Monthly Archives: July 2024

What did Q think about Wesley Crusher?

An omnipotent and (reasonably) omniscient being comes to visit our crew, and yet only interacts in a most cursory way with the one member of the crew who is on the verge of transcendence[1]. Why?

Q is the most canonical foil to the Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) Enterprise crew, from the pilot[2], where he declares humanity a dangerous, savage child race, to the series finale, where he helps Picard expand his mind.

Wesley Crusher is the boy genius of the crew, responsible for saving the day on numerous occasions. The Traveler, a being who is able to transcend space (and perhaps time) with the power of thought, sees Wesley’s potential, works with him to save his mother[3], and eventually takes him under his wing to help him develop his powers.

These powers, as demonstrated by Wesley (and The Traveler), include manipulation of and travel through time and space.

So, if Wesley already had the potential to manifest these powers, why did Q not interact with him at all, save for a throwaway ‘gift’ through Riker of temporarily growing him up?

Two images.  First image titled 'Expectations', from TNG episide 'Hide and Q', showing the 10-years-older Wesley Crusher along with his mother Beverly Crusher.
Second image titled 'Reality' showing  a recent image of Wil Wheaton at a convention, adorably and excitedly holding something.
Adult Wesley Crusher: Expectation vs. (Adorable) Reality

Given Q’s demonstrated abilities to simulate entire future and past realities, and his also demonstrated ruthlessness over policing beings with Q powers, one might expect more actions or reactions from him.

Some possible in-universe theories:

Q is unaware of Wesley’s powers, latent or otherwise.
– This feels unlikely, for the reasons above, but it’s possible the powers were latent enough so as to be beneath notice whenever Q encountered Wesley, and Q did not visit the Enterprise between the time when Wesley first manifests his powers (4×05:Remember Me), and when Wesley leaves the Enterprise (4×09:Final Mission).
– It’s also possible (as S suggests) that the Q Continuum had decided to chaperone humans (or even specifically Wesley), and while interacting with the Enterprise, Q fell in love with Picard, basically ignoring all others[4][5].

Q considers Wesley’s powers beneath his notice
– It’s possible that Wesley and The Traveler’s powers are beneath the notice of the Q Continuum. Perhaps their teleportation or basic time manipulation is only moving around in one reality, whereas the Q Continuum is easily able to create alternate realities with a snap of the fingers

Q considers Wesley’s powers as ‘part of what should happen’
– Part of the conceit of the Loki series is the ‘sacred timeline’ where there is a set of timelines that are what is ‘supposed’ to happen. It is possible that the Q Continuum is involved in watching over this in the Trek universe(s). In this theory, Wesley and The Traveler’s powers are progressing as expected, and don’t require intervention or notice. Q could be indirectly pushing this future by letting Riker age up Wesley, to have the dialogue:

Wesley: “I just want to get there on my own”
Q: “But it’s easier, boy”,

to help Wesley build his willpower/sense of self.

Q wants to hide Wesley’s powers from the Continnum (or others)
– Perhaps drawing attention to Wesley’s powers would cause too many problems, preventing them from developing, or intervention from the wrong parties[6] (perhaps even including the Q Continuum).
– Perhaps Q interacting with Wesley would activate Beverly’s even more latent powers, something for some reason that Q is trying to avoid.

Q considers such powers as unimportant relative to a species’ emotional maturity
– Q mentions the word ‘Savage’ multiple times in the pilot. Perhaps Q sees powers such as Wesley and The Travelers’ as inevitable, but what is far more important is the emotional maturity of the species that will be wielding them (so the Continuum can trust them, instead of having to purge them). Some folks over at the Daystrom Insitute[7] speculated that it was some combination of Picard representing the mainstream of human thought[8], and some aspects that the Q don’t have.

So, what do you think? Is it one of the above, or something else?

[1] The most evocative example of this in TNG is ‘John Doe‘ from ‘Transfigurations‘, who transforms into a being of light at the end of the episode.

