Star Trek: Digital De-Aging Tech Helped Convince Brent Spiner to Return as Data in Picard

Star Trek: Picard reunites Patrick Stewart with his Star Trek: The Next Generation co-star Brent Spiner. Stewart returns as Jean-Luc Picard while Spiner plays the android Data. Prior to this, Spiner had been skeptical of the idea of returning as Data. This was in part due to the fact that, as a human, he's aging at a faster rate than the android would be. To return to the role might push the boundaries of credibility. But he is back in Picard, and that's thanks to new technology like the de-aging tech employed most famously in Marvel and Star Wars movies.

"Obviously, I was reluctant to do it again because I'm a bit long in the tooth and I just didn't know if it could be believable, as far as believing an android," Spiner tells "But they were very convincing and, you know, CGI's gone a long way since the days when I was saying I was never going to do this again."

Spiner also told us about how surreal it was to sit cross from Stewart as their Next Generation again for the first time in more than 25 years. "Sitting across from Patrick, it was the first shot of the series," he says. "And we looked at each other and just sort of went, 'This is bizarre,' because I see Patrick all the time and I wasn't actually sitting across from Patrick, I was sitting across from Captain Picard, and he was looking at Data, and we hadn't done that in a long time. So it was kind of special."

Picard also brings back Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi, who explained that getting to work together with Stewart, Spiner, and Jonathan Frakes was the biggest draw of being a part of Picard. "I think both of us were excited to work with our friends again," she says, speaking for herself and Spiner, "because when people ask me, 'What is the thing you miss most about TNG?' it's these guys, working with these guys every day, seeing them every day, hanging out all day. I miss that. We were a good group."

Spiner says he sees some of that same potential in the new cast of Star Trek: Picard. "I think this new group is going to have a lot of the same kind of chemistry," he says. "They were really terrific to be around. They had a lot of fun and they all seem to really like each other, which I think is critical."


Star Trek: Picard premieres on CBS All Access on January 23rd.