- "My name is Guinan. I tend bar, and I listen."
- - Guinan, 2368
Guinan was the mysterious bartender in Ten Forward, the lounge aboard the USS Enterprise-D. She was well known for her wise counsel, which had proven invaluable many times. She was an El-Aurian, a race of "listeners" who were scattered by the Borg. Q, however, once suggested that there is far more to her than could be imagined.
Guinan was born some time before Earth's late 19th century on the El-Aurian homeworld. When she was a child, she had a Tarcassian razor beast as an imaginary friend. When she was troubled she'd talk to it, and she enjoyed just curling up on his warm belly. As she grew older, she found that she talked to it less and less, but the idea always remained. (TNG: "Imaginary Friend")
As a mature adult, she hid from her father on Earth (prior to the planet's first official contact with an alien race), posing as a celebrated socialite in San Francisco. While there, she entertained such luminaries as Samuel Clemens. (TNG: "Time's Arrow")
In 1893, she encountered Data from the 24th century, who claimed they were friends from the Enterprise, but Guinan had no knowledge of this. She learned about his predicament, and agreed to help in any way she could in stopping the Devidians from getting the energy of the 19th century Humans and get Data back to the 24th Century. She also met Picard, Riker, La Forge, Troi, and Dr. Crusher from Data's time. When Data stopped the Devidians from attacking them, his head blew off, and his body, with Samuel Clemens, and the Enterprise crew other than Picard went to the 24th century. Picard stayed behind to make sure she was all right. When Clemens helped Picard return, he saw to her wounds. (TNG: "Time's Arrow", "Time's Arrow, Part II")
She traveled extensively over the next several hundred years, eventually becoming a refugee aboard the SS Lakul in 2293. Guinan, along with the rest of her ship, subsequently became caught in the Nexus, an experience she described as "being inside joy". Guinan, along with most of the other El-Aurian refugees, were traumatized upon being pulled out of it. In 2371, Captain Jean-Luc Picard conferred with the "echo" of Guinan who remained in the timeless Nexus and, with her help, was eventually able to leave the Nexus. (Star Trek Generations)
Aboard the USS Enterprise-D
Guinan came aboard the Enterprise-D in 2365 at Captain Picard's personal request. Guinan and Picard shared a long-time relationship, which, according to her, went "beyond friendship and beyond family" (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"), although she also claimed to have only met Picard after boarding the Enterprise. (TNG: "The Child")
In Ten Forward, she kept a selection of alcoholic beverages for special occasions, in opposition to Starfleet's synthehol regulations, including a bottle of Aldebaran whiskey given to her by Captain Picard. (TNG: "Relics") As lounge host, she made herself available to anyone in need, especially to the senior staff, as an informal counselor.
In mid-2366, Lt. Commander Data believed spending time in Ten Forward observing Human social interaction would be beneficial for his android "offspring" called Lal. With Guinan's guidance, Lal worked as a waitress for a brief period. (TNG: "The Offspring")
No stranger to the phaser range, Guinan once beat Worf on Level 14, firing left-handed. (TNG: "Redemption") When in 2367 REM sleep-deprived crewmembers began to draft conspiracy theories about the Enterprise's inability to escape the Tyken's Rift, Guinan was able to defuse the situation, thanks to an energy-beam rifle she had acquired on Magus III. (TNG: "Night Terrors")
In early-2369, Guinan, together with Captain Picard, Ro Laren, and Keiko O'Brien, were affected by an anomaly that caused them to revert to the bodies of twelve-year-olds due to the effects of a molecular reversion field. While Captain Picard temporarily stepped down from command, a group of Ferengi commandeered the Enterprise. Believing Guinan to be a child, she was confined to a classroom aboard the ship. Picard, Guinan, Ro Laren and Keiko O'Brien, however, with the help of Alexander Rozhenko, were able to design a plan to retake the Enterprise from the Ferengi. (TNG: "Rascals")
In 2371, Guinan was among those who survived the emergency landing of the Enterprise. Prior to the Enterprise's crash, she had told Captain Picard that Dr. Tolian Soran was seeking to return to the "Nexus", which she described as a doorway to a paradisaical place. She also warned Picard that anyone who entered the Nexus would never want to leave it and that should someone be forcefully taken away from it, their desire to return to it might make them extremely dangerous. When Picard was trapped in the Nexus shortly thereafter, an "echo" of Guinan that had remained there after the rest of her left the Nexus, reminded him to focus on his mission: to prevent Soran from destroying the Veridian sun. With the help of Captain Kirk, Picard succeeded in stopping Soran, and was able to escape from the Nexus. (Star Trek Generations)
Dealings with Q
Guinan had "some dealings" with Q sometime during the 22nd century and indeed other members of the Q Continuum, some of whom she said "were almost respectable". Her exact relationship with Q remains unclear, though it was evidently hostile. Q described Guinan as an "imp" and stated: "where she goes, trouble always follows".
