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This Is What Happened To Data From Star Trek

As Lt. Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Brent Spiner saved the ship on more than one occasion, provided comic relief, and allowed the show to explore ethical questions of personhood, sentience, and even slavery through his android character's very existence. In addition to his role as Data, Spiner also portrayed other characters on the show, such as Data's "brother" Lore and his "father," Dr. Soong. But what happened to Data after the series was over—and what has actor Brent Spiner been up to since?

Independence Day

In 1996, Spiner made an appearance in Roland Emmerich's smash science fiction hit Independence Day—although many fans may not have recognized him, because his character was so drastically different from Data. You can spot Spiner in the part of Dr. Brackish Okun, the unkempt and enthusiastic director of Area 51 who joins a surgical team during an autopsy on one of the aliens. Although Okun appears to meet a messy end, it was revealed that he survived; Spiner returned to reprise his role as Okun in the 2016 sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.

Data after TNG

Although The Next Generation ended its television run in 1994, that wasn't the end of Data's story. Spiner returned to the role in four Star Trek movies featuring the TNG cast, starting with Star Trek Generations (1994) and followed by Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).

Throughout the big-screen Trek franchise's TNG era, Spiner had a variety of opportunities to explore his character's arc further. In Generations, Data finally decides to install the emotion chip Dr. Soong created for him, with mixed results. In First Contact, he plays an integral role when he's captured by the queen of the Borg Collective, who attempts to turn him against the Federation. During Insurrection, Data becomes a central part of the plot when he "malfunctions" during an away mission—which leads Picard and the crew of the Enterprise to discover a shadowy plot. 

In Nemesis, Spiner played dual roles, appearing as B-4, an earlier Soong-type android, as well as Data, who works with the rest of the crew to stop a Reman leader determined to destroy the Romulan Empire and wipe out all life on Earth.

Return to Star Trek

Even though Data's storyline was wrapped up during the course of 2002's Star Trek: Nemesis, the franchise wasn't completely done with Spiner. While the door was left open for the character of Data to potentially return, Spiner felt he'd gotten too old to play the ageless android—but in 2004, he appeared on the prequel television series Star Trek: Enterprise in a three-episode arc as Arik Soong, a geneticist and ancestor of Data's creator, Dr. Noonien Soong.

In the episodes, Soong—a doctor of genetics with questionable ethics—steals and alters some genetically engineered embryos. In doing so, he creates the "Augments," who he regards as his children. Although he's imprisoned for his actions, Soong is later recruited by the Federation to help track down and stop his "children," who are running violently amok in the galaxy and attempting to start a human-Klingon war.

Fresh Hell

In 2011, Spiner co-created and starred in his own web series, Fresh Hell. The show, available on YouTube, depicts a fictionalized version of Spiner, who's trying to rebuild his career after an unspecified high-profile "incident" causes him to lose everything. The comedic take on Spiner's career shines in the writing, such as when a talk show host tells a guest, "We had a guest on yesterday whose face was literally ripped off by a pit bull. You know what she said to me? 'At least I'm not Brent Spiner.'" Spiner takes a neighbor under his wing, an erstwhile porn star who wants to become a real actress, and the two attempt to break back into Hollywood together. The episodes are short and funny, and fans who haven't seen it yet should definitely give Fresh Hell a watch.

The Master of Disguise

In 2002, Spiner appeared as bad guy Devlin Bowman in the Dana Carvey comedy The Master of Disguise. Bowman has just finished serving a two decade prison sentence, and he's determined to get his revenge on the man who put him in prison—who just happens to be the father of Carvey's character, Pistachio Disguisey. After Bowman kidnaps the elder Disguisey, it's up to Pistachio to follow in his father's footsteps and learn to be a "master of disguise" in order to save him.

Basically, the entire movie was a vehicle to showcase Dana Carvey's impressive mimicry skills, and it didn't work: The Master of Disguise was a critical flop that, according to the BBC's film critic, made other juvenile humor films like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo "look like the comic equivalents of Citizen Kane."


In 2005, Spiner starred along with Peter Dinklage and Carla Gugino in the CBS sci-fi series Threshold. The trio formed the core of a secret U.S. governmental think tank tasked with humanity's first extraterrestrial contact, with Spiner playing Dr. Nigel Fenway, a NASA microbiologist brought onto the top-secret "Red Team" in charge of researching and containing an incident on an American naval vessel where several crew members died horribly after encountering an unidentified flying object. What Fenway and the rest of the team discover about the aliens and their ability to manipulate DNA could possibly put the entire world at risk. Although it was canceled after only one season, Threshold is a must-watch for Brent Spiner fans.

Voice acting

Because Spiner has such a rich theater background, it probably shouldn't be surprising that he's done plenty of voiceover work over the years. He's skilled at doing impressions of other actors, and has been known to spoof his TNG co-star Patrick Stewart at sci-fi conventions. In the 1999 movie South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, he provided the voice of talk-show host Conan O'Brien, and he's also taken voice roles on several TV shows, including Generator Rex, Young Justice, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, The Simpsons, Star Wars Rebels, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and Justice League Action. If you're a fan of the video game Elite Dangerous, now you can get Spiner's voice in your spaceship; he provided a voice pack for Vega in 2016.


Since 2016, Spiner's biggest project has been the Cinemax horror series Outcast, in which he plays Sidney, a mysterious preacher involved in a tale of demonic possession and other supernatural happenings in a small West Virginia town. In an interview with the A.V. Club, Spiner compared Sidney to Data. "[Sidney] is the most difficult character to describe on the show," he argued. "But kind of like Data on Star Trek, I'm finding this character similar in the sense that we're sort of discovering him and building him as we go along. It's kind of like I'm figuring out the character at the same time the audience is."  

For fans who loved Spiner's work as Data, seeing him in such a dark role might be disturbing at first, but it showcases a menacing side of his acting—one we haven't really seen since Data's brother Lore was deactivated for good.