Star Trek: The Next Generation star Brent Spiner returned to the Star Trek universe in the first season of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access. Now co-creator Akiva Goldsman is hinting that Spiner could return in the upcoming second season of the series. Spiner reprised his role as Data to have a poignant farewell conversation with Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart. But Spiner had a second, surprise role in the series as Dr. Altan Inigo Soong, the son of Data's creator, Dr. Noonien Soong. The character keeps the tradition of Spiner depicting every member of the Soong family, including Noonien and his ancestor, Arik Soong. Goldsman tels IndieWire that this new role leaves the door open for Spiner's return.
"I think you always want another Soong," Goldsman said. "I think that we wanted to feather in the possibility of more Brent, and we knew we were letting Data go. We all 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 future seasons."
While Spiner may yet return to the Star Trek universe as Soong, following Picard's first season finale, he is through playing Data. "It was an unbelievably beautifully written scene — [showrunner] Michael Chabon at his finest. Both Patrick and I were both like, 'This is fantastic,' and we were both really moved by it," Spiner said of Data and Picard's final conversation. "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... When he blew up in Nemesis, I never expected to get the backlash [the show got] from so many fans over that. I thought, 'Well, that's a great, big emotional ending, and he's sacrificing himself for his friends' and that was just. But it didn't seem to sit that well with too many people.
"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 season two is in pre-production. The first season is now streaming on CBS All Access.