Brent Spiner has been playing Lieutenant Commander Data since 1987, which means he’s starred as the character (on and off) for a whopping 33 years. Of course, for a lot of that, he was working on other projects, but he returned to reprise his role in the first season of Star Trek: Picard. Now, in the light of the events of the season finale (SPOILERS, obviously, at the link), the actor says he’s finished with his three-decade-plus tenure once and for all. Speaking to TV Guide, the actor revealed that he will not be reprising the role for future Star Trek projects.
Spoilers for Star Trek: Picard season 1 ahead.
“I mean, there was just a finite amount of time that I can actually play Data, no matter what anyone says. So many people were like, ‘Oh, you can do it. You’re not too old,’ and then I do it and they go, ‘You’re too old. Why’d you do it?'” Spiner said in the interview with TV Guide. “I think we did it in such brief sequences that it was fine to do it, and I felt good about it. But I wouldn’t really entertain the idea of doing it again because I just don’t think it would be realistic. So it seemed right to me to give him this more gentle sendoff, and it seemed right to me in the context of the entire season of Picard and what Picard himself had been experiencing because of the loss of Data. I think it allows him to feel okay about it too. So it seemed like the right thing to do.”
But this doesn’t mean the actor is finished with Star Trek—far from it. In Picard, Spiner also plays Dr. Altan Inigo Soong, a role he says he’d “absolutely” want to reprise for a second season. “I love working with all of the people on the show,” he told TV Guide. “The new cast is fantastic. Obviously, to still be working with Patrick is a dream. Now there’s a character that could conceivably go on and continue, so of course I’d love to.”
Check out the full interview over at TV Guide.