When they met again aboard the Enterprise, in 2365, Q was surprised to see Guinan. He advised Picard to get Guinan off the ship, and added he would be more than pleased to "expedite her departure". In response, Guinan raised her hands, implying she had some sort of ability to defend herself from Q's powers, however whether Guinan could repel Q is unclear as he returned his attention to Picard with a dismissive taunt aimed at Guinan: "enough about this creature, she's diverting us from the purpose of my being here."
Q then explained that Humanity was not ready for what awaited it. Guinan defended Humans arguing that they "learn to adapt." As Q continued making his proposals to Picard, Guinan let off a snort of disgust then protested to Q's throwing the Enterprise into the verges of space.
After the encounter, Guinan talked to Picard about how Q had set a series of events in motion. Their contact with the Borg, she claimed, had come long before it should have. When they were ready, it may be possible to establish a relationship with the Borg, but for now Humanity was only raw material to them. In addition, since the Borg were now aware of their existence, they would be coming. Picard responded that Q may have done the right thing for the wrong reasons, as the Federation needed a good kick in their complacency to get it ready for what was ahead. (TNG: "Q Who")
Guinan's second encounter with Q while on board the Enterprise came a year later, in 2366. Q was at the time stripped of his powers by the Continuum, and requested asylum aboard the Enterprise; a request which Captain Picard reluctantly granted. When Data informed her that the captain and much of the crew were not yet convinced Q was truly Human, Guinan casually picked up a fork from behind the counter and sharply stabbed Q's hand. When the latter cried out in agony, Guinan concluded: "Seems Human enough to me." She told Q he was a pitiful excuse for a Human and the only way he was going to survive would be by the charity of others. Q's powers were later restored by the other members of the Continuum. (TNG: "Deja Q")
In late 2368, Guinan was coached by Picard in fencing. In November of that year, she initially lost one of their matches, saying she didn't think she liked this sport. Picard replied she liked it well enough two weeks ago, when she scored two touches on him. After their first match, they took a moment to relax and soon they found themselves talking about Hugh, the Borg drone Picard had allowed to be taken on board. To Guinan's question whether taking Hugh on board was wise, Picard replied it was an errand of mercy, and that Dr. Crusher decided for humanitarian reasons to care for him.
They rose again for their second match in which they advanced and retreated a few times, parrying. Then Guinan lunged, stumbled and grabbed at her leg – apparently, she had pulled a muscle. Picard lowered his foil and started toward her in concern. Suddenly Guinan was up and upon him in a flurry of thrusts, knocking the foil from his hand. "You felt sorry for me," she said. "Look what it got you". (TNG: "I Borg")
Guinan was born sometime prior to the 19th century, Earth calendar. Her father, at the time, was already over two hundred years old. (TNG: "Rascals") In her life Guinan had married 23 times and had "a lot" of children. (Star Trek Nemesis; TNG: "Evolution") She had a good relationship with her uncle Terkim, the black sheep of the family. (TNG: "Hollow Pursuits")
Immediately upon coming aboard the Enterprise, Guinan was able to draw the attention of many people because of the mysteries surrounding her age and origins. Except for Captain Picard, she had not met previously with any of the Enterprise crewmembers, but would soon develop a friendly relationship with many members of its senior staff. (TNG: "The Child")
In 2365, Guinan and William T. Riker attempted to counsel Wesley Crusher regarding his relationship with Salia. As Riker pretended to flirt with Guinan, they proved their own advice inadvisable. (TNG: "The Dauphin")
Guinan and Jean-Luc Picard shared a long-term relationship, which, according to her, went "beyond friendship and beyond family". (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II") Picard also made a similar confession, stating that their relationship is something that "goes far beyond friendship". (TNG: "Time's Arrow, Part II") She also once said to Geordi La Forge that she was attracted to bald men. (TNG: "Booby Trap") In return, Picard once remarked Guinan to be "very selective about whom she calls a friend". (TNG: "Ensign Ro")
