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Star Trek Theory: Q Was In The Original Series

Trekkies can agree that Q (John de Lancie) is one of the most powerful and dangerous foes Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his Enterprise-D crew ever faced off against. In a 24th century brimming with Romulans, Ferengi, and even the Borg, Q's abilities and charisma arguably made him more unpredictable than any of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" villains.

Q first appeared in the 1987 series premiere of "TNG" titled "Encounter at Farpoint," but many "Star Trek" diehards believe the fan theory (via TrekCulture) that suggests Q is also General Trelane (William Campbell) from "Star Trek: The Original Series." Campbell also guest starred as the Klingon Koloth in Season 2's "The Trouble with Tribbles," but his one and only appearance as Trelane came in "TOS" Season 1 episode "The Squire of Gothos."

"I always believed Trelane was in fact just Q since they both are obsessed with humans and dress in military uniforms," YouTuber @Martin Western wrote in the comments. "And [they] also both love messing with the captain of the Enterprise." Yes, there were many similar traits shared by both Q and Trelane, not the least of which was their God-like powers. And as Q did with Picard, Trelane took a perverse interest in James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew. But, in the end, it was Trelane's parents who put an end to their child's all-powerful tantrum. Whether General Trelane was a Q or the Q, he was a spoiled brat. 

The General Trelane/Q theory

The "Star Trek" theory (via TrekCulture) posits a Q appeared in "TOS." However, are General Trelane and Q different beings, or are they the same character appearing in two generations of the "Star Trek" franchise? "Q is simply a grown version of Trelane," YouTuber @Martin Western wrote in the comments. "And even the fact that it's only 80 years later when Q appears but he can go to any time he wants and look how he wants to. I also think that the machine Trelane uses isn't the source of his power, but used to cover up his games from his parents as they only appear after it's destroyed."

"As vast as the reach of the Q continuum is, it seems unlikely that two different 'juvenile Q' would be in similar parts of the universe within a hundred years of each other," @JesseCole posted. "Both with the same penchant for dressing up like Napoleon and harassing starships and/or putting their crews on 'trial.'" Jesse Cole goes on to argue that a hundred-year lifespan allows a human being time to mature completely. The YouTuber also compared Q/Trelane's childlike disposition to that of a youngster who likes to play with bugs.

"I also definitely agree that the Q-like character in the original series was a Q," @StaceyNainLab commented. However, it's unclear within the confines of the "Star Trek" universe whether Q and Trelane are one in the same. For that answer, Trekkies need to look outside the box.

There was a Q in their midst

Most concede a member of the Q appeared in "TOS," but whether he's the same Q from "TNG" is debatable. Or is it? "Trelane being a Q isn't a fan theory," YouTuber @marquisofcarrabass explained in the comments (via TrekCulture). "It's Expanded Universe." The user refers to the non-canonical 1994 novel "Q-Squared" written by Peter David. In that story, the General Trelane/Q debate is answered unequivocally: Q and General Trelane are different.

Trelane is an adolescent who is mentored by the adult Q who first appears in "TNG." Remember, "Q-Squared" isn't canon, but the actor who portrayed Q (John de Lancie) has his own thoughts on the debate. "The character of Trelane has a lot of characteristics that are very much like Q," de Lancie said in an interview (via YouTube). "That's when it occurred to me that Gene [Roddenberry] had probably called upon that character either consciously or unconsciously."

"It's kind of carrying that baton through time," de Lancie continued. "My contribution is to continue that idea that started very possibly with Trelane — I'm not sure, but very possibly with Trelane. I wouldn't be surprised." It's logical to assume that a Q did terrorize the U.S.S. Enterprise crew under the command of Captain Kirk (Shatner) in "The Squire of Gothos." However, the debate rages, and Trekkies remain divisive on whether or not General Trelane and Q are the same.