‘Star Trek: Picard’ EP Promises More Exploration Of Starfleet In Season 2, And Maybe More Brent Spiner Too

CBS’s Emmy campaign continues with another interview from Star Trek: Picard executive producer Akiva Goldsman. Like all FYC interviews, the focus was on season one, but he dropped some season two tidbits as well.

Almost halfway through season two scripts

Speaking to IndieWire Akiva Goldsman gave a progress update from the Picard virtual writers’ room:

Oh yeah. I am on a Zoom call in an hour with Terry Matalas and Kirsten Beyer and Michael Chabon and we will be bashing through some continuity issues we are having between episodes three and four in the script phase. Yeah, we are in it. We have room that is up and running. We have broken the season. We are closer to halfway through the scripts than not. We really loved doing it and we feel really lucky to do it and we feel kind of like season one was getting ready and now season two, let’s go.

Former 12 Monkeys executive producer Terry Matalas is a new addition to the Picard team, brought on board as an executive producer to step in as showrunner for the second season. Season one showrunner Michael Chabon remains with the show as a writer but had to reduce his time with Picard after he took on showrunning duties for the upcoming Showtime series Kavalier and Clay, based on his novel.

Originally production on season two was set to start mid-June; however, due to the coronavirus shutdown, it was delayed. Recently Jeri Ryan said production is now planned to start in September.

Picard visits Starfleet HQ

More Starfleet and maybe more Soong for season 2

The first season of Star Trek: Picard saw the former commanding officer of the USS Enterprise-D (and Enterprise-E) retired, and finding it difficult to get support from Starfleet for his mission to find Data’s “daughter” and the colony of Soong-type androids. When talking about the season one finale where a Starfleet task force finally showed up to lend a hand, Goldsman gave a hint about what’s in store for season two:

We knew that bringing in that fleet was a little bit of a promise, and so we tried to be thoughtful about it. Especially as we go forward, we’re going to start making statements about really what the world of Starfleet, at least technologically if not socially and culturally … These are the things that are likely to get a little bit more play than they did [in Season 1] in what was essentially a story about somebody who is outside of Starfleet.

Goldsman also indicated that Brent Spiner may return again, but not as Data:

We wanted to feather in the possibility of more and we knew we were letting Data go. We knew that this Soong character had been in our head canon when it came to the season anyway, but we want more Brent and we wanted to create a platform for which there could be more Brent in ensuing seasons.

Goldsman also told IndieWire that originally the team envisioned the final Picard/Data scene from the season one finale as an entire episode. “At one point it was going to be a play that was just going to be the two of them for I think all of episode nine,” he said.

If Spiner does return, he will not be the only Trek vet in season two:  Jeri Ryan recently confirmed she will be back. It has also been confirmed that Whoopi Goldberg will be reprising her TNG role as Guinan, and LeVar Burton indicated he’ll be bringing in Geordi LaForge. Marina Sirtis told TrekMovie that she’s interested in playing Troi more, and Jonathan Frakes is up to be back, hoping to see more of Captain Riker.

Brent Spiner as Dr. Alton Inigo Soong in “Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2”


Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news, reviews, and analysis at TrekMovie.com.

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I don’t understand why they just couldn’t give the role of Data to a new actor (with Data saying he wants to further explore his individuality by no longer looking like Soong) and put Data into a new body, rather than just kill him again. And Brent can still be part of the show as Altan Soong giving helpful advice to the “new” Data from time to time.

I like that idea.

Because it didn’t seem like Data to me to want to die quite this soon. Chronologically he’s only in his sixties, I believe. If he wanted to be human, to have all those experiences, then he had a few decades left on him. Just like Picard.

I don’t think data could ever be played by anyone other than Brent Spiner. It just wouldn’t feel right, and I think Patrick would agree. By creating Soji as Data’s ‘daughter’, we still have a part of him live on without having to replace him. I thought the end scene between Data and Picard was a really beautiful moment and a touching way to say goodbye to one of the most beloved Star Trek characters of all time.

They said nobody else could play Kirk and Spock. And they were correct.

