Brent Spiner spoke to TV Guide recently on returning to play Data on Star Trek: Picard. Note: Spoilers for Star Trek: Picard.
In the finale, Data wanted to end his existence for once and for all, and Spiner was pleased with the scene that was written for that end. “I thought it was pretty great. It was an unbelievably beautifully written scene – 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.”
The scene between Data and Picard made Spiner feel “very much like we were doing Next Generation. There was something very familiar,” he said; “about it and kind of natural that we should be sitting there having that conversation.”
Spiner felt that he was ready to let the character go. “I mean, there was just a finite amount of time that I can actually play Data, no matter what anyone says…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.”
Alton Soong is still alive, however, and Spiner is open to playing him again if the opportunity arises. “I love working with all of the people on the show,” he said. “The new cast is fantastic. Obviously, to still be working with Patrick is a dream. Now there’s a character that could conceivably go on and continue, so of course I’d love to.”