John de Lancie Talks Q’s Motivation In ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 2

A big part of the upcoming second season of Star Trek: Picard is the return of the character Q, the enigmatic superbeing and longtime foil of Jean-Luc Picard. We have seen Q in trailers for the season and now we are learning a bit more about why Q is back.

De Lancie talks Q’s motivation.

Today during a guest star panel for the Trek Talks Telethon, John de Lancie talked about how playing Q on Picard wasn’t too hard as the role just comes naturally to him:

Well, I play a jerk, so it’s really easy to approach that yet again, it’s not difficult. [laughs] It was nice to do. It was not difficult to bring it up again. We all play pretty close to who we are… at least I am. The material had a lot of the same vibes about it… The intentions are still the same. I’m still Picard’s main squeeze. And I’m pushing.

But the actor also made it clear that before signing on he wanted assurances that the role wasn’t just going to be the same as it was on Star Trek: The Next Generation:

I am very concerned about recreating, that has a lot of potential disasters attached to it. So I said, “We are not trying to recreate something? We are going to move from here, forward?” And they said, “Yes, yes, yes.”

De Lancie has previously talked about how he was playing a “different” and “more serious” Q on Picard. During the telethon, he offered some more detail, including hinting at Q’s motivation:

It isn’t in fact a Q of 34 years years ago. It would be unseemly to be playing it that way. He’s older, more mature, a little more focused individual, with a very strong internal motivation and a desire to get Picard to do something. But if I tried to do it the way I acted back then, I think it wouldn’t be good. It is different and it’s intended to be a little different.

John de Lancie as Q in Picard season two trailer

The previously released trailers have revealed that season two of Picard has the crew jumping into a darker fascistic timeline, and traveling back to contemporary Los Angeles. De Lancie’s Q can be seen throughout and he appears in at least six of the ten episodes in season two. So now the question is: What is this “something” that is so important to Q that he wants Picard to do? And is this how or why they end up in the different timeline and/or back in time?

Hopefully, we will find out soon when Picard season two debuts. Paramount+ had announced season two was to arrive in February, however that was before they announced that Discovery season four was taking a five-week hiatus, returning in February. So, it’s reasonable to assume Picard will be pushed back.

John de Lancie talks Picard during Trek Talks Telethon

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Saturday’s Trek Talks Telethon is in support of The Hollywood Food Coalition, a charity located just a few blocks from the Paramount studio lot, where Star Trek has been filming for over 50 years. The coalition provides a hot, nourishing, multi-course meal for all comers seven nights a week. Plus, they have a number of programs to provide food and resources with 100+ not-for-profits in the Hollywood community. You can learn more about the Hollywood Food Coalition or donate now at

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Soooo excited to have Q back! Probably as excited as I was when I heard Janeway was coming back on Prodigy. For many fans Q is a big part of Star Trek even if he just drops in from time to time.

Can’t wait to see what this new version of Q will be like but happy to take him in any form. I hope he eventually shows up on Discovery and Prodigy someday too! Yes I know by the 32nd century the Federation hasn’t dealt with the Continuum since the 27th century but nothing stops them from showing up again either.

I agree that Q can show up whenever.

At least a gast role tng member is back. Apparently many of the main tng cast members are not considered worthy enough to bring them back.

Frakes was asked about this in an interview I saw a few days ago and he said he would love to see everyone back but it didn’t sound like it was in the cards so far. Of course he could just be hiding it but Frakes isn’t good at hiding anything. ;)

I think we will see most of them by the end of the show at least.

My guess: We’ll see them all in the final episode, which will be Picard’s funeral.

I doubt that they’re going to kill Picard twice in one short show.

Yeah it would be odd to kill him off yet again lol. Spock did die twice though but that was due to the actor himself dying. And that was decades after TWOK.

Kirk died twice in the same movie.

They THOUGHT Kirk died when the Nexus hit but he was actually fine for 80 years. That’s a big difference.

They THOUGHT Picard died, too. But Soong transferred Picard’s consciousness into another body, so is he really dead or did he just get the mother of all transplants?

By the way, Kirk is actually still fine. Leaving the Nexus doesn’t mean you’re not still in the Nexus. Guinan was still in there while she was also on the Enterprise. Kirk should be, too.

Picard is dead. Expired. A dead Parrot. New Picard is a copy. It’s like copying data from A to B, B is a copy of A. It isn’t A. Unless they took Picard’s biological brain out and put it in an android body, it’s a copy. I don’t even want to think about the metaphysical implications.

Then Picard died way back in “Lonely Among Us” and this is now Copy #3. :-)

That is actually not a bad theory.