Guinan often advised Picard in times of dilemma. In 2365, Data's rights as an individual were challenged when cybernetics expert Commander Bruce Maddox wanted to disassemble the android for study. Picard challenged Maddox's assessment before the local Judge Advocate General. As the hearing neared its end, Picard admitted to Guinan he feared he was losing the case. Guinan asked what Maddox gained if he would be successful in disassembling and reassembling Data. Picard responded he would possess the ability to build many more androids. He remembered Guinan's words that the decisions we make today have implications for the future, and so Picard reasoned that if it would be decided that Data was indeed Starfleet property, all future androids would be also. Guinan noted there was an ancient word for that – slavery. Eventually, Picard would win Data's case by pointing out that an entire race of Datas would be used as slaves – strictly against Federation principles. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")
Guinan also participated in several recreational activities with Picard. In 2367, she featured as cousin Gloria in one of Picard's Dixon Hill holonovels. She, however, was not much impressed with the program. (TNG: "Clues")
Besides joining Picard on the holodeck, they would occasionally share a game of chess, and Guinan was also coached in fencing by Picard in 2368, begun when she considered exercise to strengthen her arm. Shortly prior to their match, the Enterprise had taken a Borg drone, at that point named Hugh, on board. Although Guinan initially questioned Picard's decision to have done so, she was convinced by La Forge to speak with the former drone. She could not help but acknowledge this Borg was developing a personality, becoming an individual. Upon her conversation with Hugh, she convinced Picard to speak with him as well. (TNG: "I Borg")
In 2366, Beverly Crusher, while seeing her son socialize with other teenagers, asked Guinan whether she had any children. Guinan replied she had a lot and Beverly inquired whether she had ever had trouble with any one of them. Guinan said she had with one who went through a phase when "he wouldn't listen to anybody" – something unusual "in a species of listeners." Asked about how he had grown out of it, Guinan explained a mother shapes her child in ways she doesn't even realize; sometimes just by listening. (TNG: "Evolution")
When Crusher was relieved of duty in 2369, Guinan visited her in her quarters, claiming she sought treatment for her tennis elbow, which she claimed was caused by an unsuccessful tennis match with Geordi La Forge. As Crusher began to talk about her recent actions, she explained she had illegally performed an autopsy on the Ferengi scientist Reyga who had appeared to have committed suicide. As Crusher later found out, the Takaran scientist Jo'Bril had in fact murdered Reyga in order to discredit the Ferengi. Upon Guinan's encouragement, Crusher eventually discovered Jo'Bril's plan, prevented him from stealing Reyga's research data, and proved the technology was valid. She was exonerated and returned to duty shortly following the incident. In order to thank Guinan for her encouragement, she presented her with a state-of-the-art tennis racket, upon which Guinan admitted she had never played tennis. (TNG: "Suspicions")
In early 2365, Wesley Crusher was reluctantly preparing to leave the Enterprise and join his mother, who had departed to become head of Starfleet Medical. When he was staring out of the windows of Ten Forward, Guinan approached him, asking him whether he wanted anything to drink. As they talked, Guinan asked him three more times during their conversation, and when Wesley pointed that out, she replied it was what she was expected to do, asking if he didn't always do what was expected of him? He replied he tried to, because sometimes you have to consider others more than yourself. Guinan responded that the question was to know when to consider yourself more than others and to give yourself permission to be selfish. Their conversation made Wesley decide to stay on board the Enterprise after all. (TNG: "The Child")
Geordi La Forge
Guinan would often advise, or rather cheer up, Geordi La Forge after one of his dates went poorly. Thus, in early 2366, La Forge sought her advice after his date, Christy Henshaw, admitted she was not in love with him. When La Forge asked about what Guinan sought in a man, she replied she was attracted to bald men, because long ago one saved her life (Picard had "saved" the 19th century Guinan by remaining with her as she was injured by a time portal, as help came by). La Forge went on explaining he never knew what to say around women. When Guinan remarked he did not appear uncomfortable at the time, La Forge replied that he wasn't "trying" when he was speaking with her. Guinan replied: "That's my point", making him realize he was only uncomfortable when trying to chat up a girl. A few days later, La Forge found himself rather smitten with a holographic recreation of Dr. Leah Brahms. (TNG: "Booby Trap") A little over a year later, he got the chance to meet the real Dr. Brahms and found her much less charming than her holographic version. At the time, he again sought Guinan's advice. (TNG: "Galaxy's Child")