What would even be the point of bringing back Data without Brent Spiner?

Because most people probably wouldn’t go for that. Look what happened with Solo. Most people still see Harrison Ford as Han Solo and it’s really hard to see others in that role currently, especially when the original actor is alive and kicking.

Now of course there are plenty of other actors playing iconic roles like the Kelvin cast but that was basically a reboot and it didn’t happen until 40 years after TOS.

We know one day there will probably be a TNG reboot of some sort. I don’t mean anytime soon, it could be decades into the future but if and when it happens that will be more accepting. I think most people aren’t ready to see these characters played by new actors, at least not yet.

Depends on the actor they would cast as the new Data, somebody who could capture that same qualities while putting their own spin on it. Look at how many actors have played Doctor Who and made it work. Same thing.

But of course much would also depend on the new Data being well written…

Uh, never mind.

Now you’ve got my brain going to all kinds of strange places. Such as Brent Spiner as the 14th Doctor. Or a Who/Trek mashup called Data Who. Spiner plays the first Data but instead of regeneration, the first Data’s companions have to seek out another Soong android to become the next incarnation.

The problem with Solo was that there is basically no other actor on this planet who has the charisma and screen presence of Harrison Ford and who could match him in that regard. I thought that Ehrenreich fella was a weak replacement for him. Maybe a more wider search for the role was needed.

Anthony Ingruber May have been a better solo. Studios have a tendency to avoid “impressions” but I think most fans of beloved characters like seeing familiarity. Even with pine, the best moments are those small moments when he adds a Shatner inflection.

Solo also suffered because it didn’t matter. Any film about the time period of the skywalker saga has to relate to the skywalker saga and inform the audience more. Rogue One did that. Solo didn’t. It was irrelevant.

To be honest I was disappointed myself that we didn’t get Data back but if Spiner doesn’t want to play the role any more I’d rather they didn’t recast. It’s a perfectly good idea and plausible too that Data could choose a new appearance. I just think that sometimes dead has to mean dead. There has to be consequence on these shows, if nobody can die you just end up turning it into a comic book. If they ever revive DS9 though I’d be open to them using the same logic to recast Odo.

I agree. I think ALL of us would’ve loved to see Data being revived. And of course I think the show did a good job of faking us out because I think most of us thought by the end of the season maybe we would some new form of Data.

But if Spiner just doesn’t want to play Data anymore we have to respect that. I imagine if he did then we would see Data alive now. Maybe even part of the new crew next season. But as you said, its nice to see real consequences once in awhile. The only franchise that’s harder to keep people dead outside of comic book movies is Star Trek lol. Characters die but its very very hard to keep them dead if they really want to bring an actor back. It’s why I’m happy prime Kirk has never been revived (at least not yet ;)) because it feels like a real death and not just for dramatic reasons. He’s really dead in the franchise.

And it looks like Data is now really gone too. We may see him again as a holodeck character, dream vision, etc but its fine to see a character just stay physically dead.

Yeah I’d be surprised if they don’t find an excuse put Spiner in make up at least once per season! I agree on Kirk as well even though I’d love to have seen Shatner reprise the role one more time. I always though an easy way of bringing him back without undermining Generations would have been to have started Star Trek 4 with Kirk infected with the rapid ageing virus from the ‘Deadly Years’.

Yep. You bring a dead character back too many times and it starts to undermine the dramatic impact of the death of a character. I really think a franchise can only really get away with it once. No more.

I just replied to you on the Culber article about the exact same point lol.

Nothing screams originality like having a character just do what he was doing thirty years ago.

Who said a new actor playing Data would do the same thing he did 30 years ago? There’s a whole galaxy of things he could be doing. Picard isn’t doing the same thing as 30 years ago so why would Data?

Why do so many folks here want to see Data suffer, and not understand that the well-intentioned simulation was a kind of trauma?

25 years in a constrained low quality Sim would have been living hell for Data. He’s long past wishing he could get out and rejoin the living.

