Star Trek: Picard Just Brought Back Another TNG Star In A New Role

Star Trek: Picard

Star Trek: Picard season 1 reached its penultimate episode today. Titled “Et in Arcadia Ego,” it featured the return of another The Next Generation icon. We’ve already seen them on this show in a small recurring presence, but this time they were portraying a new character, one with ties to their most recognizable role.

Yes, episode 9 saw the comeback of Brent Spiner, debuting as the son of Data’s original creator, Dr. Noonian Soong. The outing followed Picard and his crew traveling to Soji’s home planet of Coppelius to escape the Romulans on their tail. Here, Jean-Luc was surprised to find a world of synthetic lifeforms, led by their creator Alton Soong, the hitherto-unknown progeny of the aforementioned cyberneticist. Just as Spiner doubled up his roles to play Noonian Soong on TNG, here he portrayed Alton. In an ironic twist, he was covered up with extreme old age make-up as Soong back in the day but now, he gets to play his son with his own face, while his performance as Data utilizes CGI to de-age him.

After the Federation banned synthetic life, Alton secretly carried on his work on the backwater planet he called Coppelius, exceeding even what his father accomplished with the help of Bruce Maddox. The result was a whole population of androids as highly sophisticated as Data. They formed a paradise on this world – the Arcadia that the title refers to – but this has been disrupted by the arrival of Picard and the incoming Romulan attack.

This is the fifth character besides Data that Spiner has played in the Trek universe. In TNG episode “Brothers,” he debuted as both Soong and Data’s evil brother Lore. In Nemesis, he appeared as an earlier prototype for Data, B-4, a character whose dismantled parts have been viewed on Picard. Finally, there’s the villainous Arik Soong, one of Noonian’s ancestors, on Enterprise. 

Expect more from Spiner as Alton Soong in Star Trek: Picard‘s season finale, next Thursday on CBS All Access.