STLV19: Brent Spiner Reveals Clue About Data’s Return in ‘Star Trek: Picard’

Star Trek: The Next Generation star Brent Spiner was the headliner for the opening day of  STLV, the annual Star Trek Las Vegas Con. The actor closed out Wednesday’s panels on the big stage by talking about returning to the role of Data and joining Sir Patrick Stewart on the upcoming CBS All Access series Star Trek: Picard.

Spiner talks about Data’s story in Star Trek: Picard

Late in his panel appearance when the subject turned to his return in Star Trek: Picard, Brent Spiner wanted to make some things clear… but not too clear:

I am delighted to be part of the show and all I am, is a part of the show…I want to make it semi-clear, because I don’t want to make it too clear, that I am not a regular on the show. Data did die at the end of Nemesis. But I am on the show. I do make appearances. Data’s story is a part of the thread of show.

Spiner’s comments add a bit more clarity, notably that he will make multiple appearances on Star Trek: Picard and that Data’s story is part of the first season. Spiner confirmed that Data is back while also acknowledging that how Data died has fueled a lot of speculation. Due to the secrecy around the show, the nature of Data’s appearance in the show is not entirely clear.

However, Spiner may have inadvertently pointed speculation in the right direction when answering a fan questions about what it was like working with people on the set of Picard:

Up until this point to be honest, I have only worked with Patrick on the set.

Having Data only interact with Jean-Luc Picard would seem to eliminate some possibilities. It is unlikely that a fully resurrected Data (perhaps using B-4’s android body) would not ever appear with any other characters. This lends more weight to the theories that Data’s appearances in Picard are through some kind of holographic simulation, or perhaps memories or flashbacks.

That said, the first season of the show has not completed production. As of two weeks ago at San Diego Comic-Con, the cast revealed there were three episodes left to shoot, out of ten. So, it is possible Data interacts with other characters in the final few episodes.

Brent Spiner as Data with Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard (in shadow), from the Star Trek: Picard  SDCC trailer

Impressed with the Picard cast and crew

Before Picard, Spiner had been skeptical about returning to the role of Data. At STLV, he talked a bit about how he has a different view of the character than the audience:

I love Data, of course, I do, I would be a fool not to. Data has been very, very good to me…But as I have often said: love is a very personal thing. My relationship with the character has been very different than the audience’s, because you didn’t have to put on that makeup every day.

When asked specifically why he chose to return to the role, Spiner listed a number of reasons:

I will tell you my biggest reason for coming back: they asked me, and they were very nice about it. There are a couple of more reasons. The pedigree of the writing staff was very difficult to say no to. It was Alex Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman – who won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, and the showrunner Michael Chabon, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist…And then there is the opportunity to sit across with Patrick again and share that experience with him. Patrick and I are really, really good friends. I did some little stuff with him on Blunt Talk and had a really good time with him…And also you guys [pointing to the audience of fans], because I thought if it got into the wind that they asked me to do it and I said no, you would not be coming to my show on Saturday night.

When talking in general about the show, Spiner gave this assessment of Picard:

The scripts are so good. The writing is so great. They have put together a really great cast. It’s Patrick’s show, it’s Picard’s show…The players they have assembled around him – to an actor – are really terrific. I think you are going to love this cast and love the whole thrust of the show.

Spiner also had a bit of fun and again showed off his spot-on Patrick Stewart impersonation as he talked about how he learned about the title for the series:

I actually had to ask [Patrick] on the set one day I said: “Have they got a title yet?” And he said [adopts Patrick Stewart voice]: “Yes, it’s Star Trek: Picard, quite good, don’t you think?”

Answering a fan question, Spiner said that returning to the mindset of Data came back to him easily:

How long did it take me to get back into the mindset [of Data]? Less than it took me to get into the makeup. It really kind of came back. It really was sort of – with Patrick and I sitting there looking at each other – it really came back quickly.

Brent Spiner enters the stage at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

Nemesis better with age

When discussing the four Star Trek: The Next Generation movies, Spiner said he felt the often-panned last film is worth revisiting:

I really liked [Star Trek Nemesis] I co-wrote the story [with Rick Berman and John Logan]…Tom Hardy (Shinzon) was fantastic. I think there were things that don’t work about it, but in general looking back, it is a more satisfying film than you remember…There was a lot of disappointment because the guy, um [feigns memory lapse] Data, was killed.

But, the actor pointed to another film as the best of the four:

Obviously First Contact was our best film. There is no way around it. Ron [Moore] and Brannon [Braga] wrote a great script. Jonathan [Frakes] really rose to the occasion directing.

