Data Has A Secret Full Name Star Trek TNG Fans Discovered

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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Data is a fan-favorite Star Trek character who is part of a proud franchise tradition. In short, he’s a one-name outsider offering a unique perspective on humanity, just like Spock, Odo, Phlox, and so on. However, a deleted scene from The Next Generation episode “The Child” had Data reveal his full name to the computer: NFN NMI Data.

Not Exactly A Catchy Name

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As you can tell, Data’s full name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. That’s because it is made up largely of acronyms. In this case, “NFN” means “no first name,” and “NMI” means “no middle initial.

For fans who have eagle eyes and presumably watch their TNG Blu-rays a lot, the existence of Data’s full name may not be as much of a surprise. In the seminal episode “Measure of a Man,” the android’s full name is clearly visible on both his Starfleet Academy diploma and his classified schematics.

Originally Not Visible

Of course, “clearly visible” is a relative term. When these episodes were first broadcast in standard definition in the ‘80s and ‘90s, audiences didn’t have much hope of clearly reading small text in an episode on our small CRT television sets. The Star Trek set designers actually leaned into this by hiding cute little messages (like the names of the different Doctor Who lead actors) on screens where only the actors in a scene would have been able to read them.

Hi-Def Changed Things

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However, all of that changed when Star Trek: The Next Generation came out on Blu-ray. Paramount poured an almost surprising amount of time, love, and cash into remastering this beloved Star Trek show. The final result is that episodes looked better than ever, and these are the eps you’ll see if you choose to stream the show on Paramount+.

Viewing a much sharper image on much larger televisions made it easy for fans to identify otherwise hidden details like Data’s full name. In some cases, this prompted Paramount to change some of the jokes that were previously hidden in plain sight. For example, the aforementioned names of Doctor Who actors in the TNG episode “The Neutral Zone” were eventually replaced by names of various TNG staff and cast members.

The Deleted Scene

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So, if Data’s full name was already revealed in “Measure Of a Man,” then what is significant about the episode “The Child?” Previously, his name was just one more hidden background detail, but in this episode, Data’s complete name is spoken out loud for the first time. Weirdly enough, though, we never would have heard that name spoken if not for one insanely dedicated fan.

Cyril “Patchou” Paciullo is a Canadian Star Trek collector who managed to obtain VHS workprint copies of “The Child” and other episodes. If you don’t already know, workprints often contain deleted scenes that were never aired. Eventually, Paciullo tried to give his workprint copies to Paramount in time for the Blu-ray release, but it was too late to remaster most of the missing scenes, including the one with Data using his full name.

More Acronym Trek Names?

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Fortunately, that scene and many others are available to view online. For Star Trek completists, it’s always when there is even more to discover about our favorite characters and episodes. However, we hate to break it to the android, but “NFN NMI Data” is simply never going to be as catchy as names like James T. Kirk or Jean-Luc Picard.

However, those two iconic captains could benefit from some acronyms in their own names. May I humbly suggest WTF LOL Kirk and OMG SMH Picard? 

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