On Monday Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner participated in a online live webchat promoting his webseries Fresh Hell. The chat ended up with a lot of talk about Star Trek and Data. Spiner talked about Trek typecasting, the death of Data, and even lobbied to "Bring Back Soong" for the 2012 Star Trek sequel. Details below, plus the full video.
Brent Spiner on typecasting, rebooting Data, & "Bring Back Soong"
Brent Spiner on if he feels "pigeonholed" by his Star Trek: The Next Generation role of Data:
No. Before I got offered the show, I was afraid of that. I was afraid I would never work again. I sais that to a friend of mine, Danny Stern, saying "I don’t know if I should take this job, I don’t know if I will ever work again." And he said "You know what? You will work even more" and he couldn’t have been more wrong [laughs]. No, I don’t think it has pigeonholed me necessarily. I have done other work – I’ve done other films and television and theater since I did Data, but I did 178 episodes and 4 feature films and they are still on air. They will be on for the rest of our lives – if Paramount Pictures has anything to do with it. And it is what it is. I’ll always be known for having done that character and I don’t mind that at all. I have great affection for that character. Maybe not the same affection you have. You love the character and I love the character, but love is a very complicated thing and very individual thing. For you, you spent an hour in front of the television set watching it and I sent 500 hours doing it for every hour you watched. No that many actually but many more. It was a much more complicated thing for me.
A question came in asking Spiner what actor he thought might be a good choice if they ever rebooted Star Trek: The Next Generation (ala Star Trek 2009). Spiner noted that some have pointed out how Tom Hiddleston (Loki in Thor) looks a bit like him. He also joked about Justin Beiber and the late Charles Nelson Reilly. But then Spiner offered this bit of lobbying about the next Star Trek:
I am thinking more about the next Star Trek movie and more about who can I be in it. I did this character Arik Soong [on Star Trek Enterprise], not to be confused with Dr. Soong on the [TNG], this was his predecessor. And I would like to start a campaign, maybe right here tonight, its called BBS – Bring Back Soong. And I want you to flood JJ Abrams offices with that: BBS, Bring Back Soong.
Brent Spiner as Arik Soong on "Star Trek: Enterprise (2005) – Will JJ Abrams Bring Back Soong?
Spiner also was asked about the death of Data in Star Trek: Nemesis. He noted that he was not on set when they filmed the emotional farewell/memorial scene, but he did offer this:
A lot of people have asked about [Star Trek: Nemesis] and "why did you kill Data?" We knew that it was going to be our last film, and we thought it might be a good idea to end it on a big emotional moment and it seemed to complete Data’s arc from the beginning. What you don’t know is that when the curtains closed in the theater and you left, the Enterprise blew up and everyone else was killed [laughs].
And when Spiner was asked if he thought Data could come back he said:
I don’t think that could happen. Look at me. I am a shockingly older gentleman. I don’t see that I could wear that makeup anymore. I think that would look really stupid. I love the character and I wish I started it much younger, but I was already in my mid sixties when I started [joke]. I just don’t think I could get away with it. Yeah they could CGI it, but why not just CGI the whole character and forget about me.
In other Trek related content on the chat, Spiner said that he is talking to at least one of his Next Generation co-stars about a cameo on his webseires Fresh Hell. Spiner also said he would "be delighted" to follow Wil Wheaton to the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory, but noted he has yet to be asked to appear. Spiner also did impersonations of Michael Dorn and Patrick Stewart.
Brent Spiner as Data – saving Picard (Patrick Stewart) shortly before sacrificing himself in "Star Trek: Nemesis" (2002)
Watch the full replay (1 hour and 11 minutes – via Streamin’ Garage):