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Brent Spiner said he was originally named B9, but changed it to B4 because Lost in Space had a robot named B9. So to ask, does B4 have a significant meaning?

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  • "because he was the fourth made." Didn't you just answer your question?
    – amflare
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 20:50
  • B4 was the third made Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 23:04
  • Perhaps the "B" stands for "Brent". B-4 is the fourth member of the Soong family — after Data, Lore, and Noonien, in their various ages and appearances — to be played by Brent Spiner.
    – Gaultheria
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 3:11

1 Answer 1

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Per the Memory Alpha article on B-4:

According to the original Star Trek Nemesis script, the android B-4 ("before") was named "B-9" ("benign"). Also according to the script, the android was taken from its homeworld by the Pakleds and traded to the Bolians. He ultimately encountered some Cardassians, who tossed him into a garbage chute and out into space, where he was found by Talosians. It was also revealed that Shinzon had learned of the prototype android through a Cardassian historian. None of this, however, made it to the final version of the script. The novelization names him as "Be-Fore".

It seems "B-9" was originally chosen as a play on words for "benign", but was changed out for "B-4" to be a play on the word "before". This also fits his backstory as a less advanced android who came before his brothers Lore and Data. The article on Soong-type androids does make mention of three prototypes that predated Lore/Data (according to a quote from the TNG episode "Inheritance"), which means B-4 was among these (although we don't know the order).

But this doesn't address the out-of-universe reason for why it was changed. It's possible that is was for the one you mentioned (B9 already being from Lost in Space), but I've not found any references to it.

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  • 1
    I was just going to post this! Beaten by seconds. ;-)
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 20:43
  • @BCdotWEB I knew I had to be quick :P But what is listed on the wiki only gives what it was and what it became, not the reason why. I've yet to find anything that gives a reason, but if someone could, that would still be a more complete answer than what I have.
    – Mwr247
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 20:49
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    @DataTNGlover Yes, hence why he looks like Noonien as well.
    – Mwr247
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 1:52
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    "In universe" means what happens inside the fiction of the universe. "Out of universe" means things that happen in real life, in out universe. Are you saying that the writers were doing a play on words, or, was Dr. Noonian Soong doing the play on words?
    – Shane
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 2:57
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    @Shane "I told him Brent Spiner said he was originally named B9, but changed it to B4 because Lost in Space had a robot named B9." Referring to OP's claim that there was an out-of-universe need to change from B-9 to B-4. As far as the play on words, both actually. The writers intended it as such, and Picard notes Soong's penchant for whimsical names in Star Trek: Nemesis after encountering B-4.
    – Mwr247
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 7:40

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