In mid-2366, Guinan first approached Worf, introducing him to the Terran beverage of prune juice. Although the drink was generally unpopular among Humans, Worf called it "a warrior's drink". As Guinan sat down at his table, she asked why Worf always sat alone. Worf looked at her with vague irritation as the conversation was venturing into areas he'd rather avoid. Worf replied he would require a Klingon woman for companionship as human females were too fragile. Despite Guinan's claim she knew one or two women on board who may have found him a bit tame, Worf refuted this as "impossible". Guinan teasingly called him a coward for not wanting to meet them, upon which Worf replied he was merely concerned for the safety of his crewmates. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise")
When the Klingon Civil War erupted in 2367, Worf was torn between remaining in Starfleet service and joining Gowron against the House of Duras. While practicing their skills in the phaser range, Guinan asked Worf about how his son, Alexander, was doing. Worf replied he was having difficulties adjusting to life on Earth, to which Guinan responded that the time would come when Alexander would find out what it really meant to be Klingon, just as the time had now come for Worf. Worf would later request a leave of absence and with the help of Captain Picard, would reveal Romulan assistance to the Duras cause in the civil war. (TNG: "Redemption")
When the Bajoran Ensign Ro Laren came aboard the Enterprise in 2368, she immediately drew everyone's attention. After discussing Ro with La Forge, Guinan sat next to Ensign Ro in Ten Forward. Although Ro initially claimed she did not want any company, Guinan remarked she would have stayed in her quarters if that were true. As they talked, Ro commented that Guinan was not like any bartender she had ever met, to which Guinan responded that Laren was unlike any Starfleet officer she had ever met and that this might be the start of an interesting relationship. Ro objected mildly to this, saying she never stayed anywhere long enough to make friends. Guinan said that she had just made one.
When Ro was later confined to her quarters, Guinan visited her in her quarters where Ro decided to confide in Guinan after her new friend told her that people like themselves, who had lost their homes, sometimes felt they have no control over their own lives. Ro confessed she was in great trouble. Guinan advised that she herself was in great trouble once and that she would still have been had she not trusted one man. This conversation was instrumental in Ro's decision to reveal to Captain Picard that Admiral Kennelly had made a pact with the Cardassians in order to eliminate Bajoran "terrorists". (TNG: "Ensign Ro")
When Guinan, Ro, Picard and Keiko O'Brien were transformed into children, Guinan took this opportunity to enjoy her 'second childhood'. Ro however found the idea of 'enjoying' their current situation, not only idiotic and pointless, particularly since Ro herself did not have much of a first childhood. Guinan took her feelings as a challenge, and during the time that followed, began to try and provoke Ro into enjoying their situation, such as jumping on the bed. Later, after they aided in defeating a group of Ferengi who had taken over ship, Geordi and Data managed to return everyone to their proper age. Ro surprisingly now found herself reluctant to return to adulthood. When she didn't show up for treatment, Guinan went in search of Ro, who was in her quarters drawing pictures of her mother with crayons. Guinan reminded Ro that she would need to 'grow-up' again, but also said there was no rush, as she joined Ro in drawing. (TNG: "Rascals")
In an alternate version of 2366 created when the USS Enterprise-C disappeared from the year 2344, Ten Forward was suitably altered to befit the military nature of the new timeline. Luxuries were limited, besides Guinan, the civilian wait staff was gone, and crewmembers were often forced to consume TKL rations since replicator power was generally diverted to the defensive systems. Guinan was the only one aboard who noticed the changes that had followed upon the Enterprise-C's appearance. Data speculated that Guinan's species, El-Aurians, can perceive alternate timelines. At her suggestion, Captain Picard sent the Enterprise-C back to its own time to restore the timeline. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise") She remained aware of these changes in the restored timeline. (TNG: "Redemption II")
- Guinan hides from her father on Earth
- 22nd century
- Guinan has dealings with Q
- Guinan is rescued by the USS Enterprise-B after her transport ship, the Lakul is caught in the Nexus ribbon.
