Star Trek: Picard’s Brent Spiner Says He’ll Never Play Data Again

Data Star Trek

Star Trek: Picard‘s been able to build on the previous goodbyes we’ve said to The Next Generation crew in Star Trek: Nemesis, bringing back many familiar faces so far alongside Sir Patrick Stewart’s title character – including Jonathan Frakes’ Will Riker and Marina Sirtis’ Deanna Troi.

Of course, Brent Spiner’s another one who’s returned as Data. And the android’s comeback in this week’s finale is perhaps the most meaningful as it allowed him to get a much more fulfilling end than Nemesis offered, when he sacrificed himself to save his friends.

Recently, Spiner spilled the beans on his final appearance as Data in an interview with TV Guide, explaining that both he and Stewart loved the scene they were given to play and hopes this one will go down a lot better than Data’s death in Nemesis, the backlash to which Spiner has always been mystified by.

“…It was an unbelievably beautifully written scene — [showrunner] Michael Chabon at his finest. Both Patrick and I were both like, “This is fantastic,” and we were both really moved by it. It was just wonderfully written, and I think the intent was to soften the blow of Nemesis and give Data a gentler exit than he had in that film… When he blew up in Nemesis, I never expected to get the backlash [the show got] from so many fans over that. I thought, “Well, that’s a great, big emotional ending, and he’s sacrificing himself for his friends” and that was just. But it didn’t seem to sit that well with too many people.”

Spiner went on to confirm that he has decided against playing Data again, given how well this season of Picard has brought his storyline to a close.

“I mean, there was just a finite amount of time that I can actually play Data, no matter what anyone says… I think we did it in such brief sequences that it was fine to do it, and I felt good about it. But I wouldn’t really entertain the idea of doing it again because I just don’t think it would be realistic. So it seemed right to me to give him this more gentle sendoff, and it seemed right to me in the context of the entire season of Picard and what Picard himself had been experiencing because of the loss of Data. I think it allows him to feel okay about it too. So it seemed like the right thing to do.”

The scene in question occurred when Picard himself died but his mind was transferred into a new android form. During this process, he found himself in a kind of digital limbo where he encountered Data, whose consciousness had actually survived his physical death, thanks to the neuron that was taken from B-4. He’d been suspended in this realm for decades, but Picard is able to finally let him go, with Data understanding that mortality is what makes one human.

Star Trek: Picard will return – and maybe Spiner will, too, as Altan Soong – but don’t expect to see Data again in season 2.