Star Trek: Picard fans knew that the show’s third and final season would be a Next Generation reunion, featuring characters from the series that introduced Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard. But while Brent Spiner had appeared in previous Picard seasons, many wondered if season three would find a way to bring him back again as Data, his original TNG character.
Turns out Picard showrunner Terry Matalas was one of those people pondering that very thing—and he was very aware of the importance of the character’s inclusion. “One of the first questions I had to ask myself was, ‘How the hell are you going to do a Star Trek: Next Generation reunion without Data being a part of it?’,” he said in an interview with Collider after this week’s episode, which introduced the “ultimate Data,” a multi-faceted version of the familiar android. “This character has died twice, and you can’t just bring him magically back to life. Something else has to happen. However, there are some stories that haven’t really been told with Data, which is he was backed up onto B-4. Lore is still a dangling chad. What if there was a final android that was almost perfectly human in the way that Soji or Picard was, that could look like Brent Spiner today? But what if it was Jekyll and Hyde? What if both Lore and Data [were] in there with all these other things? Wouldn’t that give Brent Spiner something really interesting to play? And couldn’t that promise a really interesting final Data/Lore story?”
That is a lot of what-ifs. But when Matalas spoke with Spiner himself, the actor was enthusiastic about these new possibilities for his character. “I took that to Brent thinking he was going to reject the whole thing, and he was like, ‘Oh, that’s actually really cool.’ Brent was unbelievably collaborative with it, and Brent had ideas that only elevated it in ways I couldn’t have imagined. In fact, some of the best moments of this story were Brent’s idea.”
Star Trek: Picard is just past its season-three halfway point, with new episodes arriving weekly on Paramount + until the series finale on April 20.
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