I don’t think anyone thought data was suffering by any stretch of the word. It was just a program. One that never worked right to begin with. And it had no emotion program to emulate feelings on the matter. In fact, I would think it was probably turned off the bulk of the time since there has never been a reason to keep it active. Data being off has not been portrayed as any kind of trauma for him in the past.

That’s a terrific idea.

Well, the story was about Picard carrying around all this guilt about Data’s death. Learning Data is actually at peace with death and finally letting go of him is the culmination of that story.

Because Data is Brent, it just would not work with another actor and cheapen the memory of the character.
Why he killed him is quite selfish however.

Tom Hiddleston could make a great data.

But I never get the criticism. Was the sfx perfect? No. Did it need to be? No? It was Brent Spiner as data. And it was wonderful. It would not have been emotional if it were someone else.

To recast it would have had to be for a specific reason like using the character in another series. For example if They had a hiddleston as data being tested-introduced in Picard and then showing up in Disco season 3.

“We wanted to feather in the possibility of more and we knew we were letting Data go.”

Newsflash… Data “went” when he blew up the Scimitar and him with it. Once again, SH was trying to “fix” something that wasn’t broken. I my view they would be better off to stop trying to “fix” other people’s versions of Trek and start trying to “fix” their own.

Newsflash: just because you didn’t like it doesn’t make it any less valid. They retconned the end of a movie that is mostly disliked the fandom. Even if you enjoyed it, they felt such a retcon would be a good jumping off point for this show.

And whether you liked the result or not, it was strong concept. Even you said recently you’d rather they take a risk and swing and miss than take no risks and strike out looking, so to speak.

How was it a retcon? Data downloaded his engrams into B4 which was basically a hook to bring him back in some form in the future. They brought him back as a consciousness in a simulation. He even mentioned the other him dying to save Picard.

Rob, the memory download was indeed the door to use if they opted to make another feature. But there was no other feature and in Picard they made it crystal clear the memory download failed to work. The B-4 unit never functioned properly and it was dismantled. For some weird reason the flawed program that ran the B-4 was kept around. Maybe there was still hope that they could get it to work one day? But at this point, it did not.

My personal feelings towards either Nemesis or Picard don’t don’t enter into this. The fact remains that Data DID “go” already. He DID get blown to bits. Protons, neutrons and electrons are all that are left of him floating around the vastness of space.

Yes, I do appreciate a risk taken. But a bigger risk would have been to allow Picard to stay dead. Also, not every risk works. So while I can appreciate them taking a small risk here, I can also criticize them for the risk being a swing and a miss. Which the Data thing clearly was on Picard.

I didn’t like it either, as do most Trek fans. It was a cheap move.
NEWSFLASH!

Well he still stayed dead, this was just a more ‘proper’ way of saying goodbye for most fans and probably why this was the most popular part of the season. It’s crazy they wanted to do an entire episode around it. I think that would’ve been a bit too much.

I sort of got the impression that Riker and Troi were the most popular part of the season. The ending seemed pretty divisive to me.

Well many (including me) certainly had issues with the finale overall but I have not read anyone having a problem with the scene between Picard and Data itself. That seems to be the one scene everyone really liked. Look at this board, not one single person has said anything negative about it.

But I agree the Riker and Troi episode does seem like the highlight of the season but that entire episode revolved around them, they got real development AND they were actually alive lol.

Overall I liked the Picard finale quite a bit, but that copy-and-paste fleet was bad.

Fortunately, one of my Superpowers is the total inability to notice bad CG!

Sometimes I wish I’d have that superpower ;-)

The fleet was canon fodder

Good one Ninja 😉

Laziest, least imaginative sci-fi battle in…idk, possibly since TOS? These are the same visual artists that made space orchids, too…shameful. Also warp speed has been butchered — now ships warp in and out all at the same time, like they were hanging out together waiting for a big battle. Unless this is Starfleet’s new defense fleet to take on any Borg / Dominion like threat. Maybe the starships are even drones, just flying automated weapons platforms. Like, they make it seem like starships need crews, but if anything it would make it much simpler to create robotic ships that run themselves.

Yeah, what could go wrong with fleets of robotic ships that run themselves…

UMM boy what could go wrong with enormous fleets filled with sentient beings that have families and could easily die by the thousands?

It was SO lazy and just looked bad. How can you spend so much money on this show but the ONE time we are seeing Federation ships its done like an old 80s animated cartoon.

It’s crazy when you had shows like DS9 show MULTIPLE ships in countless episodes with a fraction of the budget, time and FX this show had.

Now that we know we are getting more starfleet next season I’m hoping something like that doesn’t happen again.

The one thing I had an issue with in DS9, the final scene of Voyager, Discovery and in the finale of Picard is they way they show the ships all within about 500m to 1000m of eachother when a fleet is traveling in formation. That seems to be pretty much implausible – even for science fiction! I may be mistaken, but I believe there is even in a TOS episode when a ship is supposedly thousands of km away, but the visual shows it almost on top of the Enterprise. I guess because I think it is ridiculous to see the ships so close together, I don’t care how bad the CGI or FX are – whether its a fleet of starships coming to Picard’s rescue OR a fleet of Klingon and Federation ships ready to fight the Dominion. (Although I must add, yes it would have been better to see at least 7-8 classes of ships in the Picard finale instead of the 2-3 that are depicted) Just a minor complaint.

I’m with you Tiger2 and DeanH.

Could someone make the all the EPs, the writers room and vfx team sit through The Hunt for Red October about a half a dozen times? They need to understand what suspense in 3D can feel like.

Definitely agree about the scale issue. Star Trek (and I guess most sci-fi) has always opted for what looks good on screen as opposed to a realistic depiction of distance and scale. Most battle scenes don’t really make sense if you think about it. That includes DS9. I mean why duke it out in close combat when you could pass through that battlefield at warp speed in a fraction of a second?
Just the size of space and the speed at which these ships are supposed to travel make most battle situations that you might see on Earth very unrealistic.

Yeah well I would think in the future they have navigation systems that can allow ships to travel in formation, really doesn’t sound that difficult….not very useful, though

I’m all for taking some of the season 2 budget to retcon that scene with different models.

I am too Kakairo!

Agreed, that pulled me out of the show for a bit, which was too bad. Even the show runners in an interview said they thought there were multiple classes as that’s what would make sense…there weren’t. Same with the Romulan fleet really.

There were several different types of ships. They just looked very similar but it was not all the same ship.

Some ships had slightly altered nacelles IIRC, but I think there was only one variety of those. I think several is a stretch.

‘Tea, Earl Grey, Hot to lubricate my bio-functions’.

Nothing a little hit on the bio-lube bong won’t fix up….

The part about the actors returning doesn’t include Michael Dorn or Gates McFadden. I don’t care about Worf, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Dr, Beverly again.

Episode 1:
Picard returns to the Chateau to find a livid Beverly waiting for him who chews him out on all the trouble he got in to the day after she left to attend a medical seminar on Andor.

That’s pretty stereotyped ‘Drew, and utterly inconsistent with Beverly’s character.

Did you miss a /s For sarcasm?

Funny. I have the exact opposite reaction. Would LOVE to see Worf again. I felt he was the only interesting character of the lot. And if we never saw Crusher again I would not complain.

AI Soong. I did not notice that before. Typical Soong name.

More exploration of Starfleet sounds good to me.

Now that AI = life is Starfleet going to end the practice of EMH slavery? Will starfleet share the golumn technology that all life forms can choose to enjoy unlimited life, the ability to engineer and upgrade themselves, etc? Will the Borg come for the technology that seems to be what they always wanted – the ability to engineer imagination and self improve without need for organics (is the Federation set to be an AI life form farm for the Borg)? Will they share the golumn technology with non Federation worlds (Klingons, etc)? Will it evolve into engineering super AI life forms that can breath in space, be holograms, network, etc? Will organics become luddites steered into the holodecks while stronger more intelligent AI Data type synths and EMH holograms become be-all do-everything crew members? Will they end the all too apparent hypocrisy on the Eugenics ban where engineering organic life was outlawed while engineering AI life was funded by high level Admiral’s like Picard? Lot’s of ethical dilemmas now that could make for an exciting show.

I agree Cmd Bremmon, Picard S1 highlighted but did not resolve a broad swath of ethical and civil rights issues for marginalized, victimized and exploited groups without resolving them.

Its nice that the pandemic has given them more time to make the season cohesive but man why would they run with a non cohesive story to begin with lol

That’s the $80 million question Gabriel.

I would really like to understand who and what is driving the decision to start production on a heavily serialized show before having all the scripts written.

Let’s hope that this unplanned ‘natural experiment’ brought about by COVID-19, proves to whomever that it’s worth it to lock down a season of scripts in advance.

I have to admit, hearing some of this is pretty exciting. I know, I know, I know, but I can’t help it. ;)

I do think most people want to see more of Starfleet, even if the show is still not ABOUT Starfleet so it makes sense to have them. And if we do see other characters from TNG, DS9 or VOY, I don’t want them to ALL be retired from Starfleet lol. It would be nice to see a few still there and having a major role in it….like a certain Klingon being captain aboard a certain Starfleet ship for example but a guy can dream! And I want to see more captain Riker. Now that both Frakes and Sirtis said they missed being on a ship maybe the characters might return to starfleet permanently. Not holding my breath but its possible.

Oh and we all know when Goldsman says we might see Spiner return as Soong, it means Spiner will be returning as Soong. ;)

Make sense though, he’s literally the only one who knows how to make synths and probably will help Picard guide him with his new body. And of course there is Soji too so we may see that relationship develop more between them.

Picard first season made a LOT of mistakes, tons frankly. But the potential is still there to deliver something great. I thought the story in first season was fine, just the execution was off mostly.

I think having the Picard/Data thing as a whole episode might have been a neat idea. Two class actors just acting together like a theater play. I’d watch it. Also has Levar Burton been officially confirmed? I thought he only said he was in talks with the producers and nothing was official yet?

It could’ve worked if they would’ve done things like show flashbacks of the characters together from TNG, bring in other characters Data was close to like Geordi and Troi (even if they are not REALLY there but some simulated form) then sure it could’ve been great. Fanboy it up!

But just Data and Picard talking in a room for an hour would feel excessive if there is no real conflict or story happening beyond that. They could do things like that in a 20+ episode season, but when you have ten episodes it would’ve really bit off a big part of the story too. And moreso since they couldn’t even properly wrap up the story in the time the time they did have.

As for Burton, nothing has been made official except Guinan AFAIK. But he does it make sound like it’s all but official at this point so we’ll see.

I’m still hoping to see the Doctor next season too but Picardo has been very quiet since he first brought it up so maybe that won’t happen now unfortunately.

Hopefully, they’ll improve on the lazy ‘copy and paste’ starship approach they took last season.

Picard is no longer Starfleet. Why do we need to further explore Starfleet, if that is no longer Picard’s life? Please tell me that the Starfleet calvary isn’t going to be riding to the rescue of civilian Jean Luc Picard from time to time?

Because the people writing this show have no idea what they are doing.

Love the show

Frail Picard has been transmogrified into a frail Picard android. I’m imagining John Cavil screaming at Ellen Tigh about why the ‘gods’ would have cursed him with the frailty of the humans when he could have been so much more. How is starfleet relevent to all this? I miss BSG.

The unending Soong family that are all identical as they are played by the same actor is tiresome. Have you ever seen a family that all looks exactly the same?

I also said this in another thread some days ago. All those Soong relatives who look the same is becoming ridiculous.

Hashtag Stockholm Syndrome. Hashtag Make It Stop.

I feel like “killing” Data was a mistake. They should have been able to transfer his consciousness into a new body (that could have looked like Brent Spiner as a “human”). I’m not really interested in the Soong character, as he is too much of a jerk, but Data having a human body and looking like a man in his 60s would have been fine with me. That would have felt like more of an evolution for the character for me.

Bring it on.

Data saved Picard and died in Nemesis. Two decades later, we see Data die one more time. Brent Spinner has been trying to kill Data for a long time. If he shows up again, will he die one more time? I love this character. So unfortunate Androids don’t gain weight and wrinkles in 2399!

Soong the younger isn’t Data.

No one could ever replace Brent Spiner as Data! Gene Roddenberry, the writing team at TNG and Brent Spiner created a joyous and truly beloved character that fans are still fascinated and entertained by to this day. All those nuances coming together are hard to create just once, let alone mimic, repeat or replace!

I am truly happy to read that Brent Spiner’s new character AI Soong will be in S2Picard. Give Mr Spiner good dialogue and let him paint onto this new canvas. I’m excited at the prospect of where this could go!

The fans miss Data… but the fans have also come to miss Brent Spiner performing. Very happy at reading today’s news of Brent Spiner’s return and continuation in Star Trek.

People said the same thing about Nimoy’s Spock, too.

This fan doesn’t miss him at all. The character was a contrivance thirty years ago, and is now. Time to move on.

That’s a bit harsh but essentially correct. Data was the new Spock. They wanted to distance themselves from TOS by separating them by 80 years but they gave us Kirk and Spock in Picard, Riker and Data. Sans the friendship bonds

Picard and cast saved my life from 1988 to 1994 as CIA agent illegally detained by Canadian authorities some entities in USA government federal institutions had no nexus information with Canadian authoities and i holed USA suthorities under FISA court responsible for these incursions

So they will show more boring “copy&paste” CGI-ships with the bridge of the “Discovery”? That was the laziest presentation of a fleet I have ever seen in Star Trek.

This ^ 100% this.

Less would have been much more

Just don’t make a second season, please. The first was stunningly awful.

Glad you’re not making decisions on this Bryant Burnette!

While I admit that the sum of the season was less than its better parts, there was a lot that was excellent in season 1 of Picard. Certainly, it’s head and shoulders above season 1 of TNG, which had 26 stand-alone episodes, few of which have stood the test of time, and some that just should never have been made, period.

Let’s wait until there are 26 episodes of Picard streamed and then assess.

They only pulled a chip out. So Data should be still in the chip. Still could be put in a new body

This has so many possibilities. Maybe they can put the chip in Twiki from Buck Rogers. And then maybe C3PO. Who needs actors when we have real robots?

No ones ever really gone.

After the dust has settled, unfortunately Picard seems to be the worst iteration of Star Trek there is, even worse than Discovery which is poor.
I don’t expect that to change enough and will stand a good change of making ST:SNW garbage too.
The people in control of Star Trek are destroying the franchise and even the memory of when it was good.

I couldn’t disagree more. I thought Picard was among the strongest first seasons of any Trek series. I have a few nitpicks, but overall, I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve been a fan for nearly 50 years, and I’m more excited about this era under Kurtzman & Co. than I ever was about the Berman/Braga era (and to be clear, I’m not a Berman/Braga hater).

I’m late to this party, but I have a fun idea for an inexpensive episode. It’s a flashback and reveals that Picard and Data really liked to perform the play “My Dinner With Andre” while they were still on the Enterprise. That’s it. We see them perform it.

Making it a flashback makes it expensive because it would have to take place at least before Nemesis when both actors were almost 20 years younger.

I am only joking but of course Picard and Alton could do the same.

Someone needs to tell the showrunners (on Picard and Discovery) that more doesn’t always = better. You don’t need to fill the screen with a million ships/asteroids/bits of debris/drones to make something memorable. Quite the opposite actually, because it just descends into silly OTT fanboy wet dreams.

I don’t necessarily disagree but someone should have told that to previous showrunners as well. The number of ships or other stuff on screen basically shot up the moment that advancements in VFX technology allowed them to put more on screen.
That’s not even restricted to Trek, it’s a common phenomenon in Sci-fi, and in some respect other genres as well. There has been a long trend of “We have to increase the stakes so everything has to be bigger!!”

I wish I cared. Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice…

See you in 2025.