Star Trek: Picard’s Brent Spiner Thinks Data’s Death Made Sense

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The first trailer for Star Trek: Picard sent fans into meltdown as it revealed that several other familiar faces were returning alongside Sir Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc. Not least Brent Spiner’s Data. Once the excitement subsided a little, though, we realized the big mystery here: how can Data still be around when he died back in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis, the final outing for The Next Generation crew?

In Nemesis, the android sacrifices his own life to save his captain and due to Data’s fan favorite status, the death was always controversial. Speaking at Destination Star Trek in Birmingham recently, Spiner reflected on his character’s demise and stated his belief that it was “the right way to go.” Especially given the fact that it looked like that was to be it for the TNG cast. Little did they know a show like Picard would come along nearly 20 years later.

“I’ll tell you what. I thought it made a lot of sense and because I was also part of the team that wrote the story, I knew that was going to happen. We had been told in almost no uncertain terms by Paramount Pictures, that this was going to be our last film, so I thought it made a lot of sense to leave the audience with a really big, dramatic, emotional moment at the end of the film. If that’s the last time you were going to see the character then that’s the way it should be, you know … at the time I thought it was the right way to go.”

The right decision for the time it might’ve been, but now it’s created a hitch in getting Spiner back as Data for Picard. Though it looks like it won’t be a simple retcon and the writers have come up with a smart way to resurrect the robot. Spiner himself has said that he won’t be in every episode but rather, Data will be a “story point” on the show.

So far, there are two big theories about how Data could be back. One is that his mind has survived in the body of B-4, his brother, who showed signs of downloading Data’s memories in Nemesis. Alternatively, Data’s appearances could just be dreams or hallucinations of Picard’s.

In any case, we know that William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) and possibly the whole TNG gang are returning in Star Trek: Picard as well, and we’ll see what other surprises the show has for us when it premieres on January 23rd on on CBS All Access.

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