hoping sequels go where no-one has gone before.

#8 Besides, Kirk, and Spock wouldn’t know if he was supposed to be young OR old.

He turned in a fine performance in Season 2 of Breaking Bad, which I recommend.

I think, it would make sence to have “Q” played by deLancie to turn up in the new Trek time line.

Everythings changed now,,,planets have been blowen up, the time line has changed,, Im sure the Mighty Q would find all of this alittle interesting.

And if Khan turns up,,
Im hoping he will be wise as well as strong, Im hoping the new Trek will have afew villins that get away for a change.

(Neros not dead,,, just lost in time)

#6 Good general idea though and retcon that Q had his human form age *along with* Picard. That actually makes perfect sense. As to getting Q into the new ST, that would be hard to explain UNLESS we had a scene with de Lancie and Nimoy… with Q asking old Spock “do you want me to wave my arms and just put it all back?”, with Spock saying something like “this present would not exist without the past. it has its own diversity, and in combination with the past, we are all enriched. And that past still exists in another dimension. Why destroy this one to merely copy or clone the other?”

John d. could certainly appear in the new ST as the Squire of Gothos though! His age now, he looks quite a bit like Campbell at the same age. (Or, he could be the Father of the Squire?)

John made a great point about his aging (none of us are getting younger) but to have his voice pop up in some fashion as Q would be nice to see or hear.

I like deLancie, I thought he always gave a superb performance. But, for me, the character of Q was a mistake. Having a God-like being coming and going on a whim, who could get the characters into or out of trouble depending on his mood made for bad storytelling, IMO. According to the premise of the character, he was actually a series regular — you just didn’t see him all the time. And Picard could just call out to him, and he might appear, might not appear, but he was always watching from some ethereal place… And when he did make an appearance, I always wondered why he would bother anyway. Just for the story’s sake, apparently. Sorry, I never bought into the character.

I never buy the argument that Q, or Data for that matter shouldn’t ‘age’. It is simply explained away as the appearance of aging. A choice by the character to look that way.

Maybe the Q age in reverse. Like the anomaly in the episode “All Good Things” was little in the future, but filled the universe at the time that life first began!

I wouldn’t mind Q in the sequel, but not with the actor John de Lancie. He is really too old.

Another actor should play Q. There are a lot of great young actors out there.

Like I said in my post the other day since we have learned over the years on Next Generation and Voyager that there is a whole race of “Q”, why not have a new evil “Q” put the Enterprise crew through an adventure and the good “Q” played by DeLancie play a small role helping them defeat the evil “Q”. Think of the Spock prime role for DeLancie. Who would be better to play the evil “Q” then Tom Hanks. Did you see Hanks on Leno last year making all those Trek references. He has said he loves Trek. He could be by far the biggest name ever to appear in a Trek movie and bring immediate credibility to the franchise. He is also a big draw overseas which is an area where this last Trek failed. Angels & Demons was mediocre at best and he helped it make like 300 million overseas. I think he would do it and it would be a fun movie.


There is no NEW timeline. Trek XI has nothing at all to do with the rest of trek. It is basically a remake of TOS.

Abrams doesn’t just get to ignore all of trek history and make up whatever he wants and call it a ‘new’ timeline.

so now anything new should conform to abrams version of trek? i don’t think so.

The real reason Q won’t be in any new movie… they can fix the broken time line…

OMG YES! I love Q so much haha it’d be awesome to see him in a movie.

I wouldn’t want him to be a main character, just have de Lancie in there as a cameo, like just have him walk by so the audience would know Q was hanging out there for a bit but the Enterprise crew wouldn’t realize it, of course. I think that would be way cool. :DDD

I fully agree that Q was never a villain and was more of a force to drive good stories and plots in Star Trek. But as far as a movie Q, well I don’t think that would work too well, at least not in these movies. It would of had to of been a TNG movie which actually could have been good, but they missed that chance. Still, if there’s ever another Trek series on TV I hope they bring him back to that. Q was one of the more creative things that the writing teams have come up with over the decades of Star Trek and I’d love to see Q again.

Didn’t one of the Q appear in a TOS episode? Erm, Squire of Gothos? Or is that just fanboy wishful thinking? Could that be a tie-in?

24 – I was thinking the same thing. Maybe have something odd happen, and then a quick shot of a smirking Q. That’d be a nice Easter egg for the fans.

Here’s the spin. Yes, Q seems shallow and indifferent. But he and the continuum really care about the silly species called humans for entirely selfish motives. Bringing Q into to any plot at any time in the the Trek universe, at just the right juncture, when all other options have been exhausted, would be great theater. He may only be an influencer, and likely a most unwelcome one, but employed wisely would be a great plot tool. Just imagine the possibilities. Q can be unseen, just entering the Captain’s mind when needed and unnoticed. Or he can be a goad, an interactive mind enticing the players to make the right decision. The money angle is that Q really is a good guy. John De Lancey must play Q. He owns the character as much as Shatner owns Kirk. His apparent age can be readily explained by making himself appear more compatible to his mortal foils.

Q is not a necessity, but certainly an available and marketable character.

Also Roddenberry created Q (he added it to Farpoint) so their might be additional remuneration involved should Q be used — that’s an informed guess. Q would also have required a big, grand SF plot. He would have been great in any NexGen movie, though. I just watched the SIx MIllion Dollar Man first episode and John Delancie played an army officer. Funny seeing him “powerless” but “you take the jobs you can get.”

For me, the compelling thing about Q was not the behavior of that particular individual, but the power and intent of the beings he was only one of. For all practical purposes, Q was either a god or a being with god-like powers. I’d like to see Trek explain who those beings are and what they are doing in the universe. For that, we don’t need de Lanice.