Apparently many of the main tng cast members are not considered worthy enough to bring them back.

Jesus Christ. Come on, dude.

I know it’s completely off track for one to assume or to wish that main cast members of tng (who “created” and shaped Picard) got a bigger role (IF ANY) in here than a gast character or characters from other shows.
In how many episodes Q will be..? At least, Data, Riker & Troi got about 5 – 10 minutes screen time.

Wil Wheaton ,Levar Burton are also back for Season 2…you’ll see them or one of them in the next trailer

Hasn’t Burton literally said he’s NOT in season 2?

Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire swore up and down they weren’t in No Way Home either. ;)

In fact Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis both said they weren’t in the first season as well. Maybe Burton won’t be back but if he’s told not to say anything, then he has to play the game all these legacy actors do in these big franchises until told otherwise.

Tired of waiting for S2 :(

Yeah, me too. Its been a very long time now,
2 years in fact. There’s just radio silence from viacom/cbs. A weird strategy if you ask me.

What strategy? What need for explanations.

There’s been a pandemic that severely limited production and slowed postproduction. Not to mention COVID was and remains a particular threat to the oldest members of the cast, including Patrick Stewart.

If there was no pandemic, Picard would have probably came out last summer. But yeah, real world issues created problems for all these shows.

So a being of countless age and experience is more mature and has a different character after just 34 years?

How old was Q during TNG? I don’t recall it being stated. Why wouldn’t Q’s character evolve and change at that rate? Why would Q’s maturity be slower just because Q is immortal? Lest us not also forget W can do whatever they want so they can choose to be more mature.

Q’s son grew up to a teenager in a year or so, though.

Well… We really have no idea what the Q concept of time is. If 34 years to us is 100 years to them or 34 seconds to them… We only have what we have been presented about them. They are omnipotent. They seem to be infinite. Those two things right there suggests that 34 Earth years just isn’t long enough to get them to change. It would be like a human changing their views in a half second. It just doesn’t seem reasonable.

Again, let’s be fair and see if they address this somehow. I’m personally doubting they will but until we see the final product we are just speculating.

We don’t know how long its been for Q. It could have been thousands of years since he last saw Picard.

We don’t know how long its been for Q. It could have been thousands of years since he last saw Picard.

Or even millions or billions of years.

Personal growth can be triggered by a specific event. It doesn’t always have to be a continuous process.

Time means nothing for Q. Q is eternal. In Q there is no time.
As he said in Death Wish. Humans can’t understand it. It’s beyond our understanding.

He’s not a prophet. He does seem to experience his life in a linear manner.

Wow, with a peripheral glance, I would have sworn that was Alex Trebek. I sure miss him…

I’m excited that Q is rejoining the cast and I admire his willingness to want to advance the character in a different and more serious light and as he should seeing that today’s audience is maybe a bit more finicky. But the interestingly funny thing about what delancie said was that Q was older and more mature which in terms of SpaceTime for a Q 34 years is an extraordinarily fleeting passage of time…

I’ve been a Star Trek fan since the late 80s. It all started with TNG for me. Minus the nonsense plot with Q and Cap. Janeway he is a favorite character of mine. The VOY episode (death wish) where another Q and de Lancie plead with Janeway about the formers wish to end his life is one of his best I think. Ds9s (Q-less) was also a good one. Would’ve liked to see more of him on ds9.
I’m definitely interested to see what happens. A more mature Q is quite intriguing.

Happy New Year everyone!

So now the question is: What is this “something” that is so important to Q that he wants Picard to do? And is this how or why they end up in the different timeline and/or back in time?

Knowing Q, it could be something twisted like ensuring World War 3 happens, possibly involving helping (or saving the life of) someone nasty who plays a major role in the conflict. Maybe the “darker fascistic timeline” in the trailer is the *original* Prime timeline; the more familiar PU timeline only happens if Picard changes the future by siding with the bad guys pre-WW3 in the 21st century. Causality loop.

Trek canon does make a big deal about humanity “coming together” and becoming a much more enlightened culture after WW3, supposedly due to humans learning the right lessons from the horrors of the global war. But if the outcome of WW3 is different, or the war doesn’t happen at all, those lessons may never be learned, possibly resulting in the “fascistic timeline” by the 25th century.

Come to think of it, the story may be a 21st century version of “If you had access to time-travel, would you kill Hitler in the 1920s — or allow him to be assassinated — if you thought it would stop WW2 and prevent the Holocaust? Or do this in the middle of WW2, if it would prematurely bring the war to an end? *But what if the resulting future timeline later turns out to be even worse?* To prevent that from happening, would you make sure that Hitler rises to power and events continue as recorded in the history books? If necessary, would you personally foil the “Operation Valkyrie” assassination plot against Hitler, even if the plot had succeeded in the original timeline? Would you sacrifice millions in the past to save billions in the future?”

