Well... I suppose that is the end of John de Lancie.
Au contraire, mon troper! He's back!
Yes, friends, Philadelphia-born actor John Sherwood de Lancie, Jr. (born March 20, 1948) is best known as that most magnificent of omnipotent bastards Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he was popular enough to return in Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Lower Decks, and Picard.
The son of a famous oboist (also named John de Lancie), de Lancie (the actor, by the way) was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child and didn't learn how to read until he was 12. At the age of 14 he was in a production of Henry V, setting him on the road of acting. He studied acting at Kent State University around the time of the 1970 shootings there. Eventually in the 1970s, he got television work in small character roles in such series like The Six Million Dollar Man and Battlestar Galactica (1978) as well as two doctor characters in the final Emergency TV Movies.
As stated above, his most famous role of Q from the Star Trek franchise, who despite only being in 8 episodes of TNG, 1 episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and 3 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager became quite popular with the fandom. In one of Q's appearances on Voyager de Lancie's son Keegan played Q's son. In 1996, he would co-found Alien Voices with fellow Star Trek alumnus Leonard Nimoy, which produced several sci-fi audio productions including answering a question of great importance to humanity - What would happen if Spock and Q ever met? Turns out something like this. He would return to the role of Q in The New '20s, with a voice cameo in Star Trek: Lower Decks and a critical supporting role in season 2 of Star Trek: Picard.
Being a part of Star Trek is far from de Lancie's only contribution to science fiction shows. He also played Frank Simmons in Stargate SG-1, CIA Director Allen Shapiro in the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood: Miracle Day, Russell Bennett in the film Evolver, and even appeared on Battlestar Galactica (1978). Other shows he has worked on include Law & Order: LA, Breaking Bad, Mission: Impossible (the revival from The '80s), and Charmed.
De Lancie's voice is quite distinctive and has lent it to several cartoons and video games. Notable roles include Dr. Quest in Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, Desmond's father William Miles in Assassin's Creed: Revelations, Professor Fitz Quadwrangle in Quantum Conundrum, Alarak in StarCraft (including Heroes of the Storm), Mr. Freeze on DC Super Hero Girls , and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic mischievous draconequus (and Q Expy) Discord, which is currently his most well-known voice-over role thanks to the show's immense popularity. He had completely forgotten he had done anything My Little Pony relatednote by the time a preview clip appeared online, at which point he was overwhelmed by the brony community, noting that at least Gene Roddenberry warned him about Trekkies beforehand. De Lancie has since come to embrace the bronies and worked on a documentary to help shed some light on the fandom.
Provides examples of:
- Cool Old Guy: Has become this to both Trekkies and Bronies.
- Deadpan Snarker: Comes across as a bit of one on his Twitter and two of his most well known roles are big ones as well. He has also proven to be an example at in-person Q&A sessions.
- Disability Superpower: His dyslexia made it difficult to read scripts and teleprompters, so he compensated by being ridiculously good at improvisation.
- The Gadfly: A brony recounts his meeting with Mr. De Lancie.
- "Not So Different" Remark: He has pointed out that Trekkies and Bronies have quite a lot in common, and has even said that Lauren Faust reminds him of Gene Roddenberry.
- Old Shame: Subverted with Discord. He originally took on the role for the paycheck and had forgotten about it by the time fan mail started pouring in. Now it's one of his favorite animated roles.
- Pigeonholed Voice Actor: Between Q, Discord, and Alarak, he has a thing these days for playing snarky Anti-Hero Trolls.
- Playing Against Type: Appears in Olaf's Frozen Adventure as Mr. Olsen, a normal human being, one who is not snarky and is not relevant to the plot. His role of Dr. Benton Quest in Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures is also about as far removed from Discord and Q as you could get.
- Troll: Apparently, he is as impish on set as he is in character.
- What Could Have Been:
- Voiced badass mentor John Lynch in Gen¹³: The Movie before it was indefinitely shelved by Disney (only ever officially released in Australia).
- If a certain someone at DHX Media had not spoken up, the role of Discord would've gone to someone else, and de Lancie likely wouldn't have become so enthralled in the brony community.
- The producers of Star Trek: Enterprise were hoping to have Q appear in one episode, but John de Lancie turned it down, since it was a prequel series, and having Q show up might mess up continuity.
- He was apparently interested in a role in My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) but was turned down. Discord does make a silent cameo in the film, however.