It’s Not the Same Old Soong: How Brent Spiner’s Latest Character fits into ‘Star Trek’

The Soongs of Spiner

Paramount The Soongs of Spiner

Tinkering with code seems to run in the Soong family, doesn’t it? In the most recent episode of “Star Trek: Picard,” which streamed on Thursday, March 31, 2022, viewers learned that the familiar family is once again in the middle of things. The episode, which was entitled “Fly Me To The Moon,” created a plethora of new questions for fans to ponder and connections to previous shows. 

Many fans, including these Reddit users, have expressed confusion about which Soong is which. This is especially true since all of the Soong characters have been played by Brent Spiner. Since fans now have to contend with yet another member of the Soong family, Heavy decided to look at the Soong lineage through the years of Trek. 

Mr. Data in ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’

Data and B4 | Star Trek: Nemesis2017-10-29T23:12:33Z

Spiner is known first as the actor behind Mr. Data, the beloved Pinnochio-like android who wanted to be more human. This was a direct contrast to Mr. Spock, who wanted all to forget that he was half-human. Data appeared in all seven seasons of Next Generation and in the four feature films which followed. He reprised the role for the first season of “Star Trek: Picard.” Spiner also played Lore, Data’s evil older brother, and B4, an incomplete version of the android. 

Dr. Noonian Soong on ‘The Next Generation’

Star Trek : TNG – "What Happened?" ; "I Made a Terrible Mistake."Star Trek : TNG – "What Happened?" ; "I Made a Terrible Mistake." #innovativelifeform2021-11-05T14:15:10Z

Usually, the Soong family is associated with creating a series of positronic-brain-powered androids. The patriarch of the Soong family, at least as it was known on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was Dr. Noonian Soong, who Spiner also played. Dr. Soong was both reclusive and mysterious and appeared just a few times in the series. But his creations cast a long shadow on the entire “Star Trek” franchise. 

Arik Soong on ‘Enterprise’

Captain Archer visits Dr Arik Soong | Star Trek: Enterprise – Borderland2020-03-13T12:00:07Z

When Spiner popped up on the fourth season of “Star Trek: Enterprise,” he played yet another member of the Soong family. This guy, Arik Soong, was not a roboticist but rather a genetic engineer. He stole frozen embryos from the great Eugenic Wars and began to wake them up and raise them, 20 at a time. These wars were when a genetically engineered Khan Noonien Singh took over a quarter of the Earth’s nations. 

While “Star Trek” fans know this story well, as Captain Kirk (William Shatner) battled Khan (Ricardo Montalban) in the classic Trek episode “Space Seed” and the film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Folks who want to know more about how Khan took over back in the 1990s can check out the series of Eugenic Wars books written by author Greg Cox.  

Arik Soong was arrogant and sure of himself and thought he knew best which way humanity should go next. But thanks to the villainy of one of his “children,” Malik (played by actor Alec Newman), Soong eventually helped Captain Archer (Scott Bakula) stop the Augments.

At the end of the final entry into the “Augments” series, Soong was put into a jail cell when he said he might consider getting into robotics rather than genetic engineering.

Dr. Altan Inigo Soong on ‘Picard – Season 1’ 

A Familiar Face • Star Trek Picard Episode 9A son of Soong meets Admiral Picard. #Picard Season 1 Episode 9 "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1"2020-03-20T09:03:41Z

Spiner returned for the first season of “Star Trek: Picard,” as he portrayed Mr. Data and the new character, Dr. Altan Inigo Soong, who helped give the androids Soji, Dahj, and Sutra (all of who were portrayed by actress Isa Briones) life. Altan Soong was not a villain in this series. He wanted to help the androids grow their own society outside of human interference. In a way, this was much like how Arik Soong meant to take care of his Augment “children.”

Dr. Adam Soong on ‘Picard – Season 2’ 

Adam Soong And His Daughter| Star Trek Picard S02E05#soong2022-04-01T04:32:45Z

Spiner is back on “Picard,” but as a new character, Dr. Adam Soong. The latter appears to be tinkering around with the genetics of his daughter, Kore (also played by Isa Briones). Unlike his future ancestors, this Soong is not so successful and turns to Q (John de Lancie) for help. Q gives Soong a vial to help Kore, but it does not turn out so well for her. The medicine works to protect Kore from her allergic reaction to the sun. 

What role does Adam Soong play in all of this? As he appears to be in his early 70s, he would have lived through the Eugenics Wars — that is, if they happened in this timeline. According to co-showrunner Terry Matalas, many of the events that fans know so well never happened. That includes Picard and Data traveling to the past to meet author Mark Twain and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), featured in the “Time’s Arrow” episodes.

Some fans claim that Khan Noonien Singh and Arik Soong are somehow linked, either by name or involvement in the Eugenics Wars. 

READ NEXT: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Explains Why Harry Kim Never Got Promoted

Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x