Why did Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner initially turn down Star Trek: Picard?

Both actors reveal why they almost didn’t appear in season 1 of the CBS All Access series

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Star Trek: The Next Generation alums Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner have both revealed that they almost didn’t appear in season 1 of Star Trek: Picard.

During a GalaxyCon virtual Q&A last Saturday, Sirtis said that she had to say no when first offered to reprise her role as Deanna Trois in the CBS All Access series.

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“When I did hear about it, I actually had to turn it down because I was doing a play in London,” the actress revealed. “The dates clashed. But, the wonderful people over there at Picard basically fixed it so that we shot out of sequence. I shot my stuff with Jonathan [Frakes] in the middle of a different episode. Everything is streaming now, so they can do that kind of stuff. It’s not like when we were shooting on actual film and shot a month in advance before the show was on the air, it was a very different time. So, it worked out and I am very happy it worked out.”

Sirtis’ appearance in the freshman run of Picard happened in episode 7, in which Deanna, along with his husband William Riker (Jonathan Frakes), was reunited with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) after several years of not seeing each other.

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Spiner, meanwhile, didn’t want to play Data again. So when he found out that Picard’s freshman run would be about his android character, the actor pitched an idea of playing a brand-new role.

“I had no intention of being in the show, obviously,” said the actor during the same GalaxyCon virtual Q&A. “Patrick had said that the season will have to do with Data. So, I was trying to come up with stuff. I wanted to be on the show, but I didn’t want to play Data. I pitched an idea to Patrick about playing a different character. He took it back to the powers that be and they got back to him and said, ‘Well that is really interesting, but we don’t think we are going to go that way.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, no big deal.’”

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After that, Spiner had already accepted the fact that he wouldn’t be part of Picard. Producers of the shows, however, didn’t stop from convincing him to step back into the role of Data, and when he decided to meet with them, the actor had a change of heart.

“My manager got a phone call saying the guys who are putting the show together would like to meet. I said, ‘fine,’ and went down and had a meeting,” the actor recalled. “They were hugely impressive guys to meet. Alex [Kurtzman] and Akiva [Goldsman] and Michael Chabon, these are incredible writers. It is an incredible pedigree. Michael Chabon has won a Pulitzer.”

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In the end, Spiner appeared in three episodes of the first season of Picard. And in addition to playing Data, the actor also got to portray a new character named Alton Inigo Soong.

Though there’s no word yet on whether or not Sirtis and Spiner will return for season 2 of Picard, Stewart previously hinted that more characters from The Next Generation are coming to the series. Whoopi Goldberg is already confirmed to reprise her role as Guinan in the sophomore run. And though there’s no official announcement yet, LeVar Burton revealed in April that he’s in talks to reprise his role as Geordi La Forge.

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Season 2 of Picard has no release date yet, but it’s expected to arrive on CBS All Access sometime in 2021.

Source: TrekMovie