Rod Roddenberry Wants Brent Spiner To Be New ‘Questor’ Android

Three weeks ago it was announced that Roddenberry Productions had entered into a deal with Imagine Entertainment to create a new pilot based on Gene Roddenberry’s "The Questor Tapes." A big question is: who should play the android at the heart of the show? If it were up to Rod Roddenberry, the new Questor would be played by Trek’s favorite android, Brent Spiner.


Spiner for Questor

Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod Roddenberry is working with Imagine TV on developing the new "Questor" pilot. In an interview with AirlockAlpha, Rod said that if he was asked, he would pick Brent Spiner, who played Data on Star Trek The Next Generation for seven seasons and in four feature films. Roddenberry noted:

Brent Spiner did a fantastic job as Data [in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’]. The character was an android, yet there was something very human about it. Perhaps it’s my inability to be creative. Brent Spiner is who I fall back to when I think of Questor.

Spiner, who turned 61 last week, has not expressed any interest in the role. And Roddenberry admits that its likely Imagine and executive producer Tim Minear would be looking in a different direction. In the original 1974 "The Questor Tapes" TV movie pilot, the role of Questor the android was played by Robert Foxworth, who was 33-years-old at the time (Foxworth later appeared in multiple episodes of DS9 and Enterprise). It seems likely Imagine would look for a younger actor to lead the new “Questor” TV series, but a guest spot or recurring role for Spiner would be an interesting homage.

Foxworth in the original "The Questor Tapes"

More at AirlockAlpha from Roddenberry on Questor and his TrekNation documentary.

Questor Retrospective

If you want to learn a lot more about Gene Roddenberry’s original "The Questor Tapes," has an excellent retrospective, including cast and crew interviews.


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Spiner looks a lot younger than his age for sure but I would imagine they would be looking at a younger actor.

I also think casting Spiner would be a gimmick. If it were to attract TNG fans then perhaps it may be smart but i’m not sure it would itself have appeal beyond an initial smile even amongst the loyal.

How about Zachary Quinto?

Oh, yes, get Zach Quinto. Instead of “attracting TNG fans” as you put it, it’ll attract NuTrek fans. Not that I’m complaining, but your solution is pretty much the same reason Rod Roddenberry wants Brent for the part: Appeal.

Here’s the REAL solution: Don’t appeal. Make a casting choice from out of left field.

I think it would make sense for Brent to play Dr. Vaslovik, then if they are following the old script he would be Questor’s “father”.

Rod wants Brent for appeal, how do you work that out?

Rod wants Brent Spiner because “Spiner did a fantastic job as Data” and because he can’t think of someone else playing an android “Perhaps it’s my inability to be creative. Brent Spiner is who I fall back to when I think of Questor.”

I suggest Quinto for appeal, how do you figure that one out? I didn’t say that.

You should read more carefully what people write and not respond based upon speculation.

I am a bigger fan fan of Brent Spiner than Zacj Quinto, so Brent would draw me more to it than Quinto, however truth is the concept appeals to me so that alone appeals to me.

Bottom line is that Brent Spiner is a greatactor who played one of my all time favourite characters, Lt Cmdr Data and when it comes to Spock I will always prefer Leonard Nimoy.

However, I don’t see Brent playing the android because he is so associated with playing Data. Data was a great character and I loved the humanity and the pinnochio aspect that Brent brought to the role.

Cast Tom Selleck.

A nice thought, but I can’t see Brent Spiner doing that role. ‘Been there, done that.’

Talk about typecasting…
It would be nice to see Brent again on TV on a regular basis, but on the other hand, RTC is right (been there, done that) and age is an issue. One would simply imagine the android looking young. However, who would expect an older looking guy to be an android – good camouflage.

That’s the stupidest idea I’ve heard in a LONG time.

I bet he’ll do it.

#3 — You beat me to the punch (although I couldn’t remember the name “Dr. Vaslovik”). First of all, he was older (these androids “aged”, if I recall). Second, it would be a nice bit of stunt casting . . . one and done (think of De Kelley in Farpoint), which would probably have a positive ratings impact, but not hamper the series.