Brent Spiner with moderator Adam Malin at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

Getting ready to start on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

In addition to his work on Picard, Spiner discussed how he is also working on another TV show:

I’m doing another show [in addition to Picard]…It’s called Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and I have a part on that show. It is a big ensemble of amazing actors. It’s really good. I have read the first four scripts and they are like “whoa!” This is really good.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is a spin-off of the Showtime horror series Penny Dreadful, and both shows were created by Spiner’s friend John Logan, who wrote Star Trek Nemesis. The cast includes Nathan Lane, Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Kerry Bishé, Adriana Barraza, Rory Kinnear, Jessica Garza, Johnathan Nieves, Amy Madigan, and Lin Shaye. Star Trek: Discovery’s Ethan Peck (Spock) has also signed on to guest star in multiple episodes. Spiner said he starts work on the new show in late August.

Brent Spiner at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

More STLV to come

The TrekMovie team is in Las Vegas to bring you all the news, so check back for more updates here on the site as well as some live coverage via @TrekMovie on Twitter and Instagram.

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Lukas

Hard to believe it was the same John Logan who was involved in writing Gladiator lol.
Anyway, really looking forward to Picard!

VZX

So Brent only acted with Patrick? So either Data is just in Picard’s head or on a holodeck. But if Data is part of the story, then that might mean his body is the MacGuffin for the Borg and/or Romulans.

Afterburn

Speculation:

Picard was assimilated by The Borg.
Seven was assimilated by The Borg.
Hugh was assimilated by the Borg.
Data was Assimilated by the Borg (technically).

We learned on Voyager that there is a shared consciousness which the Borg share, and they can communicate visually across vast distances, even after breaking away from the collective.

Could it be that Picard is communicating on a extra-sensory level with Seven, Hugh, Data, et al, and none of them are actually physically in each other’s presence?

Afterburn

To add: what if something is happening to ex borg drones, and in this collective unconscious they seek out Picard for help? Picard being brought back because someone needs his help seems to be a recurring theme of the trailer, between the girl, the Romulans, and Seven.

Danpaine

Interesting way to go with what we’ve been given thus far, absolutely. Have to get casual viewers up to speed with all that happened to those characters way back when in the 90’s, but good writing could provide that –

Afterburn

I’ve said this before, but Marvel has proven that if a movie or show is good, the audience is willing to overlook quite a bit, even story history that isn’t re-covered. I had a friend that saw Infinity War without having seen Thor 3, Doctor Strange, or Black Panther, and even though he had no idea who those characters were or why they were there (while Thor does recap the events of Ragnarok to Rocket, all Cap says is “I know a place” and they’re in Wakanda with Black Panther, with no explanation). It was either easy enough to put things together, or the movie was just good enough it didn’t matter.

A single line of dialog can cover a lot, but again, Marvel has established that audiences don’t always need their hands held and are willing to accept a lot without explanation.

Afterburn

Also, if you’d listen to Tiger2, apparently it’s a FACT that they’re not trying to reach casual viewers. They don’t WANT anyone but TRUE DIEHARD Trekkies!

Never mind the fact that they if Trekkies alone could sustain the franchise, Nemesis wouldn’t have completely bombed and Enterprise wouldn’t have been cancelled… and 15 years later i’m sure that audience is even smaller, but still, it’s OBVIOUS and CLEAR that CBS does not have any interest in marketing this to ANYONE but the most diehard Trek fans– the ones who won’t need to be caught up on anything.

You can tell when you listen to Patrick Stewart, an ACTOR speaking at conventions full of Trekkies, when he ONLY says things that make Trekkies excited! We know that he speaks for everyone, and knows everything about the business and production of this series and the new Trek franchise as a whole, and CLEARLY they don’t want to market to outside audiences.

As such, the line in the trailer “10 years ago, Data sacrificed his life” was completely uneccessary. Because the only reason those kinds of recaps exists is to make it more palatable for casual fans and outsiders to the franchise, and WE KNOW FOR A FACT they don’t want or need that portion of the audience, and including lines like that IN A TRAILER is marketing to a casual audience WE KNOW they’re not.

Locutus

That’s a fun concept!

Afterburn

I’m nothing if not fun!

CaptCrash74

This is what I have been thinking. Picard has had a really difficult mourning of losing Data in Nemesis, especially after all those years of witnessing and helping Data achieve the most human like evolution possible. Maybe Picard feels like Data was more of a son than a shipmate/officer…and lost was devastating no less.
It is possible that B4 did not evolve like Starfleet had hoped, and therefore it was necessary to deactivate and disassemble B4 for security reasons…another hurtful moment for Picard.

I would assume that any infomation and “data” remaining from Data was eventually preserved and uploaded into a database and is accessible – especially for Picard in a holodeck scenario. Maybe this is part of a therapy needed for Picard after all that has happened leading him into retirement.

ML31

That is probably the most realistic of all the fan speculation I have read on this site.

Yosef

Agreed!
Well put CaptCrash74

Locutus

Very plausible.

Hussain

I lean towards thinking Data is an effect of picards irumodic syndrome. This allows them to acknowledge its existence, have a definitive timeline to end the show and use it as a introspective tool for Picard

Rear Admiral Damien

Agreed. I’m surprised that wasn’t most people’s first thought. Brent has only worked with Patrick because Data is all in Picard’s head.

Gary 8.5

Brent said he only worked with Patrick until this point. We might see him interact with others in the last two episodes.

PaulB

The “Picard Day” banner and Data are part of the same holodeck program, I’d bet. B-4 became unstable so they transferred Data’s memories into the holodeck and boxed B-4’s parts. Picard hopes the new scientist/doctor will be able to help him restore Data.

Or…you know…something completely different. :)

obi5kenobi

A few thoughts….

Picard Day was only seen once, in TNG TV show.
It could be an annual event, or not. Not even sure that families even live aboard the Enterprise E.
Data appears to be wearing a Nemesis era uniform, long after the Picard Day seen in TNG.
B4 was last seen walking around aboard the Enterprise E.
Lore was stated to have been disassembled.

Not sure what all this means, just throwing it against the wall to see what sticks. :-)

Khan's Chihuahua

I’m not sure it’s a Nemesis-era uniform. In the TOS movies, and even the 2nd pilot, collar height varies from actor to actor. The admiral has a maroon collar, and maybe Data wears his a little higher. It also spares some de-aging if his neck is more covered.

Unless they do some flashbacks, IMHO it’s less likely they would use a uniform from another era. I’m wondering if this is either “Computer, show me Data as he would appear now with knowledge of the last 20 years” or else Picard has the syndrome from AGT. I kinda like the Borg mind invasion theory too.

Sully

The Capt Picard Day banner appears to be hanging on the Borg cube(?). The out of context nature of the banner being there does sort of remind me of All Good Things where Picard hallucinates people from Q’s court in his vineyard. I hope I’m wrong though. I want Jean Luc healthy and well.

Legate Damar

Those weren’t hallucinations though. Q was making him see those guys.

Learning life from toilet walls

Has anybody pointed out that Data said “I can see that, Captain”;
Not “I can see that, Admiral”?
Sounds like a holodeck Data to me.

FLB

Well, to me it sounded a bit like a rebooted version of Data. A ‘Last Known Good Configuration’ so-to-speak.

ML31

It looked and felt like it had ‘hollodeck’ written all over it.

Tiger2

Others have also pointed out it looks like he is wearing his First Contact/Nemesis uniform and not the newer uniforms in this era so yes he’s probably a holodeck version.

HubcapDave

Was I the only one who was hoping his next big project would be a Fresh Hell reboot? ;-)

Sully

Good call. Would love some more of that!

Captain Neill

Why do so many think highly of Kurtzman, where all I can see is a hack?

Am I unkind or missing something? Kurtzman being the guy in charge of my fav universe scares me.

Maybe it’s because of not being va fan of certain changes. Why do I feel negative about Kurtzman when Hollywood praises him.

Logician

I also dislike Kurtzman creatively speaking. Ditto Akiva Goldsman. But, knowing some people “in the industry” of Hollywood, I think that non-creative aspects, esp. managerial competence and basic human decency, are more prized than outsiders realize. Someone may, creatively, be a hack, but still have a good reputation for completing projects on-time and on-budget, and treating everyone involved decently and respectfully. (And ensuring that their projects make money in the process.) And contrarily, someone may be a brilliant writer, director, etc., but also an unholy terror to underlings, and indignant at being constrained by business-side realities. Bottom-line, creative excellence is only a small piece of the puzzle. Great artists’ careers can end, or be relegated to obscurity, simply because one film underperformed (esp. if Disney is involved) or because they were just too much of a jerk to tolerate anymore. (Obviously, successful jerks are tolerated far too long. But they do tend to have less leeway than successful non-jerks when a film misfires.)

So, while I don’t know anything about Kurtzman or Goldsman individually, I suspect that they may be considered good managers, hence the Hollywood praise.

Sybok's Other Brother

You nailed it. Well said.

Jay

Totally right, Logician. I always wonder about Discovery , how would it be if Fuller was still the show runner.

Sam

It would be a coherent show with an actual premise. It would more or less successfully incorporate the character arcs and ideas that Fuller had planned for. And main characters Michael Burnhan and Gabriel Lorca would be fully realized.

A lot of fans would still dislike it because it would keep the remodeled production aspects of the show, instead of constantly handwaving that it was “fixing” them.

ML31

Wasn’t what Fuller wanted was essentially an anthology Trek show? Different cast and settings each season.

Sam

I believe he did. I don’t believe that would have worked though from a production standpoint.

ML31

That was actually a concept that I liked! I do understand the reluctance to do it on the production side of things, however. But Fargo seems to be getting away with it….

TG47

Captain Neill, I will not agree on the hack assessment, but I’d like to point out that what Hollywood may be praising is his leadership.

Big budget franchises need strategic, visionary leaders who know that they can’t do everything themselves – and they don’t have to be top in their field at the production level as long as they can attract, retain and motivate people.

What can we see as evidence in the public domain that Kurtzman has the right leadership stuff?

– he’s strategic

– he successfully sold CBS on the concept of reviving Trek AND providing a broader menu of offerings

– has attracted high level talent – actors, writers, production designers, costume designers, composers

– he learns, takes feedback, adapts and changes course

– he understands that innovation, experimentation and even failure is essential for moving forward and has created a venue for this (Short Treks)

– he grows and matures (e.g. he says that over time he has come to understand that Trek’s niche is its aspirational view of the future)

– he doesn’t sound like a micromanager, but he will step in to do it himself (e.g. season 2 of Discovery) if the managers below him can’t deliver the necessary quality on time while maintaining a respectful workplace.

We will have to see how it all works out.

From where I sit, he could expand his worldview and engage even a broader range of expertise. But would I hire him for the job?
Emphatically yes, absolutely.

ST:EXP

I’m happy about all of this but I hope this is more VFX work on Data to make it look less like he just had dental work done and is waiting for the swelling to go down.

Come on, the Federation hasn’t figured out how to build more androids in twenty years?
Like it or not, Data is still a construct, and it would be ridiculous to assume there weren’t backups of his memory/programming downloaded somewhere.

Legate Damar

Dr. Soong was the only person who really understood his positronic brain, and nobody else (including Data) was able to replicate it. I don’t think a regular computer would have been able to handle his programming. He couldn’t back up his brain because the hardware that he needed was incredibly rare. In Nemesis he did, of course, back up his memories to B4’s positronic brain.

ML31

Yeah I was saying the same thing. It is ridiculous that only one person in the entire universe was able to come up the Data android. That no one followed up on the work. That no one tried for themselves and found the secret. That no one was even able to reverse engineer him. You’d think that 40 years after he went on line that SOMEONE would figure out what makes him tick.

Disinvited

ML31,

If I recall correctly, in BROTHERS, it is established that it is the Lore line of androids, i.e. there’s no physical difference between the two only programming differences.

Also, we know someone followed up on the work, Data, when he made his “daughter.”

ML31

So Data himself attempted but NO ONE else? Absurd. I also said nothing about the lack of differences between Data and Lore. But I’ll stop there because the less said about Data’s evil twin the better.

Disinvited

ML31,

Re: NO ONE else

Starfleet tried. But Data won his court cases which ultimately gave him exclusive reproductive rights.

I would suppose, as an enemy of the state, Lore would not be privy to these rights, but wouldn’t the Federation have to be absolutely insane to do any research on Lore that could risk reactivating him?

Re: Android

I mentioned Lore because you kept saying Data was the only one.

Also, when Data met his android “Mother” I believe she told Data there were many androids in the Lore, for lack of a better word, line but their programming failed in ways that seemed similar to Lal’s to me. In fact, she related some tale where Data had developed mentally initially as a human child, but when he got to the level of self-aware his Dad wiped his memory of this stage of his development for fear that it somehow would induce a cascade failure?

My memories of this episode are not strong.

ML31

So no one tried anything before that Measure of a Man stuff? That seems improbable. Why would Star Fleet let an android through Star Fleet Academy? As was said before, I suspect that given the dubious history with AIs that he would have been apprehended and shut down the instant it was discovered he even existed. I had a number of problems with that episode. Among them was the idea that this most likely would have occurred years ago if it were to happen at all. I don’t think Data’s “reproductive rights” come into play here at all.

I suppose there might be episodes where they come up with reasons why Soong’s work can’t be duplicated. As far as I can remember it’s always been that no one has been able to follow Soong’s work or successfully re-create it. Which, again, I find dubious.

Sam

Others did try to follow up. But Data only cooperated with them to the degree that he felt was appropriate.

ML31

There is no reason why anyone can’t try and follow in Soong’s footsteps without the approval or cooperation of Data himself.

Legate Damar

They need Data’s cooperation so that they could study the only successful example of Dr. Soong’s work. They might have made more progress now though, since they probably have unlimited access to B4 and Lore.

ML31

Even if they didn’t, there is undoubtedly reams of data on Data. It’s not like they couldn’t make the attempt.

Afterburn

Who’s saying they haven’t? And if they haven’t, that we won’t get an explanation in this show as to why?

Tiger2

Its not that they don’t know how to build androids, they simply don’t know how to build one at that sophistication. Remember, the entire point with Measure of a Man is that they specifically wanted to take Data apart so they COULD learn how to build more like him.

But I suspect in the new show there will be people who ARE indeed learning to build androids at that level since one of the characters is suppose to be an expert in positronic brains and probably why Picard seeks her out.

ML31

But even that is a flimsy excuse. If one person was able to do it, surely somewhere in the galaxy someone else could come up with it. Even if you can’t take him apart they could learn enough from just general check ups to give them a head start from where Soong started. I know why Data was there. He was the outsider. The Audience. There to observe the “human condition”. The same role Spock served earlier. Except Spock had his own issues along with being the outsider. Which made him fascinating. But the concept of an android no one could duplicate… I found to be absurd. Thus making it hard for me to care about Data as a character. In fact, the most moving moment I found with Data was that scene in Nemesis when he turned on only B-4’s voice only to have to turn him off again. Didn’t think I could care enough to feel for him but in that scene, I did. And it made his decision to sacrifice himself later more significant than it otherwise would have been.

Disinvited

ML31,

Re: flimsy

Well, if by that, you mean wouldn’t Starfleet have done research on the Ruk or Norman androids, I think it is the same problem as I mentioned with Lore – too dangerous.

Although, if I recall accurately, Kirk left some of the Norman line activated as personal jailers to Mudd. So there’s still a danger angle, but Starfleet would have to check up on Harry to make sure he was being jailed humanely, and in doing that research could ensue?

ML31

That would explain why no one is working on that front. But… If one goes there that only circles back to the argument of why is Data even allowed to continue to exist given all that negative history with AI’s?

Tiger2

Agree Disinvited! I think Starfleet has always been generally cautious with A.I. technology (after season 2 of Discovery can you blame them lol) and there has never been a real push for it outside of things like the EMH which is a supplement to their tech but not completely depended on it either. Data is obviously an exception and sure if they just wanted to build AI machines, they can. They may not be as sophisticated as DATA but there doesn’t seem to be a real push to do it as we have seen plenty of A.I.s, especially on TOS but rarely used within Starfleet.

But I do suspect on the Picard we will see more androids and holograms working in Starfleet.

Tiger2

“But even that is a flimsy excuse. If one person was able to do it, surely somewhere in the galaxy someone else could come up with it.”

I hear you dude but this is how Star Trek has always worked. The spore drive for example drives me crazy not because its waaaay too advance for the period but because I refuse to believe Starfleet was the first and ONLY group of people to tap into this ridiculously advance technology and that many more (and more advanced aliens) would have had it long ago. We should be seeing LOTS of species using the Mycelial network. I also don’t believe Starfleet was the first group in the Federation to create a powerful terraforming tech like the Genesis project in TWOK and surely MANY other species in the Federation have come up with this long ago but even by the 24th century terraforming is still more basic. Even if Starfleet failed, someone else should have cracked Genesis long ago if not already had it and been terraforming planets like we build cell phones today by now. But it never happened. I can go on and on obviously.

This is what Star Trek always do, suggest Starfleet or more appropriately humans have made so many great discoveries and ONLY them have found a way to do it never pass the smelled test to me. In the Federation you have to somehow believe every species seems to have the same level of technology and know how when in reality most should be hundreds if not thousands of years ahead of us if they been traveling space for centuries before we even discovered electricity. This is just another example. There probably should be an entire civilization of Data’s somewhere but Star Trek has always not shown a huge advancement of A.I. when in reality it should be in a lot of places by now being used by countless species.

But Data is not an exception. When it comes to advance experimental tech, it seems like Starfleet are the only ones who have the patents to ALL of it lol and if anyone else in the Federation or beyond tries to experiment or make their own version they send out their lawyers or something.

ML31

I see your point and there is does have merit. But with things like the spore drive I can buy that the Federation was the first to come up with it. Even though there are much older civilizations out there, I still buy it. What I DON’T buy about the spore drive is what didn’t drive you crazy. The fact that it WAS WAAAAAAY doo advanced for it’s time. However, there was a lot of things way too advanced for Discovery but that’s another matter. ;)

To me there are a lot of believable reasons why no one from the Omega quadrant or the upside down world ever showed up with a spore drive. But because humans are humans I still cannot accept that Soong was the one and only mind in all of humanity (or even among beings in the Federation) who came up with a functional positronic operating system. I just felt that the entire character of Data was flawed from it’s inception. That is part of why the character never did anything for me. Well, until that one scene in Nemesis. :)

Binyamin

In TV and movie science, it’s always one genius. In real science, it’s 99% always a team of capable people.

Nachum

He says “Up to this point,” which may mean that it’s possible for him to interact with others, whether or not he does.

Sam

Or it may simply mean the actor is open to other possibilities for his character not currently being explored.

Legate Damar

I completely agree with him about Nemesis. It wasn’t a perfect movie, but it wasn’t as bad as a lot of people say. Tom Hardy gave a great performance as Shinzon. Spiner was great as Data and B4. The whole nature vs nurture debate was pretty good. Its always nice to see the Romulans. Its a very underrated movie.

ML31

I always felt that way too. There were a few flaws but overall it was a pretty good Trek movie and felt like a nice send off for the TNG crew. Was it as good as TUC? No. But it sure wasn’t Insurrection….

Sam

It wishes it could be Insurrection, or even The Final Frontier. A couple more drafts and the directing of Jonathan Frakes could have saved the movie, if by save you mean to make it at least an enjoyable experience. Some major retooling (including some consistent motivation for the Tom Hardy character) might have even resulted in a decent movie.

Movie was set up to fail. Paramount tried to please the director they didn’t want by shoving him off onto the franchise they had (rightfully, by that point) back-burnered.

ML31

Oh wow. Insurrection is really hard to watch to this day. It’s a poorly executed story that ends with Picard willfully murdering his helpless adversary. There was no soul searching by anyone. No deep message. Just a weak way to say ‘forced relocation is bad’. The franchise NEEDED a director change. The previous film showed everyone was getting to comfortable, for lack of a better term. There was nothing wrong with the director. Nick Meyer knew nothing of Trek when he made WoK and it was the best of them all. Familiarity with Trek is not a requirement. Nemesis actually dealt with an interesting idea. It was the only time one could feel a little sympathetic towards Data. And that third act was fantastic. No, it wasn’t perfect. But it certainly wasn’t the hot mess you make it out to be.

Sam

I have no problem at all with Insurrection being at the bottom of the list. It just doesn’t get to sit beneath Nemesis.

I also have no strong love for Berman Trek in general, especially anything after ’96, with the exception of DS9 which had well established its groove by that point. Not only was everyone too comfortable, but Berman’s whole regime was resistant to changing ANYTHING on ST unless it became absolutely necessary (or in other words too late to matter). It’s not a compliment to rightly observe that Insurrection was a very typical TV premise for the Berman era.

But Stuart Baird is no Nick Meyer, who directed two of the best movies (and co-wrote the three best movie scripts) of TOS era. Meyer’s one of the most literate people to have worked on ST, extremely knowledgeable in movies and theater, and took the time to study ST. Baird is primarily an editor who saves movies that are in trouble at the post-production stage. He’d directed a couple of conspiracy theorist-type action thrillers for Paramount, almost of the b-rated variety, and when he wanted to direct again they gave him ST. The ST people were stuck with him, and unlike Meyer he had zero inclination to learn ST. Berman Trek needed outside people but they couldn’t contain this guy.

And John Logan seems to be 50/50. The quality of his Nemesis script was closer to The Time Machine (also 2002) than Gladiator. He was either too much a fan or too wowed by who he was working with to realize his material wasn’t good. The final act essentially WAS The Wrath of Khan, more so than Into Darkness.

The “annotated” screenplay for Nemesis, if you can find it, is very on point. It snarkily illustrates all the problems with the story as well as all the general cliches that Berman Trek had by that time become notorious for.

Tiger2

I certainly liked Meyer but I think his reputation gets waaay overblown. He directed two great films but it was no guarantee he could write for Star Trek in general past TOS. And considering how fast he got the boot on Discovery when he was literally the second person hired to run the show it probably tells you his ideas just didn’t gel with today’s Star Trek. He was probably fine when Star Trek was much smaller and it was a different time.