I’ve always like the character of Q. I thought DeLancie played him perfectly, always more an antagonizer than antagonist, is that makes sense.

Besides, I’ve also felt that the Q was just humanity all growed up, that’s why they take such an interest in us. But clearly, with all their seemingly omnipotent powers they would never make a decent ‘villain’ since someone so powerful could never really be a good foil. A villain needs to be almost a mirror image of the good guy (NOT — NOT Shinzon… that movie was just – just awful). Granted, Q worked well with Picard, but that was more a professor taking a liking to one of his lab rats type interaction.

I dont think Q shold be in any new Star Trek movie, TV series or otherwise. The character was amazing and played by De Lancie to great effect but the new movies are set in the wrong era – it would be like having the Enterprise D turn up.

As for why he didnt appear in any of the TNG movies, thats a realy shame. It would have been good to see him back in Nemesis in some fashion because i always felt although he never played a villian, some of the best ‘bad guys’ are people you can relate to – Q is very relatable and besides, there could have been another villian to add some action but i definitely think that Q in a TNG movie would have been superb.

You know, people, lay off Berman. Considering some of the s*** you do put up with (fan films), Rick didn’t do that bad of a job…

It would be great to see Q or some alien who is not pure scowling villain. At least Nero was nutz. But, it’d be better with a more complex, albeit antagonistic, relationship. NO CLONES! NO GUYS WHO LOST THEIR WIVES!

Anyway, John is a great actor.


“Abrams doesn’t just get to ignore all of trek history and make up whatever he wants and call it a ‘new’ timeline.”

Sorry, but you’re wrong. The copywrite owners of the Trek franchise say so and so do the majority of the fans. You are in a small and declining minority.

“so now anything new should conform to abrams version of trek? i don’t think so.”

Wrong again. Unless you win a lottery and buy the franchise, you either live with the new order or you retire to your basement and watch your TOS collection on VHS.

John de Lancie is such a charming actor. It pains me to think his final portrayal of Q was in a Voyager episode.

He could at least have some part in a new film. After all, he is omnipotent. He should be able to cross over into the alternate timeline just by snapping his fingers. This would be an interesting way to tie in the prime timeline.

I think Q was a great character, as was Trelane from TOS who was probably also a member of the Q continuum. I see nothing wrong with recasting Q and including him in a future movie. I think that using Delancie in the role is a stretch and it should be someone closer in age to the new crew.


Good point, Q is able to traverse the alternate timelines – after all, he did just that in the TNG episode “Tapestry” in which he showed Picard how his life unfolds in an alternate universe. I would still have a problem with using Delancie as Q – Q should be able to take any form he wants, so it would make more sense for him to take a human form which is closer in age to the young Enterprise crew.

Uh, John, have you seen the work that is being done on Tron Legacy? We can fix that age thing. :)

And if there’s one thing I like more than a villain in a Star Trek film is an antagonist. Antagonists aren’t always the villains, they’re the elements of the story that cause the protagonists to go through change. Take Back to the Future for instance. Marty was for all intents and purposes the antagonist where as George was the protagonist. George was the character who went through the hero’s journey, while Marty simply gave him the push he needed. In the end, Marty doesn’t really change that much as a character (well, that is until the next two films).

Q was a fantastic antagonist. The stories involving conflict, realization and self-discovery that he brought to our characters are some of the best Star Trek stories ever offered. There is not one single thing about the character of Nero that I would say he did better than Q, because in the end, Nero was simply a one-shot plot device, not a character. Q was a character, and a classic one at that.

so when is the series of next generation going to happen . we were all promised this and so fa it did not happen what the f*uck

As great a character as Q is, and as good a performance John DeLancie put in as Q, I don’t see him making an appearance in any of the next several movies. Its a different time and timeline. Q was Picard’s foil. Q didn’t match well at all with Sisko, and he just wasn’t as interesting when he appeared on “Voyager”. The thing is with Q, is that his fascination with humans is like our fascination with insects or small animals.

He was tough on Captain Picard because he wanted to see humanity succeed and overcome its challenges.

starting a new next generation series on tv is the smartest thing this franchise can do. why abandon your most successful product?


Hey Skip, did you happen to ‘skip’ the last 23 years?

no but i enjoy the best trek on tv every night on bbc . at least the british got it right

next gen is an excellent show no matter how many times you watch the reruns……….the next generation was gene’s perfected trek everything he couldnt do in the original show, people liked genes vision of trek,and things went downhill withe darker and less positive versions after.

ryan you are slow to respond. perhaps you have dial-up still

I love TNG as much as you do. The show was a huge success on tv (arguably more than TOS) during its run. There was a ton of merchandise and the conventions were TNG oriented. But after 3 more spinoffs, 4 TNG movies being a mixed success at best, people were tired of the current establishment. Its why they went back to TOS for the new movie. The franchise needed to be rebuilt, and the only way to do that was to reimagine and reboot the TOS characters. Going back to TOS reminds the mainstream of what got it all started. People stayed home rather than go see “Nemesis”. People got out of the house to see characters they hadn’t seen in 18 years.

Since Q can do whatever he wants, he could choose to appear in an older human body => Mr de Lancie could play Q in the sequels

yes true ryan but we shouldnt lose next gen over one poorly written movie . or because of the massive failure of “enterprise”i hate to think that the fans got screwed because of bakula’s crappy acting.

even the most hardcore trekker can admit that “enterprise” was pure crap… anyways i hope that the writers do add at least the “Q” and observe how quickly the twilight series went downhill and realize that the same story can get old very quickly. ryan I’d like to see a next gen / tos crossover and see it do just as well as a marvel comic movie does at the box office . to that we can all agree.