Everyone’s favorite Star Trek antagonist is back for season two of Star Trek: Picard–John de Lancie! John was kind enough to sit down with Fangirlish in a series of roundtable interviews with the cast and showrunner of the series.
For those who might be less familiar with John de Lancie, he’s got a long and varied resume, but Trek fans best know him as Q, the immortal antagonist introduced in the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. While anything seems possible for Trek fans these days, Picard perhaps more than any new Trek series, has brought classic Trek characters back to our screens in spades. While it’s perhaps inevitable that Q would eventually return to Picard, it certainly does not diminish my excitement that he’s back. Here are a few things that de Lancie had to say about returning to his most iconic role.
Snapping Back Into Action
When asked about recapturing the chaotic energy for the role of Q in this series, John said, “It was perhaps a little too easy. …You know that clicking of the fingers and stuff like that. I said you know, it’s just what I used to do with the kids like, ‘Pick up your clothes! Let’s go!’ so it was not difficult to get back into the role. Mostly because it’s just fun. It’s a fun role to play.”
But there’s more to playing Q than just snapping your fingers. This version of Q is not as playful as previous iterations of the character. John notes, “…there’s a deliciousness about it…so yes, I am mad, bad, and dangerous to know, but this time I don’t even have the time to screw around too much. Time is of the essence. That’s what you’re getting in this show right now, at least from me. We’ve got to do this and we’ve got to do this now. And you, in particular, have got to do this now because we don’t have much time, old man. You don’t have much time.”
“A Star Trek Spirit”
While there’s less manic energy to Q this time around, de Lancie noted that there’s a certain quality to Picard that pulls him back to his previous appearances on Star Trek. While audiences were introduced to Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, de Lancie also made appearances on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
When I asked about the spirit of the Picard series, John notes, “It has a Star Trek spirit, which is to say that it’s about something. It’s a darker show. …the way I’m playing the character now is a lot less whimsical. It would be kind of unseemly at this age to be trying to recreate what was done 20 something years ago. And the writers didn’t want that. They very, very specifically did not want that. So, as actors, what we’re mostly looking for is, ‘What does this scene mean? Does this mean something? What are we driving towards?’ And in that respect, the best of the Star Trek shows that I did in the past, and the best ones were all about these big philosophical questions and that is also the case here in Picard.”
Pushing for the Best
Star Trek has always been about ideas and the ways that we can imagine not only a better future but a better now. De Lancie believes that Q takes that idea to heart. He says of Q’s constant testing of humanity, “Perhaps it’s a desire on my part for you all to be better. To just be more human, better than what you’ve been in the past. In Next Generation, in ‘Far Point,’ [I ask] ‘Why do you deserve to be out here?’ It’s that teacher who you sort of have that hate and love relationship with, but they make you better, they challenge you more. I think that that’s a component in this character, and that’s the relationship I have with Picard, and with the rest of the cast, frankly.”
Coming Full Circle
Finally, de Lancie was asked about his satisfaction with the way Picard closes out the circle for him as an actor and Q as a character. I think his answer demonstrates his care for the character and also offers fans some tantalizing spoiler-free thoughts on the upcoming season of Picard.
“Well, it’s always the last time. So every time I finish the show, it’s the last time. When I finished ‘Far Point,’ it was the last time. You know, I am happy that I got another whack at it. I finished an episode not too long ago that was very satisfying. There’s a sense of continuation…a continuum to all of this that I’m becoming more comfortable with. I’m realizing that I get to put out a certain amount of energy and that the audience gets to pick up on that. [They] continue it and grow it more and more. I know all of this is beginning to sound a little ‘airy-fairy,’ but playing this role, I guess in a way, it becomes a little bigger than you. …I do my little part and then…so many people…add their parts to it. And I don’t mean from the point of view of the crew and the cast, I mean from the point of view of those who watch and listen. They add a little bit of themselves to this character. It’s wonderful.”
Are you ready to see Q mess with Jean-Luc one last time? I know I am.
Hailing Frequencies are Open
Thanks very much to the folks at Paramount+ for inviting Fangirlish to participate in these roundtables. Be sure to stay tuned for more interview recaps with the cast and crew of Star Trek: Picard and set your hailing frequencies to our #StarTrek tag for every bit of Star Trek coverage here on the site.
Season Two of Star Trek: Picard will air on March 3, 2022, on Paramount+.