Weekend Warrior 3: Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie

Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard, Professor X) and John de Lancie (Q from Star Trek) appeared together onstage at a Q&A panel at the 2012 Wizard World Ohio Comic Con.  I found Patrick to be humble and good-natured, but a bit hesitant to discuss Star Trek.  De Lancie was quick to point out he has only appeared in nine total episodes of the series, but he was eager to discuss his time on the show.

On Columbus, Ohio:  Mr. Stewart has been to the state before, when he spent six weeks in the dry town of Oberlin, Ohio as the visiting artist in residence at Oberlin College, but this was his first time in Columbus.  He said he was delighted at the city’s wide-open spaces, joking that he felt it was unfinished.  Furthermore he crossed two brand new bridges and remarked on how rare it is for any city to have even one brand new bridge.  The cherry on top of his visit was when he turned a corner and found two DeLoreans parked on the street.  It is assumed that neither of these was the Back to the Future DeLorean, as it was also on hand this weekend, but instead two separate DeLoreans.

On playing Professor X:  Many of his acting tools were removed by sitting in a wheel chair.  Stewart enjoyed finding a way to work around that, but one notable difference with playing a character in a wheelchair was that when the director yelled cut, everyone on set would sit down to take a break.  At which time, Mr. Stewart would stand up!  He claimed no knowledge of the rumored X-Men: First Class Sequel.

On the grammar in Star Trek: The Next Generation:  The grammar was persistently flawless because Jonathan Frakes’ father was an English teacher.  Frakes insisted everything be perfect to honor his parent.

Midway through the hour Patrick opened the show for questions from the audience at which point a voice boomed from the back of the meeting hall, interrupting him mid-sentence, “Who is your favorite nemesis!?”  It was John de Lancie, who then joined Stewart onstage.

On the difference between playing Shakespeare as a young man and playing Shakespeare now: “The longer you do any job, the better you get at it.”  They both said they were fearless when they were younger and willing to throw themselves into any role.  Mr. de Lancie has lost interest in acting as he’s aged, while Mr. Stewart contrasts the fear he felt in his youth with the fun and excitement he feels now.  Patrick told a story of filming the Star Trek pilot without packing his suitcase because he was terrified he would be fired before it wrapped.

On two Shakespearean actors playing opposing roles: the show’s writers recognized what they had in an early episode and wrote the dialog between Picard and Q based on what they knew the actors could deliver. Very little interactions between the two characters were improvised.

On playing Q:  de Lancie found a way to make and omnipotent character interesting by playing him as an omnipotent character that was too stupid to realize he was omnipotent.  Mr. de Lancie filled the crowd in on the one scene where Q actually broke the fourth wall and addressed the audience.  It was a deleted scene from the Qpid episode where the crew was sent back to medieval times, Picard became Robin Hood, the bridge crew became the Merry Men, and Q became the Sheriff of Nottingham.  A guard told Q he was excited for the following day, where there was a wedding and an execution scheduled, and then left the room.  Q then turned to stare at the audience and said, “But I thought all weddings were executions.”

On Q’s best rival: When Q appeared on Voyager, the writers never addressed the elephant in the room, which was whether or not there was a romantic attraction between Janeway and Q.  Picard and Q were portrayed as two alpha males competing with each other, which de Lancie enjoyed the most.

On Current Projects: John has recently performed voice-acting roles in My Little Pony and the Quantum Conundrum video game.  When appearing on Breaking Bad, he could tell it was a special show from the quality of the writing and the care taken in the filming process, similar to what Star Trek was like.  De Lancie has done much of what he set out to accomplish with acting and is focusing on developing his skills as a sailor so that he can make a voyage on his sailboat to the southern sea.

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