Another option may involve First Contact: Instead of peaceful Vulcans arriving post-WW3, there’s an attempted Romulan conquest of Earth pre- what would have been WW3. Humans manage to thwart the invasion, and WW3 doesn’t happen either, but the experience results in a more hardline human society and a dark future. So Picard may have to do something to change things here, with the Romulan angle adding further tough dilemmas for him.

Just guessing here, of course, but as always it’s fun to speculate.

PS. A number of Trekmovie commenters have previously recommended the show 12 Monkeys. If you like convoluted time-travel stuff, I recommend checking out a box set of the Canadian sci-fi show “Continuum”. Stunt-casted ST09 actress Rachel Nichols turns out to be really good in the lead role, one of the main antagonists (or is he?) is the actor who played The X-Files’ Cigarette Smoking Man, and later you’ll see a number of guest stars from the BSG reboot. The show is very intelligent, with great acting, smart dialogue, timely themes, and the story’s finale definitely lands the plane.

I’ve met de Lancie a couple times; he’s in no way a jerk. A smartass, definitely, but a jerk? No.

Random speculation, but what if the final result of Season 2 somehow results in a changed timeline where Picard no longer has the golem body? That he somehow retains his biological being? Just a thought …

I think there is a sizable percentage of fans who are actively hoping that Q snaps his fingers and makes JL human again.

and will seem like a cheat to do that?

Not to me. To me, the cheat was to have him “die” only to come back in a robot body.

Honestly, I’m surprised the “robot body” concept hasn’t come up more seriously in any of the Berman-era Treks or later. It was already old technology in TOS (Roger Korby in What Are Little Girls Made Of? and Uhura’s offer on the robot planet of I, Mudd) and had already been done well enough to fool Starfleet officers (and who knows how many others) by Ira Graves in TNG’s The Schizoid Man and Soong with Juliana Tainer in TNG’s Inheritance.

I don’t think it was a cheat at all. I think it was long overdue.

I know it has come up before but for the most part humanity has rejected the idea of essentially living forever in a robot body. Supported I think by the lack of their use in the TNG time nearly 80 years later. So while the tech is there it feels like a cheat as it not only goes against what humanity seems to have decided en mass but also goes against Picard’s own stated principles about what it means to be human.

For a human, or really a more finite character, 34 years is a pretty good length of time to change and become a different person. It happens quite often. But for a being with essentially an infinite life span 34 Terran years doesn’t sound like nearly enough time for such a being to grow and learn and change. But I guess that’s just me.

I have huge reservations about Q here. Q has always worked best when presented as a clownish figure who attempts to teach a perfect person some sort of lesson. If they want to go back to something more like his “Farpoint” appearance, that doesn’t bode well. He was NEVER scary. He never felt like a real threat. When he was being deadly serious it was very difficult to take him seriously. I guess we shall see when the show finally is made available but everything I am hearing and reading about season 2 of Picard just does not sound promising at all.

he’s not the big bad in this season but is the only one who can take picard on a journey that will help unravel a bigger threat to earth, the fed and starfleet

He never was the big bad in any episode, either. He was the one who annoyed everyone and could have fixed everything with a snap. But it was obvious he was never ever going to let anything happen to our heroes. And unless there is some other external force at work keeping Q from fixing what happened or reversing what he did, then I really don’t think this season of Picard is going to work.

it not going to be up to q to fix anything.
he likes to watch jean luc figure it out.

Not really. He likes to watch humanity struggle and then, if we haven’t figured it out, he will just tell us. Like he spoon fed Picard everything in All Good things. My initial comment stands. Unless there is a good reason why Q can’t just fix everything then the entire story arc will suck. I promise you that. Of course, there is still a very good chance it will suck even if there is a good reason for a lack of a Q quick fix, too…

Q looking older when he appears can be explained with one throwaway line:

Picard: “Q, I thought you were immortal. Why do you look like you’ve aged?”

Q: “Come now, Picard. I thought I’d relate to what you’ve experienced since we last saw each other. Call it my attempt at rapport, if you will.”

Correct. Only Q would say Mon Captaine instead of Picard ;)

De Lancie is looking very well, I can’t wait to see him on screen again.

I thought that he was appearing in six episodes total across both season 2 and season 3… ?

Found the quote:
“SO, how many episodes are you doing?” In other words, ‘When are you going to get out of my face?’ And the answer is six episodes. I think they are going to be coming out – actually I don’t know. But we are shooting season two and three all at the same time right now.