[2] The series pilot gave us my favourite-named character in all of Star Trek, also spawning a music group and an absurd meme page.

[3] Wesley’s mother, Beverly mentions that her thoughts created the pocket universe/warp bubble that she is trapped in, that they’re working to save her from. This suggests a possible inherited component, if she is also able to bend bend or create spacetime with a thought. “My thoughts created this universe. Can they get me out of it again?”

[4] Except Riker, in ‘Hide and Q‘. Interestingly, if you attribute Q’s actions to a grand plan to prepare the Enterprise to counteract the Borg threat, it would make sense for him to assess and test both Picard and Riker.

[5] Also Data. Someone must have had rank order on the brain.

[6] You think that you see ‘Many Bubbles‘ instead of ‘Fingers’. In the case of the Q Continuum, this might actually be true, as they seem to be able to simulate entire realities.

[7] In case of link rot:


Q can manipulate space-time already. Why would they be interested in that? Q says over the course of his adventures he’s interested in growth, change, evolution. He says humans might one day be greater than Q because they have qualities that Q don’t. He’s probably only interested in beings with traits that aren’t normally expressed by Q. Wesley probably just doesn’t share these qualities with Picard or Riker. Wesley is a genius no doubt but so is Q. Wesley can affect space-time with his mind, but so can Q. Wesley just doesn’t show promise of something new to the Q, even if he is an advanced human.

“…Actually I think Q is more interested in human development in the social and moral sense, not a random genetic mutation that gave some kid mutant powers. Wesley is not representative of human government and political attitudes. Picard is…”


Q isn’t particularly interested in the development of human capabilities beyond noting that they are progressing, he’s more interested in human moral ethical and philosophical development. I think Q being able to exist beyond linear time knows that humanity will develop into Q like beings if they’re allowed to keep on developing for long enough. In that case seeing one human who’s ahead of the curve in wesely wouldn’t be all that interesting to him, just a precursor to something that he already knows is going to happen.

What Q is interested in is the philosophical development of humanity, it’s shown that the Q continuum does in fact have some pretty strict rules about interference and how individual Q are allowed to use their powers. They seem in fact to have something like their own version of the prime directive if what various Q besides Q himself have to say (we need a pronoun for the Q that’s not just Q btw). Among the continuum Q seems to be the one most willing to skirt the boundaries of what they consider proper, but he also doesn’t appear to actually disagree with the continuum’s moral or ethical stance. Most of the time when he does something strange or incomprehensible it’s later revealed to be a test, and almost always a test of ethical behavior that conforms to what both the federation and the continuum appear to espouse: the idea that they shouldn’t abuse their superior powers compared to various less developed lifeforms and civilizations.

Q wasn’t interested in Wesley because Wesley wasn’t really all that interesting, he was just starting to develop the powers that Q knew humans were going to develop. Picard and Riker were much more interesting because of their ethics and morals, they were much more representative of where humans were going philosophically than Wesely who was just a kid with talent.

[8] What does it mean to open the mind of someone in the mainstream? In ‘All Good Things…’, Q opens Picard’s mind to the idea that one can affect the very initial development of one’s species…but this is not a particularly difficult scientific concept, especially given the number of time travelers. One would think that any number of Sci-Fi genre-savy individuals exist in the Federation. So why Picard? Is it just that Q likes him, or sees something in him? Is he helping ‘farm’ humans, in a more respectful way than the Borg? Is there something in what it takes to grow a good starship captain, to grow someone who can make generally good decisions independently, and lead people? Is it especially important to be able to convince *that* person, to open *their* mind?? (Cf. statements about how long it takes to grow a resilient investment bank.). Does it have something to do with the difference between a Sci-Fi writer or even theoretical physicist thinking something is possible, and someone at the helm of the mainstream *knowing* that something is possible? Think about how you would change your actions if you knew something about future science or even just the future with *absolute certainty* instead of just informed speculation.