Brent Spiner may be back in a big way in the second season of Star Trek: Picard. Though Spiner is through played his beloved android character Data, he played a second role in Picard, that of Dr. Altan Inigo Soong. Patrick Stewart, who is being pushed for Emmy Consideration, spoke on Deadline's Contender's Television panel about how it felt to reunite with his Star Trek: The Next Generation co-stars. "It was a very desirable and a very emotional experience, to be reunited with Jonathan [Frakes], with Marina Sirtis," Stewart said (via Trek Movie's transcription). "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."
This seems to suggest Spiner may be back as Soong in season two, something that series co-creator Akiva Goldsman hinted at in a recent interview. "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."
Spiner may yet return to the Star Trek universe as Soong, but not as 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.