Of course, as you said, this assumes they stick to the original storyline, which is far from a given.

– Harry

Not that Spiner is not capable, but he went through the whole ‘Data is not Spock’ thing at the beginning of TNG, ( to the point of not using the word ‘fascinating’ for nearly 2 years).

I think it would be a bummer to saddle Questor with the “I am not Data” baggage, as much as I would love to see Brent in alomost anything.

Brent is an actor who is amazing in anything he does.

Oh off topic, thought I would like to say that Jeri Ryan will be at Vegas this year.

Anyone going to the vegas con?

I love Spiner but come on!!! There’s got to be thousands of actors that could do a great job of being Questor! Besides I don’t think Mr. Spiner would do it unless they wave an incredibly huge check in front of him and make him a producer and of course creative control over the project.

*shaking head* All that could happen but I don’t think it will. I certainly hope not.

#3 Good idea. Because I don’t think Spiner would want to play yet another android.

Hmmmmm……Jeri Ryan as Questor!!! I’m there!! ;-)

It’s a nice thought, but why? Brent could make a nice show of it as a holographic record of the last flesh-and-blood ‘creator’ or whatever they called the overseer race.

Anyway, I’d love to see a really well-written version of this.

@ 15…

That could happen. Well, maybe not Jerry Ryan but they could make the android a hot female which would at least have the “sex” appeal angle covered.

I was being facetious about Jeri Ryan above but an attractive female Questor wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Brents awesome, but talk about typecasting… a younger actor would be more suited. he was great in Enterprise, I’m sure there are other major roles for him in this new series. Whats Gates McFadden (From my hometown!) doing these days? Must be work for her here.

I don’t think we will be seeing any Trek alumni in “Questor,” other than possible guest-starring roles. They would come in at too high a price. Just my 2c, of course…

I hope that somehow both Robert Foxworth and Mike Farrell get cameos in this new version. Both of them were great in the original movie.

Tapes sounds sooo ’70’s. How ’bout The “Questor Dual-Layered, Double Sided Blu-ray Discs Ver. 1.5”?

Erm, Data WAS Questor. Gene recycled the concept from the failed series into TNG. So it’s been done, literally.

#23 – Really, the only similarity between the two concepts was the central character. Questor had a mythos that accompanied his “creation”. And, he has a larger purpose to watch over humanity.

I can see Questor being very relevant in the 21st century. This “reboot” could be a great series if the correct individuals are connected.

Spiner, IMO, can’t be Questor but he should play a part. And I agree that many of our TNG/ST alums could fit in this series. Though, some youngsters need to headline.

Yeah. Been done.
The guy who played Wash would be good.

Questor will inevitably end up being cast like every other role on cable TV these days – an under-25 Abercrombie & Fitch clone or dubious acting skills who will work fairly cheaply. Not unlike your average “SyFy Original”.

“Questor” as a title is good by itself. “Galaxy Questor” might be a bit much. ;)

Spiner as Vaslovik (dying in the two-hour pilot) is a grand idea. But not as Questor himself. Even Spiner’s dopplegänger, Arye Gross, could be cast as another assistant of Vaslovik’s, but he’s also too old to be Questor. (I always thought that if Spiner ever wanted out of a TNG movie, that Gross would be a reasonable Data facsimile…) Then again, Rod could just slyly tie the whole thing into Star Trek indirectly: this could be a parallel universe where the Questorians have gone back in time to prevent the ST universe from experiencing the Augments and Khan. That would be kind of cool, in a Gary Seven kind of way.

Heck, Rod’s got all the rights. Just merge Gary Seven and associates into Questor. It would fly. And as a sly Trek universe parallel that doesn’t lead to Trek.

Re 10: Good point, the androids did age in the original movie.

18. crazydaystrom – February 11, 2010
I was being facetious about Jeri Ryan above but an attractive female Questor wouldn’t be the worst idea.

