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I've seen a video about the original wardrobe and makeup for Brent Spiner in the character of Data. One of the pictures I have found is this:

original wardrobe and makeup test

You will note how, well, human Data looks in this picture - none of the white/grey make-up that was actually used in the series.

My question is what were the original plans for the character of Data? I'm looking for sources which provide details about Data's character and origins before the show aired if there were any differences between what the final character had as his background compared to what was originally thought.

  • I'm not sure I agree he looks more human. All I see is that his hair is a little different, his skin is slightly pinker, and he didn't grow his pointy sideburns yet. – ThePopMachine Aug 26 '15 at 1:00
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    @ThePopMachine compared to the very pale make-up the actual character had, he looks quite different to me! A father should know ;) – Often Right Aug 26 '15 at 1:12
  • @N_Soong Your Brent Spiner's father? LOl ok, your alias. – zer00ne Aug 26 '15 at 8:17
  • @zer00ne; I am Noonien Soong, making me Data's father! – Often Right Aug 26 '15 at 8:19
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    @zer00ne: A Bynar should have known better. – ThePopMachine Aug 26 '15 at 15:24
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According to the Star Trek TNG Bible, Data had quite a different background. He was still the second in command, but had a quite a different appearance:

[He] is an android so perfectly fabricated that only a skilled biologist would know he is not composed of normal flesh and blood.

Perhaps explaining his appearance in the picture above.

At the time of writing (23 March 1987), the 'Bible' indicated that the role of Data had yet to be cast. However, Dr Noonien Soong was not planned to be the original creator of Data! Instead, he was

manufactured by highly advanced (and never seen) aliens who intended him to serve as a repository of all the memories of a doomed Earth-Asian space colony.

Which fits in well with Dr Soong's Asian heritage and living on Omicron Theta for a time.

His abilities as an android, namely his computational abilities, appear to be the same as the final character; he is described as a "walking library". Although as Xantec points out in the below comment, his unfamiliarity with certain information (e.g. the phrase 'snoop' in Encounter at Farpoint) suggest his knowledge was a bit more limited. Now, this is pure conjecture, but possibly because if Data knew everything that was known by the Federation, it probably wouldn't help move the plot along.

The TNG Bible also describes how Data was found alone on the planet by Starfleet who were searching for the colonists etc. with a very similar story as we hear in the final version.

Data's lack of emotions aren't described in much detail though, although his enthusiasm to learn what it is like to become a human (note: not quite the same as to actually become a human or as close to it as he can) is similar.

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    Who would know better than Soong? – Jack B Nimble Aug 26 '15 at 1:51
  • I personally think that Bible must be blasphemous - to think that I wasn't included in the original plans. Hmph! – Often Right Aug 26 '15 at 2:37
  • Considering that Data didn't know the definition of the word 'snoop' in Encounter at Farpoint, his title of "walking library" is in serious doubt. – Xantec Sep 1 '15 at 21:53
  • @Xantec He's a walking library of things that are important. – lunchmeat317 Apr 7 '16 at 1:23
  • @lunchmeat317 and unimportant 😉 – Often Right Apr 7 '16 at 1:23

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