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INTERVIEW: Brent Spiner Talks Getting the Bridge Back Together on ‘Star Trek: Picard’

Brent Spiner on Star Trek: Picard

On episode 8 of season 3 of Star Trek: Picard, we got to see how the team brought their friend Data back. As Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) has been slowly bringing all his old bridge together throughout the final season, we’ve had a lack of Data in the series. Played by Brent Spiner in the original show and through different versions of Data’s family throughout the show and into Picard, Data himself died. And it meant we didn’t get to see him with his good friend Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) or Picard in quite some time.

So when he had to fight off Lore to take back over as Data and reunite with his friends? It was great! And in talking with Spiner, he was happy that the scene worked as well as it does when I spoke with him for Star Trek: Picard. “That’s so good,” Spiner said. “I personally had no concept how this was gonna land. I thought it’s sort of a risk. Terry pitched the idea to me. We tweaked it a little bit, tried to understand it better, and I’m so happy that it’s being received the way it is.”

“I’ll say that it’s nothing but fun for me to be on sound stages and sets and in costumes with my friends who have been my friends for 36 years,” he said about returning to Picard with the majority of the cast from The Next Generation. “We were very close, all of us. So the only real difference here is that literally we put on costumes and we put on characters, we become characters, but we as friends know these characters. They’re like an extended family, not just the actors, but the characters as well.”

Data vs. Lore

While Data’s all about the logisitics of things, he has his moments where he longs to be a human and to be with his friends. That is, in my opinion, when his connection to Lore (his very emotional brother) shines through. But when the Next Gen crew are trying to get Data back to them, he first has to fight Lore to get there.

When I spoke with Spiner (prior to the premiere of episode 8), he asked me about how the scene ended up coming out. I told him that it was mainly just Data and Lore in a room together going back and forth and that we as the audience can see who is who based on Spiner’s performance. And he shared with me how the studio was afraid of that.

“I know when we initially proposed that scene, there was some concern, I think, on the part of the network more than anyone whether they really wanna be in two different kinds of costumes so that the audience would be able to distinguish between the two characters,” he said. “And Terry and I really thought that, and I kept saying, I really think when you see it, if you let us do it, you will be able to tell which character is which.”

He then went on to point out that you can tell the difference between Data and Lore because they are two different character who he approaches differently. “The reason for that is that they are two different characters. And so they’re played differently,” Spiner said. “They’re approached differently. And so I’m just, I’m delighted to hear that it works. That you can distinguish between the two and there seem to be two people in the scene.”

Spiner’s take on Data is always a favorite

I come from a Data loving household. My brother named my niece so that her initials spelled out Lal, which is Data’s daugher’s name. So talking with Spiner and sharing with him my childhood experience with Star Trek as well as the joy that this new season of Picard has brought to fans just showed me how much Spiner loves playing Data.

He was excited to talk about the character, his fellow actors, and the show as a whole. Spiner was open to talk about anything with Data and his journey and it made for one of my favorite interviews I’ve ever done.

(Featured image: Paramount+)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.