Brent Spiner revealed at Destination Star Trek Birmingham that he had accepted that his time in the Star Trek franchise was over before being offered a part in Star Trek: Picard. Previously, the actor, who played fan favorite Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation, had thought that Data’s sacrifice at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis spelled the end of the character. Spiner wanted to go out on an emotional note.
“I'll tell you what. I thought it made a lot of sense and because I was also part of the team that wrote the story, I knew that was going to happen. We had been told in almost no uncertain terms by Paramount Pictures, that this was going to be our last film, so I thought it made a lot of sense to leave the audience with a really big, dramatic, emotional moment at the end of the film,” Spiner shared with the audience about Nemesis. “If that's the last time you were going to see the character then that's the way it should be, you know … at the time I thought it was the right way to go,” he finished.
However, fans now know that Data is returning in the upcoming series Picard. While Spiner didn’t share any spoilers with attendees, he did tell them a little about how he found out he was going back to the Star Trek universe.
“[Patrick Stewart] just said [to our original cast] that ‘he was doing [a show], and it's not Next Generation.’ They didn't have a title then,” Spiner said. “It was just that he had agreed to do a series about Picard and what has happened to Picard in the years since we've seen him. But there was no indication from him that any of us would be a part of it in any way.”
A phone call that Spiner received a while later changed everything, “I assumed they wanted me to play Picard because I can. I've gotten younger, I'll last longer,” he joked with the crowd. “So they said, ‘Well, would you have any interest in playing Data again?’ And I said, ‘Make me an offer I can't refuse.’”
And, Exactly what were the details of that offer? We’ll all have to wait until Star Trek: Picard airs in January 2020 to find out.
Star Trek: Picard will premiere exclusively on January 23 on CBS All Access in the United States, in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and OTT service Crave, and on January 24 Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories