“I panicked… How am I going to play this?”: The Star Trek Character That Terrified Brent Spiner Was Neither Data Nor Lore, He Ended up Playing Him Anyway

The actor was reportedly saved by an industry legend who won nine Emmys for his work on Star Trek.

brent spiner, lore


  • Actor Brent Spiner played the role of the android Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • Apart from Data, he also played his evil twin Lore and their creator Dr. Noonien Soong.
  • Spiner mentioned that he was terrified of the role a day before filming as he was unsure how to play him.
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Actor Brent Spiner played the fan-favorite Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The actor played the android second-in-command of the USS Enterprise-D in the legendary show and also reprised his role in the new generation series Star Trek: Picard. Spiner, along with the original cast, went on to appear in four films based on TNG.


Spiner also played many of the alternate versions of Data in the show, including Sherlock Holmes in the classic ‘Elementary, My Dear Data’ episode. He also played his evil twin Lore and his creator Dr. Noonien Soong, which Spiner mentioned was his most terrifying role in the universe. He mentioned that he convinced the makers to play the role despite another actor being cast.

Brent Spiner Convinced Star Trek Makers To Let Him Play Data’s Creator Dr. Noonien Soong

Brent Spiner plays the android Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation
Brent Spiner as Data | Credits: Paramount Domestic Television

Actor Brent Spiner played the role of Data in all seven seasons of the Sir Patrick Stewart-led Star Trek: The Next Generation. One of the most beloved characters of the show, Data was the equivalent of Leonard Nimoy’s Spock from the original series and usually gave a robotic and outsider’s perspective on humanity’s weirdest responses to events.


Spiner also portrayed many other variations of Data in the show, including playing his evil twin Lore. The actor mentioned that playing Lore was his favorite as he felt that the character came close to what he felt usually, joking that he was ‘evil in real life’. However, the actor admitted that the most terrifying role to play was Data’s creator, Dr. Noonien Soong.

Brent Spiner also plays Lore in the Star Trek: Picard
A still from Star Trek: Picard | Credits: Secret Hideout/Weed Road Pictures/Escapist Fare/Roddenberry Entertainment/CBS Studios

While Spiner could have gotten out of playing the role as the makers had already cast legendary Chinese actor Keye Luke, who played Donald Cory in Star Trek, he reportedly convinced them that he should play the role. He said to SyFy,

I thought that would make so much sense — that I built these creatures in my own image and I’d be a god-like character.

Though Luke was already cast in the role, the Star Trek makers reportedly liked Spiner’s idea and let him be cast as Dr. Soong.


Bret Spiner Was Saved From A Last-Minute Panic By A Legend

Brent Spiner plays both Data and his creator Dr. Noonien Soong in Star Trek: The Next Generation
A still from Star Trek: The Next Generation | Credits: Paramount Domestic Television

Though Bret Spiner got himself a spectacular role as Dr. Noonien Soong, the creator of his character Data and his evil twin Lore, the actor was reportedly terrified of playing the role the day before filming. Spiner mentioned to SyFy that he panicked about not knowing how to play the role of the creator and was extremely confused and anxious.

However, he was reportedly saved by legendary make-up artist Michael Westmore, who wanted to test out the prosthetics a day before filming. Spiner said,

I panicked. I thought, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to play this?’ Because he was an old man, and I really didn’t know what I was going to do…almost the day before we were going to shoot, Michael Westmore — one of the great makeup artists of all time — had designed makeup for Dr. Soong, and he said, ‘Let me put it on you and make sure everything’s right before we shoot tomorrow.’ When he put it on me and I looked in the mirror, I knew exactly how to play the part. I owe him a lot, because I think we collaborated on that.

Michael Westmore is the Emmy-winning makeup artist who designed many of the alien races in Star Trek and has even won an Oscar for his work on the 1985 film Mask.


Star Trek: The Next Generation is available to stream on Paramount+.


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 1170

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 1,000 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.