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With Star Trek: Beyond coming out soon and a new Star Trek TV show due sometime next year, Trek fans have a lot to look forward to, and have, no doubt, been looking back at some of their favorite things about the various incarnations of the franchise. Now, one important player in the history of that franchise, Brent Spiner, has revealed that he's done with the character that made him famous. But, at least he's also told us why.
Brent Spiner spoke to Yahoo Movies while promoting Independence Day: Resurgence, and told the outlet in no uncertain terms that he'd balk at taking on the role of the Starfleet android again, even if asked. And, while it might sting for fans to think of there being no Data in the future of Star Trek, Spiner's not wrong. Even in the advanced technological age that the franchise takes place in, there's still no way for androids and other synthetic life forms to actually grow old, because, you know, we wouldn't really want them to. The whole point of making sort-of people is that they don't have the same weaknesses as real people, and aging to the point where you can no longer work (even though that takes much longer during the Star Trek era) can certainly be seen as one of those weaknesses.
Data was a large part of Star Trek: The Next Generation, which aired from 1987-1994, and the four Next Generation set of Star Trek movies that were released from 1994 through 2002. The artificial intelligence was created and built by Dr. Noonian Soong, who was also played by Brent Spiner. Data was self-aware, sentient, capable of quickly computing difficult equations, extremely ethical and, um...anatomically functional. The Lieutenant Commander was a Second Officer and Science Officer aboard the Enterprise, and spent a large part of his time trying to fully understand human emotions and become more human himself.
The character was considered a spiritual successor to Leonard Nimoy's Spock in that he provided an outsider's perspective on humanity. Data was so popular that Brent Spiner frequently received love letters to Data as his fan mail. The character has gotten several tributes in song, and was even inducted into Carnegie Mellon University's Robot Hall of Fame.
I'm sure that all of Data's female fans will be sad to hear that Brent Spiner doesn't think that it'll be a good idea to return to the role. Clearly, there is no Data without Spiner in the part, but, he did tell Yahoo Movies that he'd be willing to play Dr. Soong again at some point. So, while we're waiting to see if that happens in a future Star Trek project, we can catch Spiner in Independence Day: Resurgence this weekend.