Star Trek: Lower Decks to Feature John De Lancie as Q

The god-like antagonist of Star Trek: The Next Generation will pop into Lower Decks this season.

Star Trek: Lower Decks
Photo: CBS All Access

During the panel for Star Trek: Lower Decks on Tuesday (September 8) as part of CBS All Access’ Star Trek Day festivities, showrunner Mike McMahan revealed that two legacy Star Trek actors will both make appearances during the second half of the animated series’ premiere season.

First, McMahan spilled that John de Lancie will make a brief cameo as Q, the all-powerful, extra-dimensional entity who made his very first appearance on the pilot episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Encounter at Farpoint,” back in 1987. De Lancie’s Q became a recurring foil for Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), appearing in eight episodes throughout the show’s seven-season run and bringing the series full circle by guesting on “All Good Things…”, the series finale.

“We do have John de Lancie as Q in a small part,” McMahan said about Q dropping in on Lower Decks. “The whole show is not about him, but it’s hard to make a TNG-era show and not have Q show up. Eagle eyed viewers will catch him.”

A brief teaser played during the panel did feature a quick glimpse of Q, bedecked in the same robes he wore in “Encounter at Farpoint.”

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McHahan also discussed the casting of another Star Trek legacy actor: Kurtwood Smith. The actor may be best known as Clarence Boddicker in the original RoboCop and as patriarch Red Forman in the long-running That 70s Show. But he also played the exquisitely coiffed Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, almost getting assassinated during the movie’s climactic moments but for the quick actions of Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Chief Engineer Scott (James Doohan).

According to McMahan, Smith will voice an alien called Klaar on Lower Decks, but the showrunner declined to provide further details about the role.

McMahan also noted that the idea on Lower Decks is not just to bring back legacy Trek actors to voice the roles they’re known for, but to have them appear as new characters as well, hinting that future guest appearances could be in store.

Lower Decks premiered earlier this summer as the first non-live action Trek series since Star Trek: The Animated Series had a brief two-season run in 1973 and 1974. The show, which focuses on the support crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos, has already been renewed for a second 10-episode season despite earning mixed reviews from critics and fans. New episodes premiere Thursdays on CBS All Access.