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Star Trek: Picard's Brent Spiner Says FOMO Helped Keep Him On The Show

Brent Spiner knows very well what his most iconic role is and always will be the loyal and beloved android Data in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and its related media. But not all famous roles are ones that an actor wishes to revisit. There are myriad reasons. Sometimes, it's as simple as wanting a different challenge. Other times, it's everything else surrounding the part, including the other actors dusting off their own previous characters, and the atmosphere isn't always one you wish to revisit.

But in Spiner's case, revisiting Data was partly motivated by the prospect of being the odd man out. "Star Trek: Picard" has brought back several familiar faces, and not just from "TNG." That said, the returning members of Jean-Luc Picard's (Patrick Stewart) old crew are a real treat for "The Next Generation" fans. And for Brent Spiner.

"I didn't want to miss out on having fun with my friends," he told Decider. "I mean, I couldn't imagine all of them being there and me not." In other words, his return as Data in "Picard" Season 3 — or at least a version of him — was down to not missing out on working again alongside Worf (Michael Dorn), Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), Geordie LaForge (LeVar Burton) and all the rest. 

Spiner keeps saying goodbye to Data

Brent Spiner has indeed revived Data before now. In fact, Data is in the very first episode of "Picard," playing chess with his dear old friend right before Mars begins to self-destruct. At that time, Spiner thought that Season 1 would be his Data swan song. Or at least that's how the folks at Decider remembered it when they interviewed him, bringing up a previous TV Guide interview in which he said that scene was very likely his final goodbye to Data. 

Spiner was somewhat incredulous when told that, straight up asking, "Did I say that?" Indeed, the title of the TV Guide interview bluntly stated "why he'll never play Data again." In any event, he admitted to Decider that he ate his words. "You know, the point is, I've learned my lesson, never say never."

Though Spiner's character does return in "Picard" Season 3, it's a version of Data with an asterisk next to his name. Chalk it up to the versatility of a synthetic lifeform that can have its consciousness uploaded over and over. That's how he shows up in this season, with his own memories and emotions jockeying for influence alongside several others in an android clone of Altan Soong, played by, of course, Brent Spiner. In fact, Spiner has played several of the Soongs, as their research essentially allows for Data to exist, and is why he looks like all of them. In other words, there's been plenty of opportunities to make sure Spiner isn't missing out on working with his dear friends.