Star Trek: Picard: John de Lancie Was Surprised by Call to Return as Q in Season 2

When Paramount+ (then CBS All Access) first announced Star Trek: Picard, it seemed obvious to some fans that the show should bring back John de Lancie as Q. The near-omnipotent Q was Picard's first opponent in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He then bookended the series by appearing in its finale, leaving Picard with the ominous message, "The trial never ends." It seems natural that he'd be back to test Picard further later in life. That turned out not to be the case, at least not in Star Trek: Picard's first season. When de Lancie did get the call to return in Star Trek: Picard's second season, he was as surprised as anyone.

"I got a call from Terry [Matalas], who's the executive producer to come in, and he said, 'Well you were expecting this, weren't you?' And I go, 'No, no, Terry, actually, I wasn't expecting it. The franchise has done a bunch of movies without me and, I dare say, the Picard series. So no, I was not expecting it," de Lancie tells ahead of Star Trek: Picard's second season premiere. "I'm delighted, but I was not expecting it. And he said, 'Well I just want you to know that when I came on board, the first thing I said was "Q's coming back."'  And I was like, 'Okay, well here I am.' So I'm delighted, I'm delighted."

Q may be back, but he's not going to be the same Q who danced around the deck of the Enterprise-D decades ago. He might be immortal, but he has benefited from the wisdom of age.

"There are many things. First of all, it's different writers," de Lancie says when asked about the difference in Q in Star Trek: Picard. "Secondly, it's a long time ago. Many years have passed in Earth time. It's been, I don't know, 20 years, let's say. Also, there's a concern, from an acting point of view, from a creative point of view, that it's very dangerous territory to try to go in and recreate. There's nothing more unseemly than to see an old guy trying to go like this," he continues, mimicking the dance he once performed as Q on a Next Generation episode, "and it's like, 'Oh my God, please stop.'

"But those were all sorts of things that I was a little concerned about when I went in to have a chat with them and they allayed my fears almost immediately by saying, 'We are looking for a different side of this character. It's a different time. He's older, wiser, still potentially as dangerous, but there's an agenda, and the agenda is not just how it affects Picard, but there's an agenda which is fueled from here,'" de Lancie continued pausing to point at his heart. "And I went, 'Oh, okay, tell me more, I'm interested.' So, we talked more about it and I said, 'Okay, I understand.' So there's a part of me that is a little concerned that the expectation is that it's just going to be more of the same from Next Gen period of time, but audiences have to understand that this is a different world. We are in a different world."


Star Trek: Picard's second season debuts on Paramount+ on March 3rd. The first season is streaming now.