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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old October 12 2011, 01:26 AM   #1
TroiFan4ever
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Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

When I learned that Brent Spiner co-wrote Star Trek: NEMESIS and saw the enemy ship blow up with Data still on it, it dawned on me that he came up with that himself because I read somewheres else that he felt he outgrown his Data role.

Then when trying to find the novel version of this movie, I happen to find the book about the movie in the making and then I stumbled upon the part where it talked about Data's destruction and then I learned that Spiner DID write that himself!

How come Brent Spiner wasn't interested in playing Data? Because he was older? In that case, I wonder why he went on to reprise his role in "These Are the Voyages..."? Well... it was just a voice-over role. My guess is probably that Spiner didn't feel like going through that makeup stuff.

If Spiner didn't want to play Data anymore, and that was supposed to be the final film, then I don't see the point in destroying Data?

Just a thought.
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Old October 12 2011, 01:38 AM   #2
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

The only problem is that Data isn't really dead. His identical brother, B-4, has all of his memories. I bet if Nemesis was a hit, 'Data' would have been back for another movie.

TATV doesn't really count since he wasn't on screen, and he probably spent all of about 20 seconds recording his lines.
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Old October 12 2011, 01:50 AM   #3
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Data's supposed to be an ageless android. Brent Spiner had reached the point where he could no longer pass as a character that wasn't aging. So he didn't think he could continue to play the role.

True, there had been a throwaway line in "Inheritance" about Data having a simulated aging program -- no doubt an attempt by that episode's writers to account for the changes in Spiner's appearance over the seven years of the show. But that line had evidently been forgotten by Insurrection, in which Data claimed his physical parameters were fixed and unchanging.

And really, the intent of the B-4 character was to show that he couldn't become Data, that he was too fundamentally limited. The hint at the end that he could perhaps recover Data's memories was a back door insisted on by the studio just in case, since they didn't want to completely close off the possibility of Data returning. Sure, if NEM had been a hit and Paramount had offered Spiner enough money, they could've lured him back. Heck, these days they could digitally de-age Spiner like they did with Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy. But Spiner's belief at the time was that he was getting too old to play a non-aging android, so that's why he wanted Data killed off.

Although I tend to think that maybe he lost interest in the character because the movies not only deprived him of growth, but actually reversed it. They gave him an emotion chip and a whole new lease on life in the first movie, but then retconned it in the second movie so that it could be conveniently turned off, then had Data not even "bring" his emotion chip in the third movie, then completely ignored it in the fourth. So it's no surprise if Spiner felt that his character's growth had come to an end. But that's just my own view.
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Old October 12 2011, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Kirby wrote: View Post
The only problem is that Data isn't really dead. His identical brother, B-4, has all of his memories.
He is dead. In the same way as if I copy everything from my laptop into another laptop and burn the original then my laptop is 'dead'.

Besides, anyone who saw the guy's neck and chin in Nemesis should know why Spiner needed to walk away.

Androids with middle-age spread are doing to favours to the realism of the franchise.
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Old October 12 2011, 10:48 AM   #5
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

^With today's CG wizardry, Spiner very much could be the ageless android indefinitely (budget permitting)
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Old October 12 2011, 10:51 AM   #6
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Kirby wrote: View Post
TATV doesn't really count {snip}
Yep. I thought so.

It looks so much better, with the sentence ended right there.
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Old October 12 2011, 11:21 AM   #7
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

I don't think Brent Spiner necessarily wanted out of Star Trek, as the Augment trilogy on Enterprise proved. Just didn't see anywhere left Data could go and would prefer to play other characters. Ones capable of broader stuff like sarcastic humour, behaving in a morally questionable way and so on. In TNG, they gave him a break with roles like Noonian Soong and Lore, to enable him to stretch everyonce in a while. Then they gave Data an emotion chip and Brent probably saw that as a way to evolve the character some of that gradually. Unfortunately films can't do gradually. That's TV isn't it? It turned out to be a dead-end onscreen because it moves too far away from what made him popular, overnight. When Data started understanding humour, showing anger and so on, it was always part of plot to shock the audience. Usually settling back down to normal after.

To close Data's story arc and grant Spiner's wish to move on and play a different character - they should've pulled a Bicentennial Man (plus something extra sci-fi element), involving him spending the remainder of his life as a middle-aged human. Data dies but lives on forever changed. Unlike in Nemesis, where he dies but lives on looking exactly the same, just an earlier prototype.

Anyone out there thinking about writing that great lost "Undiscovered Country" swansong for The Next Generation, can have that for free. Just make him human and have done with it. I always thought that was the obvious ending for Data. With no place left to go, give him what he thought was impossible... somehow and end it there.
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Old October 12 2011, 01:45 PM   #8
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

He was an android. There was no reason that his physical appearance should have remained constant. Lal went through several possible physicalities before settling on her final form, Data could have changed his appearance on a whim, replicated a new epidermal shell for himself.

