The death of Data in Star Trek: Nemesis remains one of the most shocking moments in the Star Trek canon, but also one that was never fully explored onscreen. With no more Next Generation movies ever materializing, the tragic loss of the beloved android was instead explored in media from the franchises’ expanded universe. That is until Star Trek: Picard finally offered some closure to fans and characters alike.
However, the final end of Data left one problem: keeping Brent Spiner in the franchise! He returned to play Data in the first season of Star Trek: Picard, which picks up with Patrick Stewart’s title character years later. He’ll also be back in season 2, even though Data’s story seems well and truly resolved. Most fans assumed that Spiner would be playing Altan Inigo Soong, the son of Noonian Soong, the creator of the Soong-type androids such as Data. However, that appears to not be the case.
“I can tell you I’m not Data,” Spiner told Inverse. “I know they haven’t revealed much about me being in the show. I can tell you I’m a member of the Soong family. And, that I’m not playing a character I’ve ever played before.”
While Spiner may be evasive on exactly who he will be playing, it seems possible that he might be introducing a historical member of the Soong family. The new season of Picard involves he and his crew traveling back to the 21st century, which is possible thanks to the return of Q (John de Lancie).
Star Trek: Picard season 2 will get political
It looks like Picard and company will travel our own time, with the new season acting as a kind of companion piece to the Deep Space Nine episodes “Past Tense I” and “Past Tense II,” which are set in the 2020s. Those classic episodes have become eerily prophetic; they focus on the “sanctuary districts” created by the US government in response to social issues like increased poverty, homelessness, and discrimination.
The new season of Picard seems to be more socially conscious and offer some of the political commentary that the show has done such a good job with in the past, and this period is a perfect fit for that. “Past Tense” featured the Bell Riots, one of the most violent civil uprisings in American history, and showed the government’s response costing the lives of hundreds of Sanctuary District residents.
Meanwhile, Star Trek: Enterprise meanwhile introduced us to Arik Soong, a brilliant genetics doctor in the 22nd century who hoped to genetically engineer humans away in such a way that they wouldn’t be prone to tyranny from the likes of Khan Noonien Singh. In The Original Series, Singh’s rise was said to have taken place in the 1990s.
It seems possible that Picard will now go back further and maybe introduce Arik Soong’s father or grandfather. In the Star Trek universe, the fallout from the 1990s Eugenics wars and the issues of genetic manipulation and human genome enhancement eventually led to a Third World War in 2026.
In any case, the new series looks to be a treat for longtime Star Trek fans as it delves into the show’s history and lore. Season 2 of Star: Trek Picard will star Patrick Stewart, Alison Pill, Isa Briones, Evan Evagora, Michelle Hurd, Santiago Cabrera, Jeri Ryan, Orla Brady, John de Lancie, Annie Wersching, and Brent Spiner. The show will premiere in February 2022 on Paramount+, with the first season streaming now.