Q Star Trek
Template:ST Character In the Star Trek fictional universe, the Q are a race of near-omnipotent, immortal and near-omniscient god-like beings from a parallel existence called the Q Continuum. They are largely indifferent to the affairs of the non-Q beings living in normal space, with a few exceptions. The most notable of these is Q as played by John de Lancie, a mischievous Q who periodically harasses the crews of starships and space stations. He also has a flair for the dramatic, whisking away the crew to exotic locations, engaging in elaborate speeches, donning costumes and, even though he does not need to, snapping his fingers to engender many of his manifestations.
Other members of the Continuum featured on the series are Q's spouse Q, their son q (called Junior by his father, and signified by a lower-case q in writing), Q2 who is a friend of Q, Quinn - a rogue Q who demands to be allowed to commit suicide, and Amanda Rogers who was raised like a human but eventually discovered her true identity. Fans have speculated that Trelane from the original series episode "The Squire of Gothos" was also a Q (see below).
Some episodes have suggested that the Q evolved since the Big Bang to their current state, and that possibly they were like humans very early on. (One member of the Q once referred to a "New Era" among the Continuum, during which an important change occurred in the species. No further details were given, although the New Era may have been the time at which the ancient Q finally abandoned their material bodies and became incorporeal.) Q once suggested that eventually humanity might even advance beyond the Q.
Q is one of the most beloved recurring characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation, in large part due to the comedic and dramatic chemistry between actors de Lancie and Patrick Stewart (who plays Picard, captain of the Enterprise). Data characterised the relationship between the two much like that between a master and its pet. Q's later Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager appearances were less appreciated by many people.
Q began the series as a villain, who threatened all of humanity with annihilation. In later episodes he became more of a prankster, although there was always a reason for his presence. Q evolved over time into a sympathetic, and sometimes even pitiable character. In one Season 3 episode, "Déjà Q", Q loses his powers and is cast out by the Continuum. It is in this episode we discover Q's very real human side and his loneliness and self-loathing. He is nothing without his powers, and he realises this.
Toward the end of the Next Generation series, Q is less antagonistic towards Picard, even, in the episode "Tapestry" apparently saving Picard's life and helping the captain to understand himself better. In the final episode of the series, "All Good Things...", Q seems to have reverted back to his previous villainy, ruling the human race inferior and threatening their destruction, but he does give Picard a "helping hand" in saving humanity, something for which Picard expresses regret. This unchanged attitude by Q may be explainable by what he said in "All Good Things...", "The trial never ended, Captain. We never reached a verdict. But, now we have: you're guilty." This would seem to indicate that from Q's point of view, the two episodes were contiguous.
In Q's later appearances on the other shows, he has less of the humanity that categorised his TNG appearances, and is more comic relief. The episode "Death Wish" (of Star Trek: Voyager) featured the first recorded visit by outsiders to the Q Continuum – the Q were surprised at this, as they usually do not get visitors. The native appearance of the Continuum is completely unknown to outsiders, as most non-Q would be unable to perceive or understand it. Upon such visits by humans, the Continuum decided that reinterpretations would be used to make it comprehensible, appearing as a truck stop on a desert road, a Civil War battlefield, and other forms.
- In his portrayal of Q, John de Lancie used as his inspiration a description attributed to Lord Byron: "Mad, bad and dangerous to know."
- The letter Q was chosen for the character/race name by Gene Roddenberry, in honor of his friend Janet Quarton.
- In his first appearance - Encounter at Farpoint, the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation - Q briefly assumes the uniform of a U.S. Marine. Q's Marine uniform and insignia are identical to the uniform worn by a real Marine - Oliver North.
- In All Good Things..., Q became the first Star Trek character ever to use the word "trek" in dialog.
- In Star Trek: Borg Q claimed his name was "short for Q". Conversely, in the radio drama Spock vs. Q, he claimed his full name was two light years long and that he'd "love to pronounce it for you, but explaining cold fusion would be easier."
- In the Voyager episode Q2, Q introduced his son (Q Junior) who is actually played by Keegan de Lancie, John de Lancie's real life son.
Episodes featuring one or more Q
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- "The Squire of Gothos – not canon †
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Star Trek: Voyager
- Computer game
- Radio Dramas:
- Alien Voices - Spock vs. Q
- Alien Voices - Spock vs. Q - The Sequel
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- Q Rules! - An Unauthorized History by Atara Stein