Agreed about everything with Baird though. He should’ve never gotten on that set.

Sam

You have seen the sheer number of people screen-credited as “producer” for STD S1 during the opening title sequence, right? Which incidentally, the list of names only gets longer in S2’s opening sequence. You don’t think it’s “slightly” insane to have that many people in charge of running a series? It seems silly to draw any conclusions, at all, from a person’s departure from the pea soup that was, and is, STD when nobody’s exactly divulging information as to why or when.

As far as anybody knows, Meyer was there throughout the first season, for better or worse. The show’s main visionary was the first to leave (and oddly enough, fans seem inclined to assume this only improved the show, when quite the opposite seems in evidence). Does everyone just assume that the least qualified people were the ones to go while the most qualified ones remained behind? Because that narrative to me doesn’t gel with whatever happened in the second half of S2.

As for no “guarantee” that a certain person or idea could work effectively, perhaps ST just shouldn’t try anything at all unless it’s determined by “someone” to be 100 percent guaranteed. The studio and producers probably felt the same way during my least favorite period of the franchise.

The fact that Midnight’s Edge were the ones to report on Meyer’s departure hardly clears up matters either. I see no reason to assume one of ST’s most literate writers couldn’t work out for ST under more controlled circumstances — assuming he was masochistic enough to give them another chance after STD. As it is I’m sure he’s got better things to do.

Tiger2

Yes it was an insane amount of producers in season 1 of Discovery just to make a pretty mediocre product lol. We definitely agree on that. My only point is Meyer was meant to be a bigger part of the show and even write for it. In fact there are rumors he did write the second script of the season but it got rejected and it sounds like he was put on the backburner ever since. But you’re probably right, he probably use to a TV environment where everything is go-go-go and you have to gel with ten other people. But that is pretty much Star Trek 90% of the time when you take away the films.

Look I was just as excited to have him on Discovery as you were, but I do have a feeling this guy probably just felt out of place considering his age and that he hadn’t really written anything in a long time not to mention the last time he had anything do with Star Trek was early 90s. You can’t always go home again.

ML31

Sam, the term “producer” is a title that can mean a number of things. It can mean money. It can mean the force behind everything. It can mean input that may or may not be taken. The turnover in producers is why the list was so long. A lot of folks are contractually obliged to get credit. That said, the kind of turnover that STD had generally doesn’t bode well for any production.

Wi-kiry-lan

The facer’s annotated script leak had to be a factor in nemesis’s boxoffice crash. I still have them saved the other being broken bow annotated. I still have not watched nemesis from start to finish. And star trek has been garbage ever since – nowadays pointing that out can make one YouTube famous. Which is better than USENET famous.

ML31

OK Sam. I do not think Meyer is a great director. He just happened to direct two of the best Trek movies there are. Sure, Baird is no David Lean. But neither is Frakes. And let’s face it, you don’t need Spielberg to make a really good Star Trek movie. And if you want to bring Meyer’s writing into it… He loses a TON of capital when you consider his involvement with The Voyage Home. Easily the worst of the Trek features. Even more so than Insurrection and Final Frontier. And that film was directed by a Trek legend too! Thus proving that familiarity with Trek is no guarantee either. So no. Meyer is no Trek genius of any kind.

Logan’s script was not up to Gladiator. (although I understand he was part of a much larger group on that one) But it certainly wasn’t at Insurrection or Voyage Home levels. I will say this for Nemesis. If nothing else it contained the one scene that actually succeeded in getting me to feel a little bit for Data. No feature or TV episode was able to get anywhere near that. That was probably due to the combination of Logan’s script and how Baird put the scene together. Perhaps others might have accomplished it but these two did it first. Sure, the final act had an element of WoK in it in the fact that a major character sacrificed himself for the many. But that is pretty much where the comparison ends. At least it didn’t rip off near exact dialog from another film!

I do not need to see an “annointed” screenplay for Nemesis. It is pretty obvious where the flaws are. But there are only a few of them and the biggest flaw doesn’t really hurt the movie much.

Theoden_of_ODU

“He loses a TON of capital when you consider his involvement with The Voyage Home. Easily the worst of the Trek features. Even more so than Insurrection and Final Frontier.”

I think you’re in a pretty sizable minority when it comes to this particular opinion. You can have that particular opinion, but The Voyage Home is often considered one of the best Star Trek movies by fans and critics alike. It usually falls in the top 3-5 of all Star Trek films in almost every single list compiled by professional and fans alike that I’ve ever seen over the last 30+ years.

