Brent Spiner Made Sure Data Would Not Return for Picard Season 2

Going back to the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, one of the practical difficulties of continuing the storyline was always Data. The android officer theoretically did not age — but actor Brent Spiner obviously did. For the most part, the movies relied on audience suspension of disbelief. Yet when the character was first killed off in Star Trek: Nemesis, it was with the knowledge that disconnect could not last forever.

Modern digital effects, however, allow actors to convincingly play their younger selves. Thus Star Trek: Picard allowed producers to go to the well one last time, and let Spiner give Data a proper farewell. But don’t expect a third time, for the charm or otherwise. Spiner gladly keeps returning as various members of the Soong family, related to Data’s creator Dr. Noonian. He played the doctor’s son Altan on Picard season 1, ancestor Arik on Enterprise, and now even earlier ancestor Adam on Picard season 2. But for the current season, he had it put in his contract that Data will not return.

Talking to The Hollywood Reporter today, Spiner notes he did not want to undercut Data’s emotional, assisted-suicide farewell, saying “Everyone agreed on it. The writers knew early on where this season was going.” THR does specify that the contract in question was for this season, and is perhaps pointedly unclear about season 3, which reunites the primary TNG cast.

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He also says nothing about whether or not Data’s evil brother Lore could return, though he does name-drop the bad robot.  He says of Adam Soong, “Adam is in a lot of denial about who he is, which is a classic narcissist. And I think it is his DNA that made its way to the dark side of the Soong family, all the way to Lore. There is a light side to the family with Noonian. Data is the light side.”

Presumably the same logic would hold, and Spiner will most likely play Altan Soong alongside his original castmates next season. But perhaps Data flashbacks won’t be ruled out. Spiner will say of the cast reunion that, “It is really rewarding for all of us…Here we are still doing it — together, which has just been a blast.”

What do you think of Data staying dead? Was his farewell the right one? Let us know in comments.

Recommended Reading: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through The Mirror

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