How malignant gliomas arise in a mature brain remains a mystery, hindering the development of preventive and therapeutic interventions. We previously showed that oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) can be transformed into glioma when mutations are introduced perinatally. However, adult OPCs rarely proliferate compared with their perinatal counterparts. Whether these relatively quiescent cells have the potential to transform is unknown, which is a critical question considering the late onset of human glioma. Additionally, the premalignant events taking place between initial mutation and a fully developed tumor mass are particularly poorly understood in glioma. Here we used a temporally controllable Cre transgene to delete p53 and NF1 specifically in adult OPCs and demonstrated that these cells consistently give rise to malignant gliomas. To investigate the transforming process of quiescent adult OPCs, we then tracked these cells throughout the premalignant phase, which revealed a dynamic multistep transformation, starting with rapid but transient hyperproliferative reactivation, followed by a long period of dormancy, and then final malignant transformation. Using pharmacological approaches, we discovered that mammalian target of rapamycin signaling is critical for both the initial OPC reactivation step and late-stage tumor cell proliferation and thus might be a potential target for both glioma prevention and treatment. In summary, our results firmly establish the transforming potential of adult OPCs and reveal an actionable multiphasic reactivation process that turns slowly dividing OPCs into malignant gliomas.