Of course that would mean casting a new actor in the role. Well, it works for a certain British sci-fi show.
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Old October 12 2011, 02:16 PM   #9
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Sandoval wrote: View Post
Kirby wrote: View Post
The only problem is that Data isn't really dead. His identical brother, B-4, has all of his memories.
He is dead. In the same way as if I copy everything from my laptop into another laptop and burn the original then my laptop is 'dead'.
A better comparison is Lal from "The Offspring." Data downloaded all her memories into his neural net, but that doesn't mean she was still alive. Because it was only her memories, not her personality or consciousness.
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Old October 12 2011, 02:38 PM   #10
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Kirby wrote: View Post
The only problem is that Data isn't really dead. His identical brother, B-4, has all of his memories. I bet if Nemesis was a hit, 'Data' would have been back for another movie.

TATV doesn't really count since he wasn't on screen, and he probably spent all of about 20 seconds recording his lines.
The whole idea of B4 was done very stupidly. Hamhandedly written in, and it reduces the uniqueness of the achievement of Data and Lore.

Triplets? Groan
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Old October 12 2011, 03:19 PM   #11
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Irishman wrote: View Post
The whole idea of B4 was done very stupidly. Hamhandedly written in, and it reduces the uniqueness of the achievement of Data and Lore.
Huh? It was established back in "Inheritance" that Soong built several failed prototypes before Lore and Data. B-4 is simply one of those failures. The whole point of the character is that he wasn't an achievement on the same level as Data, that he was a crude, limited forerunner that didn't have the capacity Data did. And Lore was a failure too, because he was a psychopath. So Data remains a unique achievement.
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Old October 12 2011, 03:46 PM   #12
Sandoval
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Sandoval wrote: View Post
Kirby wrote: View Post
The only problem is that Data isn't really dead. His identical brother, B-4, has all of his memories.
He is dead. In the same way as if I copy everything from my laptop into another laptop and burn the original then my laptop is 'dead'.
A better comparison is Lal from "The Offspring." Data downloaded all her memories into his neural net, but that doesn't mean she was still alive. Because it was only her memories, not her personality or consciousness.
Nah, mine was a better comparison than that.
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Old October 12 2011, 03:46 PM   #13
The Laughing Vulcan
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Christopher wrote: View Post
Irishman wrote: View Post
The whole idea of B4 was done very stupidly. Hamhandedly written in, and it reduces the uniqueness of the achievement of Data and Lore.
Huh? It was established back in "Inheritance" that Soong built several failed prototypes before Lore and Data. B-4 is simply one of those failures. The whole point of the character is that he wasn't an achievement on the same level as Data, that he was a crude, limited forerunner that didn't have the capacity Data did. And Lore was a failure too, because he was a psychopath. So Data remains a unique achievement.
It might have worked as a stand alone story, but as part of the Trek universe it really did suck. We have the prior precedent of Lore being discovered, reassembled and wreaking havoc. We've had seemingly the Enterprise security compromised by foreign powers, The Enterprise-D was lost because no-one thought to check Geordi or his visor if they hadn't been subverted by the Klingons and Soren. Further precedence in this area showed that the Romulans can't be trusted when they Manchurian candidated Geordi (again) into a potential assassin.

So what do they do on the way to Romulus? They pick up and reassemble another Soong android. Goldfish memory spans come to mind.
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Old October 12 2011, 03:56 PM   #14
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

The Zombie Vulcan wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Irishman wrote: View Post
The whole idea of B4 was done very stupidly. Hamhandedly written in, and it reduces the uniqueness of the achievement of Data and Lore.
Huh? It was established back in "Inheritance" that Soong built several failed prototypes before Lore and Data. B-4 is simply one of those failures. The whole point of the character is that he wasn't an achievement on the same level as Data, that he was a crude, limited forerunner that didn't have the capacity Data did. And Lore was a failure too, because he was a psychopath. So Data remains a unique achievement.
It might have worked as a stand alone story, but as part of the Trek universe it really did suck. We have the prior precedent of Lore being discovered, reassembled and wreaking havoc. We've had seemingly the Enterprise security compromised by foreign powers, The Enterprise-D was lost because no-one thought to check Geordi or his visor if they hadn't been subverted by the Klingons and Soren. Further precedence in this area showed that the Romulans can't be trusted when they Manchurian candidated Geordi (again) into a potential assassin.

So what do they do on the way to Romulus? They pick up and reassemble another Soong android. Goldfish memory spans come to mind.

yeah, it would've been nice for there to be at least an acknowledgement of the crew's past experiences with Lore.
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Old October 12 2011, 05:52 PM   #15
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Re: Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

I agree, for Lore not to have had a more prominent role in the outcome of that film is a tragedy. So much wrong with the plotting and scripting of Nemesis, my computer is running out of storage space just thinking about it.
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