- Guinan comes aboard the Enterprise-D at Captain Picard's personal request
- When REM sleep-deprived crewmembers began to draft conspiracy theories about the Enterprise's inability to escape the Tyken's Rift, Guinan is able to defuse the situation, thanks to an energy-beam rifle she had acquired on Magus III
- Guinan convinces the former-drone Hugh that, despite the Collective's claim, resistance is not futile, and that her own survival is the living proof of that
- Guinan, together with Captain Picard, Ro Laren and Keiko O'Brien, is reverted to the body of a twelve-year-old due to the effects of a molecular reversion field.
- Guinan is among those who survived the crash of the Enterprise-D
- Guinan is present at the wedding of William Riker and Deanna Troi
- "The Child"
- "The Outrageous Okona"
- "The Measure Of A Man"
- "The Dauphin"
- "Q Who"
- "Shades of Gray" (Archive footage from "The Dauphin")
- "Booby Trap"
- "Deja Q"
- "Yesterday's Enterprise"
- "The Offspring"
- "Hollow Pursuits"
- "The Best of Both Worlds"
- "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"
- "The Loss"
- "Galaxy's Child"
- "Night Terrors"
- "In Theory"
- "Redemption II"
- "Ensign Ro"
- "Imaginary Friend"
- "I Borg"
- "Time's Arrow"
- "Time's Arrow, Part II"
Goldberg got the role after she expressed interest to the producers, being a fan of the original series - mostly due to Nichelle Nichols, one of the first black women to be regularly featured in an American television series. (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book, Trek: The Unauthorized Behind-The-Scenes Story of The Next Generation)
When Goldberg learned that her friend LeVar Burton got a role on the new Star Trek series, she asked him to tell Gene Roddenberry that she wanted to be on the show too, but the producers thought she was joking and did not take the request seriously. The following year, Goldberg took it upon herself to contact Roddenberry directly. (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book) According to Roddenberry, Goldberg called him up and said "I am a Star Trek fan, I was a Star Trek fan long before I was ever Whoopi Goldberg and I'm wondering if there's some part I can play in your show?" (The Star Trek Saga: From One Generation To The Next) According to Maurice Hurley, Roddenberry and Hurley thought this was a joke of Goldberg and asked her if she would really work on The Next Generation and Goldberg replied "I am successfull now and I can do what I like!" (TNG Season 2 DVD special feature "Mission Overview Year Two "Whoopi Goldberg"")
Roddenberry had originally intended the Enterprise's bartender to be played by "the most beautiful girl in all creation." (Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special) When Whoopi Goldberg asked him for a role in his new Star Trek show, he gave it to her and re-wrote the character in the process. (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations': The Multicultural Evolution of Star Trek, Heidelberg: Winter, 2004)
Guinan was named for Texas Guinan, a famed female saloon owner from Texas during the early 20th century. (Star Trek Encyclopedia; Whoopi Goldberg, "Mission Overview Year Three - Guinan Returns", TNG Season 3 DVD special feature) Goldberg described Guinan as primarily "a cross between Yoda and William F. Buckley," but admitted that she put a lot of her own personality into the character as well. (Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book) Regarding Guinan's taste for large hats, the first time she is seen without a hat is on the fencing court in "I Borg"; the first time she is seen without headgear of any kind is in Star Trek Generations. (When in Human costume, or disguise, in "Clues" or "Time's Arrow", she has always accessorized with an era-appropriate hat.)
In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Rivals" the writers, Jim Trombetta and Michael Piller, intended the character of Martus Mazur to be a son of Guinan. Guinan herself was to appear in the episode but Whoopi Goldberg was unavailable. All the references to Guinan were removed and only Martus's status as an El-Aurian was retained. That episode was the first to name Guinan's species and Guinan herself was not identified as an El-Aurian until Star Trek Generations. Rumors of her appearing on Deep Space Nine began milling as early as the opening of DS9 Season 1. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, Trek: The Next Generation Crew Book)
Commenting on Guinan's absence in Star Trek: First Contact, Ronald D. Moore said: "We decided fairly early on that Guinan wouldn't be in the movie because she wasn't part of our storyline and we didn't want to shoehorn the character in." (AOL chat, 1997)
Guinan is one of eight supporting characters to appear in more than one Star Trek film. The others are David Marcus, Saavik, Sarek, Admiral Cartwright, the Klingon Ambassador, Lieutenant Daniels and Spot.
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