At the end of the first season of “Star Trek: Picard,” fans were left wondering if they’d ever see Mr. Data alive again. When Episode 10 finally streamed, fans saw Data eventually ease out of existence while his old captain watched in a simulated environment. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) then came back to the real world, and instead of his own damaged human form, he was the android now. “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2” changed many things for Picard and his world.
It was thought that Brent Spiner, who gave so many years of his career to the character of Data, could still return as the new character Dr. Altan Inigo Soong. This new, younger Dr. Soong is not the creator of Data but the son of the creator. In a way, Altan was Data’s brother.
This human brother is not the first time Trek introduced fans to a sibling of Mr. Data. Most are familiar with Data’s other two brothers, Lore and B4 — who appeared in “Star Trek: Nemesis.”
According to a seventh season episode of “The Next Generation,” there were multiple attempts at creating an android life form by Dr. Soong and his wife, Dr. Juliana Tainer. In “Inheritance,” Tainer and her giant-eared husband asked Picard, and the crew of the Enterprise-D for assistance as their planet (Atrea IV) was undergoing a geological disaster.
While there, Tainer revealed that she was Data’s mother and that there many other androids created (of which Lore was one) before she and Soong made Data. She told Data that his early years were somewhat rebellious, as he disliked wearing clothes and did not want to use manners at first.
Data became suspicious that Tainer was also a Soong-type android, just like himself. Together they jumped in a cavern on the planet’s surface. Data survived the fall, but Tainer lost her arm, which was not bleeding when it came off, but instead, it was full of gray plastic and blinking lights — just like Data.
Thanks to some Cameo posts from John de Lancie, and as noted by Inverse and many other sites, fans now know that Spiner is back with the crew of Picard. The actor who plays Q said that “it’s been a lot of fun working with Patrick and Jonathan Frakes and with Brent. It’s a little bit like old home week as it were, after many, many years.”
Since the second season is all about Picard’s path not taken, and a possible new timeline for Picard to explore created by Q to test — or torture — his old frienemy, there are any number of roles that Spiner could be playing.
Spiner Could Return as Dr. Altan Inigo Soong
Since fans just met this new Dr. Soong at the very end of Season One, Spiner could return as Altan for Season Two. This would also allow Spiner not to wear all that yellow makeup and for CBS not to try to de-age him (which some argue wasn’t done very well). Altan could be a new member of Picard’s crew on the La Sirena and might be needed if anything happens with Picard’s new android body — much like how Geordi LaForge and Dr. Crusher were always on stand-by for Data on TNG. ScreenRant offered this idea out a few months ago, and there’s no reason why it might not happen.
And, yes, he did tell TV Guide that he’d be willing to return as Altan.
Spiner Could Revisit Lore
Almost like the opposite of Data was his brother Lore, who fans met during the first season of TNG. In “Datalore,” the newly reactivated and ungrateful brother took Data’s place. He tried to parlay his relationship with the evil Crystalline Entity, which was responsible for destroying the inhabitants of the planet where Data was created.
Returning to Trek to play Lore would be something that Spiner would enjoy. While promoting his autobiography, Spiner told SyFyWire that he very much liked his time as Lore.
“I always like playing Lore, because Lore is really more like me than any of the other characters I’ve ever played because I am evil,” Spiner told Vanessa Armstrong in her interview. “It fits like a glove! But, seriously, I enjoyed it — it really turned out to be a perfect part for me.”
Spiner Could Be B4
Since the B4 android (or its parts) survived into the “Star Trek: Picard era,” Spiner could return as the dopey brother of Data. While many have been wondering what happened to B4, the start of “Picard” showed B4 in a drawer at the Daystrom Institute. But, as any Trek fan will tell you, much of what Data was (at that time) was downloaded into B4. And while B4 was not reassembled, he could so now and return to life, at which point Spiner would be needed again.
B4 could be a restart of the Data story. Instead of Data’s nearly complete understanding of humanity and desire to die, B4 could begin the learning process again.
Spiner Could Be Plain Ol’ Data
Thanks to the “Picard” teaser trailer, released not long ago, fans saw a brief glimpse of a possible alternate timeline — one where Seven was never assimilated (and appears to be married). This alternate timeline could also have Data alive and well, working at a research university like Cambridge — as he did in “All Good Things….”
This return might be unlikely since he did say he would not return to play Data after the character’s death.
“I think there’s something really profound about what Michael [Chabon] wrote for Data to say about those things that are fleeting, that mortality is what makes us human, and those things that mean the most to us never last forever,” Spinner told writer Keisha Hatchett.
But, Spiner has been quoted more than once, admitting that his favorite character to play is Mr. Data.
Spiner Could Be Something Else Entirely
Since Q is involved in the second season of “Picard,” it could be that Spiner could be simply an unknown character who appears in this new timeline. It would not be the first time that Q created situations or brought back people to torture his old “friend.”
”We wanted a Q that could play in that arena with Picard,” said Season One showrunner Akiva Goldsman, who is heavily involved in Season Two. “Q’s kind of a great lightning rod for that because in some ways he’s one of Picard’s deepest — not deep in the same way that Riker is or Beverly Crusher was — but in its own uniquely, profoundly deep relationship.”