Iconic Star Trek Villain Almost Played By a Woman

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

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For better or for worse, Star Trek fans have grown accustomed to new androids popping up in the franchise bearing the face of Commander Data. Canonically, the explanation for this is that Dr. Noonien Soong made these androids in his own likeness, and the first example of such a doppelganger was Data’s evil brother Lore. It’s hard to imagine The Next Generation without him, but here’s a shocking fact: the character was originally going to be a female android ally, but it was Brent Spiner who suggested making Lore into an evil twin.


brent spiner lore

Before we can dive into how Brent Spiner changed (and arguably saved) this character, we need to review just who Lore is. He made his first appearance in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Datalore,” where he tries to sacrifice the Enterprise and her crew to the Crystalline Entity; later, in “Brothers,” he fatally attacks Dr. Soong and steals an emotion chip that was meant for Data. Finally, in the two-part episode “Descent,” Lore uses that chip to temporarily lure Data to the dark side, leaving Captain Picard to figure out how to stop this android duo and their small army of rogue Borg.

Brent Spiner didn’t play Lore again until the final season of Picard, but Star Trek fans remain fascinated that a character like Data would have an evil counterpart. To this day, it remains bizarre that the character didn’t get so much as a mention in Star Trek: Nemesis, a movie that both killed Data and introduced yet another android copy of him. Interestingly, if The Next Generation had gone with the original idea for this evil android, the character could have been ruined forever.

The Original Plan

brent spiner lore

As originally conceived, Lore wasn’t going to be an exact duplicate of Data. Instead, this would be a female character who was going to have a defined function to go into very dangerous situations and repair damaged systems and technology. On a narrative level, she was also going to serve as a love interest for Data, whose inability to experience emotions or fully understand human culture always put a dampening field on his love life.

Why The Plan Changed

brent spiner lore

How did we end up with a psychopathic android instead of a female playmate for Data? Simple: Brent Spiner, who was very invested in the role of Data, suggested making Lore into a sci-fi version of the “evil twin” trope that television audiences were quite familiar with. In retrospect, this was definitely the right choice, and TNG would have been a poorer show if we never had the threat of Lore.

The Offspring

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Even though The Next Generation writers agreed with Brent Spiner’s idea about Lore, they didn’t want to abandon the whole “female android” concept altogether. Eventually, this led to the heartbreaking episode “The Offspring” in which Data decides to follow in his creator’s footsteps and build himself a daughter. Unfortunately, she burns bright and then burns out, leaving audiences with bleary eyes and a solid reason why Data remained the only android we saw on a regular basis throughout TNG

More For Lore?

Certainly, Brent Spiner has had a complex relationship with Star Trek, going from happily killing off Data in Nemesis to returning (again and again) in so many different forms. With that in mind, we may not have seen the last of Lore, and it would be great to see him serve as a recurring villain for a future Trek show. Given that a Soong-type android has recently popped up in Discovery, there’s even a chance this positronic powerhouse could still be threatening Starfleet as late as the 32nd century.

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