Star Trek Actor Imitates His Onscreen Villain

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek: deep space nine feature

Star Trek is a franchise filled with many larger-than-life characters, and most are very different from the actors who brought them to life. However, on one occasion, a guest star ended up imitating his onscreen villain on set most unexpectedly. In the Deep Space Nine episode “Q-Less,” John de Lancie appeared as Q, and Quark actor Armin Shimerman later commented that the guest seemingly acted like he was the star of the show and everyone in the permanent cast was just “visitors.”

John De Lancie On The Set Of Deep Space Nine

What is the full context for this juicy bit of Star Trek gossip? It all began when Armin Shimerman was reminiscing about how John de Lancie’s Q was bouncing off of Avery Brooks’ Sisko. Contrasting them, Shimerman noted that “Avery is the lead and so he has the responsibility and that recognition in himself,” but the Ferengi actor felt that “John de Lancie came on the set with his own agenda” thanks to playing Q for half a decade at that point.

De Lancie Acted Like The Star

Shimerman spoke of an agenda on de Lancie’s part, but just what was the agenda? The guest actor was “very familiar with his end and thought of us sort of as the new kids.” Continuing this line of thought, the Quark actor said “we were the regulars, he was the guest star, but he felt like he was the regular and we were the visitors.”

Channeling Q For A Different Series

While John de Lancie’s alleged behavior on set may have been annoying to the series regulars, we can’t get over how much it sounds exactly like the actor was channeling his Q character. On The Next Generation, Q is basically a god, and he acts like it, which has frequently included wearing Starfleet uniforms and acting like he’s really in charge of the Enterprise. It’s one more way he gets under Picard’s skin, but it also makes perfect sense…if anybody was going to permanently suffer from main character syndrome, it would be a walking, talking god.

In case you’re wondering, John de Lancie wasn’t offended by what Armin Shimerman said about Q’s little visit to Deep Space Nine. Claiming that “I love that Armin quote,” he said, “I couldn’t be so chameleon-like as to be a different character just because I was on a different set…there would be kind of a bigness about Q that maybe permeates the tide pool.”

Understandable That Q Would Be Hard To Turn Off

star trek q

Looking at the quotes of both Armin Shimerman and John de Lancies about the Q performance, we find it hard to take a side because both men are seemingly correct. While de Lancie is not a Method actor, it still makes sense that he would get into character by channeling some of the arrogance and influence of Q. The character himself always acts like the biggest man on campus, so we can easily see the actor consciously or unconsciously doing the same thing on set.

Wasted On A Disappointing Episode

On the other hand, we can see where Shimerman was coming from…for better or for worse, “Q-Less” was only the seventh episode of the entire series. The cast and crew were still finding their space legs, and we can see how an insanely confident actor treating the main actors like guest stars could really throw them off their game. But de Lancie is right in that the audience expected the same Q they knew and loved from TNG, and playing the character softer would have potentially sanded off the very edges fans were tuning in to see.

At any rate, all of this sturm and drang didn’t amount to a single bar of latinum. No matter what kind of arch and commandeering stage presence John de Lancie had as Q, this Star Trek episode is one of the most forgettable of the series and wasted a wonderful guest star. Honestly, if we had the powers of the Q Continuum, the first thing we’d do is snap our fingers and make “Q-Less” into something worth watching.

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