Q is a fictional character who appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, as well as in related products. In all of these programs, he is played by John de Lancie.
Q has omnipotent powers, and is continually evasive regarding his motivations. His home, the Q Continuum, is accessible to Qs or on the rare occasions permitted, and the true nature of it is said to be beyond the comprehension of "lesser beings" such as humans so it is only shown to humans in ways they can understand.
Beginning with the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Q became a recurring character, with pronounced comedic and dramatic chemistry between himself and Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Gene Roddenberry chose the letter "Q" in honor of his friend, Janet Quarton. The name "Q" also applies to all other individuals of the Q Continuum as well.
Q is a mischievous, threatening, omnipotent being who has taken an interest in humans. Q's power is limited only in that he cannot overcome others in the Q Continuum. He can stop death, create life, travel through time, stop time, multitask/create multiple versions of himself and create entire worlds effortlessly. He can change a person's mind or make them take any action.
Q's mercurial personality switches between camp joking and deadly threats. While boastful, condescending, and threatening, he arguably has humanity's best interests at heart, as seen in The Next Generation series finale, "All Good Things...", in which he causes Jean-Luc Picard to shift through chronological periods, giving him a chance to save humanity. In his portrayal of Q, John de Lancie used Lady Caroline Lamb's description of Lord Byron as "mad, bad and dangerous to know" as his inspiration. Q most often appears as a human male dressed in a Starfleet uniform with Captain's rank.
In his debut, "Encounter at Farpoint", Picard and the Enterprise crew are put on trial arguing that humanity was a dangerous race and should be destroyed. However, by saving the life of a kidnapped alien species, the crew proved humanity's worth. His next appearance was later in the first season in the episode "Hide and Q", where he wanted to have a human enter the Continuum, settling on Picard's first officer, Commander Riker (the reason being that humanity had the potential to one day evolve beyond the Q and Q wanted to understand how), but Riker remained human. After this he appears in "Q Who?". He offers to devest himself of his powers and guide humanity in its quest into uncharted territories and prepare it for unprepared threats. When Picard argues that humans are capable of dealing with anything, Q whisks the U.S.S. Enterprise to the system J-25 for what is presumably the first human encounter with the Borg. Picard resorts to asking for Q to save the ship. Surprised, Q brings the Enterprise home and tells Picard that other men would rather have died than ask for help. It is implied in the episode and later stated in the Star Trek TNG Companion that the Borg already knew about Earth and were already en route, Q's actions actually giving humanity an early warning.
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