Star Trek: Why Didn't Data Get a New Body Like Picard?

Last week, the first season of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access came to an end. The finale episode gave Picard a new lease on life by providing him with an android "golem" body. At the same time, it said goodbye to Data, and this time it seems to be for good. With Data's consciousness stored the way it was, some fans have wondered if he could have been restored in the golem body the way Picard was. And if that's the case, why didn't Alton Soong and Bruce Maddox do that? Showrunner Michael Chabon cleared this issue up while responding to fan questions on Instagram. He says the golem was never intended for Data.

"No, transfer would not have been possible with Data, who was a simulated reconstruction, nor would he have wanted to be transferred if it were," Chabon writes. "The golem was something, as Soong suggests, that he and Maddox had been working on before Maddox's departure.'

He goes on to say that even if it was intended for that purpose, such a transfer would not have been possible for Data. "If he could've been put into a golem, he would've been. Soong's golem was not operational, and as he says, he had abandoned work on it until the seeming imminence of his own death renewed his interest in the technology," Chabon says. "What's more, that was a highly sophisticated reconstruction/simulation of Data's consciousness, as Data explains, not a fully accurate, literal transcription thereof."

In reflecting on Data's ultimate end, following his physical death in the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis, Spiner said in an interview that "I thought it was pretty great. It was an unbelievably beautifully written scene — Michael Chabon at his finest. Both Patrick and I were both like, 'This is fantastic,' and we were both really moved by it. It was just wonderfully written, and I think the intent was to soften the blow of Nemesis and give Data a gentler exit than he had in that film."

And as for any possibility of Data returning again, Spiner said, "I mean, there was just a finite amount of time that I can actually play Data, no matter what anyone says... I think we did it in such brief sequences that it was fine to do it, and I felt good about it. But I wouldn't really entertain the idea of doing it again because I just don't think it would be realistic. So it seemed right to me to give him this more gentle sendoff, and it seemed right to me in the context of the entire season of Picard and what Picard himself had been experiencing because of the loss of Data. I think it allows him to feel okay about it too. So it seemed like the right thing to do."


Star Trek: Picard will return for its second season on CBS All Access.