Why did Spiner write himself out of the franchise?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by TroiFan4ever, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. TroiFan4ever

    TroiFan4ever Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    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.
     
  2. Kirby

    Kirby Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  4. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  5. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    ^With today's CG wizardry, Spiner very much could be the ageless android indefinitely (budget permitting)
     
  6. ChristopherPike

    ChristopherPike Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yep. I thought so.

    It looks so much better, with the sentence ended right there. ;)
     
  7. ChristopherPike

    ChristopherPike Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  8. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nah, mine was a better comparison than that.
     
  13. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  14. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yeah, it would've been nice for there to be at least an acknowledgement of the crew's past experiences with Lore.
     
  15. 22 Stars

    22 Stars Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  16. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think marketing is to blame. This silly "the general audience won't get it" way of thinking prevents a character like Lore to appear. Because everyone is afraid the backstory of a guest character would alienate everyone. Which is why there's no mention of the Reunification process anywhere, or Sela, or Spock. Either that, or the writer was extremely lazy.

    Lore would have made for a much better story. Especially if it had been Lore who makes his sacrifice to save everyone else in the end.
     
  17. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think fear of making it less accessible to a general audience is the reason Lore wasn't mentioned.

    The Next Gen movies are FILLED with nods and references to the series, with Guinan appearing twice, Barclay appearing, the Duras sisters, references to the Dominion War, a Janeway cameo, etc.

    I think not bringing up Lore was just laziness.


    but the Nemesis plot wouldn't work with Lore, because the crew wouldn't have picked him up and reassembled him.
     
  18. Sandoval

    Sandoval Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Given the disaster that resulted the last time they reassembled one of Data's sisters I'm surprised they even bothered.

    And even if you to decide to reassemble it somewhere outside of a heavily-guarded stockade, don't leave the thing sitting unsupervised in a room in front of a laptop where he can access all manner of juicy Starfleet tidbits.

    Silly people.
     
  19. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Planets are HUGE. An film featuring Romulus need not involve Sela or Spock any more than a film set around Earth need feature Sisko's father or Admiral Paris. Namedroping them would have added nothing to the story, and thus been a waste of time.
     
  20. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    Spiner didn't want anyone to see Data as a fat, old robot as a result of natural aging by the actor.

    Of course, in a few years, a believable CGI Spiner would solve that problem anyway.