It’s looking more and more likely that we haven’t seen the end of Brent Spiner in Star Trek, with the latest hint coming from Star Trek: Picard star (and executive producer) Sir Patrick Stewart.
Brent Spiner’s potential role for Picard season two
On Saturday Patrick Stewart participated in Deadline Hollywood‘s “Contenders Television” streaming event targetted at Emmy voters. The panel focused on the first season of Star Trek: Picard, but when asked about what it was like to work with some of his Star Trek: The Next Generation co-stars, Sir Pat answered with a hint about season two:
It was a very desirable and a very emotional experience, to be reunited with Jonathan [Frakes], with Marina Sirtis. And with Brent [Spiner] too, although he doesn’t appear that often, he has a very significant role in season one, and maybe he might again in season two. But I can say no more than that. Sorry to be so coy.
Brent Spiner appeared in three episodes in season one, playing two characters. He reprised the role of Data and played another member of the Soong family, Dr. Altan Inigo Soong. It’s likely if Spiner returns, that it would be playing Soong again based on previous comments from Spiner and show producers. Last week executive producer Akiva Goldsman said the Soong character was introduced to “create a platform for which there could be more Brent in ensuing seasons.”
Even if Soong has a role to play in season two, it may not be completely focused on the story of Coppelius and the synths, which dominated the first season. In May Stewart said the second season is “not going to be covering the same ground” as season one, promising it includes “startling events.” We do know from previous comments from Stewart and producers that Jean-Luc Picard’s new status as a consciousness stored in an android body will be addressed in season two, and Altan Soong, who created the android “golem” which became the new Picard, would be a natural fit for that storyline.
Doubt was the key to Picard’s return
During the Deadline virtual panel Stewart also recalled the story of his reluctant return to the character of Jean-Luc Picard, saying he “did not want to simply reprise what had happened in The Next Generation.” The challenge he gave Alex Kurtzman and his team was to try to find a way into the character like was done for the 2017 film Logan, telling the CBS Star Trek team: “if you can find that transformation of the man and his spirit, then I am up for it.” The actor detailed how he saw the resulting character evolution:
His frustration, his sadness, his feeling of shame that he made some bad decisions, we saw none of this is the seven years and four feature films of the Next Generation. Rarely was he in any doubt at all about any of his judgments or the decisions that he had made. Now he is.
Stewart also recently participated in an actors roundtable with The Hollywood Reporter where he spoke more about his appreciation for the Picard writing team’s solution to his “Logan challenge”:
I was astonished. What they came up with was something that so fundamentally changed the nature of the character. Also, I had grown old differently in those 17 years, and I was interested to see how I could merge that into him.
Stewart’s collaboration with the writers made the director’s job easier
Hanelle M. Culpepper directed the first three episodes of Picard, and is being promoted by CBS has part of their Emmy campaign in hopes of landing her a nomination as well. Culpepper spoke to Variety about the show, and emphasized how Stewart working closely with the writers made her job easier:
Because he was so involved with the writers, a lot of the things that he felt about his character were already incorporated into the script. So for me, it was just about creating the safe space where he could do the things he wanted to do. He was still collaborative with me. But ultimately, it was nice to be in a situation where the actor and the writers are all on the same page for who this character is.
Stewart a longshot contender for an Emmy
Emmy voting begins on July 2nd. While Star Trek: Picard will likely garner nominations in some of the Creative Arts Emmy categories, nabbing an acting nod could prove more daunting. CBS has made Stewart the center of their FYC Emmy campaign, but the last time the Television Academy nominated an actor for his work in the franchise was Leonard Nimoy for the third season of Star Trek: The Original Series in 1969.
Stewart is getting some buzz, but he is certainly a longshot. Both Variety and IndieWire list him among the contenders for the Drama Best Actor nomination, which is an accomplishment itself in a world where there are so many critically-acclaimed television shows spread across broadcast, cable, premium cable, and streaming. As for Gold Derby, the site that tracks Hollywood awards odds, only one of their panel of experts (Tom O’Neill) predicts Stewart will get a nomination. The site put Stewart’s odds to win the trophy at 100/1.
Stewart has been nominated four times for an Emmy, but never for his work on Star Trek. His last nod came in 2010 for Hamlet.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Picard news, reviews, and analysis at TrekMovie.com.