I wouldn't mind Picard dying; it would have been interesting to see what they would have done with Riker, and the other characters.
Would Riker have still taken command of the Titan as schedule, at the end of the movie? In terms of story ideas, place a brand new Captain on board the Enterprise, would have been like when they regenerate Doctor Who. Giving command to Data, well Data is a know quantity, a new Captain we could watch being built up from scratch. No?