If we’re limiting our imagination to casting only people who have played robots before, I would suggest Summer Glau who meets #18, 19’s criterion or if it’s an old guy, then Charles Washington who practially invented the whole robot on TV thing…

I would hope our imagination is bigger.

Brent Spiner is too associated with Data. To have him in the pilot will turn more people off than help. I think like with BSG they need to bring that guy in later for a cameo (maybe an aged experienced robot). They also have to really reinvent the formula for that show if it isn’t going to die a quick and painful death. The idea of casting Spiner does not bode well for it…

I’ve always liked Brent Spiner and he looks good at 61. BTW, for anyone who lives near Boston — Star Trek is playing at NE aquarium Imax for the next 3 fridays at 7pm.

Playing it safe, huh?
I hope for a fresh spin on humane android, not for the same old Data.

Anyway, I trust in Tim Minear to make it interesting, he’s one of the best writers on “Angel” and “Firefly”.

Yeah I hate to say it but it would be too much of a type cast for him, even though I think he’d be great. Would be cool for him to be in it, though. He was genious when he played Arik Soong in Enterprise, so maybe putting him in another roll in the series would be a good move. Would be great to see him back on the screen.

Get that Frogurt guy from LOST.

How about Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Talk of a female Questor brings to mind Yancy Butler’s portrayal of Eve on the short-lived NBC series MANN AND MACHINE…

Weird choice… Data was based on the Questor android… even down to his “I am fully functional” line. Bad choice of Spiner to play him in the remake. Everyone would assume he’s playing the same part as TNG.

Or the girl from “Small Wonder”…

Come on Rod, be a bit more creative with your ideas.
Should they make Brent wear the gold make up and eye contacts also?

Given that Tim Minear is in charge, I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see him casting Alan Tudyk in the role… and that might not be bad.

I could see Brent Spiner as playing a sort of mentor character to Questor. That would be cool.

I would actually watch Questor if Spiner was in it!

61, i can’t get over that fact.

Tim Minear’s name is the thing that stands out to me as something to smile about (and heck yeah, #39) :)

Alan Tudyk has a look that would work. He has a shy or childlike quality to his face. Could work. Could work.

I would suspect Brent Spiner would not be interested in playing Questor or Vislovek…. and for good reason.

Foremost, after playing Data for 20 years this would not be a good career move… and Spiner is also well-identified as playing Dr. Soong, Data’s creator. Why would an actor of Spiner’s calibre want to play a role (either of them) that are very similar in nature?

I would cast my vote for Robert Foxworth himself to play Emile Vislovek. Casting both Mike Farrell (maybe as Darro) and Foxworth in important cameo roles makes a lot of sense in tying the past project to the current.

As to casting the key roles of Jerry Robinson and Questor is anybody’s guess, but there are plenty of fascinating choices out there. Here are mine:

Adrian Pasadar comes to mind as Questor… so does his ‘Heroes’ co-star Milo Ventimiglia… lastly, I would perhaps pick Pee Wee Herman (okay, I am kidding about the last choice).

I can think of only one man for the role of Jerry Robinson, that would be SG-1 co-star Michael Shanks. I think his sensitvities, intelligent acting style and his SF connections would make him a perfect choice as Jerry.

Jeri Ryan…..let’s see, Six from BSG…been done.

On the other hand Shatner is always looking for something to leach onto…

Spiner is a solid actor and I wouldn’t object to having him in the series, but how about he doesn’t play A) an android or B) an android’s creator. The guy can do other stuff. Besides, as mentioned above, Questor got recycled as Data on TNG so they already did that.

Random pick from me: Nestor Campbell. He has a distinctly weird vibe to him that could work.

Alan Tudyk is also a good idea. Give that man a starring role, yo.

Spiner should play a villain. Someone who is trying to destroy the Questor android.

“Perhaps it’s my inability to be creative. Brent Spiner is who I fall back to when I think of Questor.”
–OH GREAT… that is JUST what the audiences wanna hear from the creator of a TV show; that he has an inability to be creative… :S LOL

but there ya go, #12!! You missed it, but why not make the android a woman and get Jeri Ryan to play it?:) LOL