ML31

THV was the least Star Trek of all the Trek films. A lot of non Trek fans seemed to like to which accounts for it’s larger than usual box office. But to that I like to remind people that Into Darkness resonated with non-fans a bit, too.

Afterburn

I find it fairly unwatchable because the characters were just not meant for that kind of story. It might have made a better 2-part episode of Voyager, with that crew. Story-wise it felt a lot more like something they would have done for one of the JJ films.

The actual version of nemesis is hard to get through. Talk about dour, there’s absolutely no fun in the film, outside of a few very poorly written jokes in the opening act. Any themes that are there are poorly explored and lost in a mess of bad acting, directing, and editing.

Legate Damar

No fun? We got a musical number with Data, some funny comments from B4, and a few funny moments when Data and Picard were trying to escape the Scimitar. Things got a little darker once the big space battle started, but there were plenty of fun moments throughout the film.

Tiger2

It has definitely gotten better with rewatches for sure IMO, but that said its still my lowest ranked film by far.

But yes the cast was as usual great in it and there were some decent themes in it for sure. But as a film it still fell very short.

Spectre-7

Isn’t it obvious that he’s in flashbacks?
It sure looks like he’s wearing a first contact-style uniform

Chris Jones

I assume Brent just interpreted the question to be, “What’s it like to work with the original crew on stage again”, of which, he’s only worked with Patrick.

Tiger2

Sorry Spiner, I have to disagree Nemesis is still a bad movie lol. BUT yes I have liked it a little more the more I’ve seen it and its amazing just how well the FX has held up. It looks amazing, but its really missing a lot in the writing and direction department.

But all that said I’m just super happy Spiner is playing Data again. Yes most likely its a hologram or in Picard’s mind, but it would make sense considering they did kill the guy lol. And yes I suspect a lot of the story will deal with reviving him (or at least trying to) or why they wouldn’t have a main character whose job is literally dealing with positronic brains.

This is all VERY exciting though! God I have not been this excited and interested in Star Trek in decades.

snoopy

I think Data starts out as a hologram . But i think by the end of the show he is revived through b-4 body. Oh yeah Data lives. They would not go through all of this if they was not going to bring him back to life.

Jordan

Yep, my thinking too. Data is a hologram Picard uses to medicate his guilt.

Legate Damar

I think it might be something more along the lines of B4 being able to temporarily run Data’s program for long enough to give Picard some advice and play poker with him, but only for a short amount of time.

skyjedi

Maybe the next time they make a Star Trek film it won’t be another remake of Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan. It won’t have a villain or revenge plot.

Legate Damar

Every Star Trek, with the possible exceptions of TMP and Voyage Home have had villains. Apart from Khan, Nero is the only one who was really after revenge. The rest all had more complex motivations.

Vulcan Soul

Chabon’s original title for this show, sadly rejected for being tooo long:

Star Trek: The Search for Data’s Body and Picard’s Soul

Tiger2

LOL!

snoopytrek

..so it’s either B4 or Picard’s guilt with data taking his place on the romulan ship with flashbacks of data or holodeck getting “data’s” advice..one thing why Brent killed off data is he always did his face was getting to old to play him anymore..thus the strong CGI in the clip to make him look “younger”. The girl picard meets is rumored to be data and the borg queens daughter and 7 comes in to assist in this. But, you know trek and rumors lol

Legate Damar

Data is an android, and the Borg Queen is essentially a robot from the neck down. There is no way they could have had a daughter.

Disinvited

Legate Damar,

The Queen was definitely giving Data biological upgrades. While there’s no telling how far that could have gone, clearly she can upgrade herself, biologically, just as well as needed.

But the odds are more likely that a Data/Queen “daughter” would be a clone of the Queen whose nanoprobes had been infused with Data’s software and android tech.

Al Bundy

after blunt talk, i was afraid i would never see the major again. i’m just glad star trek has a new following and that people are still interested in the story line. i’m sure the CGI will be light years ahead of what Star Trek The Next Generation had, as proven in the Discovery timeline, which had me hooked from the first episode, and made my jaw drop on the first season’s ending when the NCC-1701 issued a distress call.

Dom

The Data scene had all the hallmarks of a peaceful dream from which he’d rather not wake up. Picard not wanting to finish his game with Data is perhaps an analogy of Picard’s decision to retire to the vineyard, rather than move on with his life.

The shot of the dismantled B4 (presumably) means perhaps that Picard just couldn’t let go of the loss of his old friend.

The only problem I have with the Data clip in the trailer is that the de-ageing CGI somehow makes Brent Spiner’s cheeks look like he’s sucked in a load of air and puffed them out.