Star Trek: Picard season three is bringing back the crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation, reuniting them for the first time since the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis. That film controversially killed off fan favourite character Data, which didn’t go down too well.
But episode six of Picard season three has brought back the character. Picard and most of the crew from TNG discover a brand new android containing the consciousness of not just Data, but Lore, B-4, and Data’s daughter Lal. After decades of Data being absent from the crew, he’s back.
This moment is most meaningful to Data’s closest friend Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), but being the camera it’s just as important. Variety spoke to both LeVar Burton and Brent Spiner about coming back to their roles, and their plans for the future.
When asked about what it was like for the pair to act their roles together after more than 20 years, both Spiner and Burton complemented each other.
“It felt very natural for me. We had such a history of of playing together, but primarily because we have so many years of being together since we last played the characters. Our affection for each other is no less than the characters have for each other. So it’s not particularly difficult to have that experience.” said Spiner.
Burton had a similar outlook.
“Brent Spiner’s hands down the best acting partner I’ve ever had in my life. There is an unspoken language that we have developed over time that comes quite naturally to us.
“Brent was my best man when I got married. We are a part of each other’s lives and will be for the whole of our lives. So the opportunity to come back together again and get paid for it? Come on!”
This excitement for Burton has built up since the first season. When he saw TNG actors returning and him not being invited, he had this to say.
“One of the things that I think in getting older and getting anything close to wise, is it is necessary to learn how to sit in the discomfort of life. When you are willing to do that, the reason for the discomfort will reveal itself.
In my case, I believe that discomfort of seeing my friends go off and play and I was on the sidelines — the payoff was being OK with that.
Because then, when the invitation came, it came with the whole band being put back together, and that’s the best scenario of all. I’m really grateful for that.
Patrick Stewart has already said that he’d like to continue in the role of Picard, even though this season has been dubbed the final season. Spiner seemed just as enthusiastic as Stewart.
“I, for one, would like to see one of these ten-episode movies every single year as long as they can do it.”
Burton wasn’t as sure.
“Look, this was an unexpected gift. I don’t want to begin to think about that possibility. Because it’s not wise, right? I’m trying to really enjoy this for what it is.
“There’s no expectation of anything happening beyond this, because this is the thing that I never thought would happen — and it’s happened.
“To expect or asked for or even contemplate anything more is just greedy.”