Q (Star Trek)

fictional character from Star Trek, played by John de Lancie

Q is the name of a fictional character from Star Trek. It is also the name of his race. Q appears in Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Lower Decks and in related media. John de Lancie plays the Q character. He is an extra-dimensional being. The human characters do not know how he came to exist. He has power over time, space, the laws of physics, and reality itself. He is capable of changing reality and even the past when he wants to. Q only sometimes uses contractions in his speech.

Star Trek uses the name "Q" for the names of all the individuals from the Q species. All male and female Q characters refer to each other as "Q." They also call their whole race "Q" and call their home "the Q Continuum" – an alternate dimension accessible to only the Q and people they choose to bring there. The true nature of the realm is said to be beyond the comprehension of "lesser beings" such as humans. When humans go there, they see it in ways they can understand; e.g., a run-down gas station in the "middle of nowhere."

Beginning with the pilot episode "Encounter at Farpoint" of The Next Generation, Q became a recurring character. Most of his scenes are both dramatic and funny. He enjoys annoying Jean-Luc Picard, the serious human captain of the Enterprise D. He serves as a major antihero throughout The Next Generation. He is an important part of both the first and last episodes of the show. Q is first presented as a cosmic force judging humanity to see if it is becoming a threat to the universe. However, as the series continues, his role morphs more into one of a teacher to Picard and the human race generally, although he often does this in ways that seem destructive or disruptive or meant for his own fun. Other times, notably during "Deja Q" and Voyager, Q appears to the crew seeking assistance. For example, one time all the other Q turned Q human as a punishment.

Gene Roddenberry chose the letter "Q" in honor of his friend Janet Quarton.[1]


  1. Star Trek Creator – The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry by David Alexander p. 536