As we continue to countdown to the launch of Star Trek: Picard, we’ve got another interview from this weekend’s press tour event where our team got to sit down for a chat with many of the new stars — and returning favorites — ahead of the series debut.
We talked with Next Generation veterans Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) and Brent Spiner (Data) about being asked to come back to the Trek fold, the structure of the new show, and what it took to find their old characters’ looks once more.
Spiner and Sirtis during ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’
While the pair worked together on more than 180 hours of Next Generation episodes and films, their return for Picard is their first step into today’s modern Trek production — and we asked them how the franchise in 2020 compares to their time during the 1990s… in both funding, and storytelling.
BRENT SPINER: Well, God knows they’re spending a lot more money than we used to. I mean, really, the budgets are incredible. If we’d had these budgets [during ‘The Next Generation’] we’d still be on the air!
But I love what they’re doing with the show and how it’s going to look.
MARINA SIRTIS: No, no, no. Stop. I don’t know, because really the man who invented that high definition camera — and it was a man, because a woman would have never fucking invented it, excuse my French. May he rot in hell for all eternity!
SPINER: Right. But see, in my case: CGI… so I look fine!
SIRTIS: Yeah, it’s all right for you, Mr. Android, the rest of us look like something the cat dragged in… The thing that I was most thrilled about was that I didn’t have to wear a space suit!
SPINER: [Laughs] But you know, it’s hugely different, also – we’re not at the center of the show. I mean, I always thought that ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ was the story of Data, the android and search to become human. But we’re sort of like a ‘seasoning’ [in ‘Picard‘].
SIRTIS: I haven’t seen it, so I’m just talking off the top of my head now – but I think basically because the show’s called ‘Picard’ [makes exaggerated air quotes]…. Although Patrick [Stewart] was number one on the call sheet [for ‘The Next Generation’], I think we were a real ensemble cast. I think in ‘Picard,’ it’s like Patrick… and the rest.
SPINER: Well, now at the moment, it is. I think these are really talented actors and a great ensemble; I think they’re all going to become fan favorites and they’re all gonna get their shot. It’s always going to be called ‘Picard,’ so he’s going to be the fulcrum from which everything spins… but I think it will be everyone’s show, eventually.
The announcement of their involvement in the series, made last year after many months of fan speculation and public denial by the actors (due to the usual non-disclosure agreements required by Hollywood productions), was a welcome surprise — and to Spiner and Sirtis, being asked to come back for Picard was unexpected to them, as well.
SIRTIS: Yes! I was surprised to get the call, actually. Were you surprised?
SPINER: Yeah. We had had dinner with Patrick when he told us about the show –
SIRTIS: When he apologized for doing the show without us! He [bought us dinner] – I think he really felt bad that he was doing Picard and we weren’t part of it because we were an ensemble.
SPINER: I was surprised, but pleased – and convinced, by the pedigree of the people we were going to work with. Maybe it’s a good idea to come in and add a little spice to the show.
Data development: SDCC trailer (left) vs. January 2020 (color corrected)