In the final draft of the series bible for Star Trek: TNG from September 8, 1987, Lt. Cmdr. Data is described as

An android so perfectly fabricated (by unknown aliens)

We know that at latest by episode 1x13 "Datalore", that part of Data's background story was thrown overboard in favour of making him the creation of an eccentric, but rather well-known human.

Is it known at what point in or before the series this change was made?

I am wondering because it might provide hints to various other early details shown about Data, such as his apparent intoxiation with the Psi-2000 virus in 1x03 "The Naked Now", or his being described as "fully functional" in the same episode.

1 Answer 1


Memory Alpha's article on "Datalore" gives the dates of many states of its creation:


The first story outline was 22 july 1987, and the episode was filmed 28 October to 6 November 1987. And it is possible that some of the dialog was later changed and dubbed over what had been previously said. But I doubt that all the statements establishing that Data was built by the human Dr. Soong were dubbed over statements that Data was created by aliens.

So it seems 99.99 percent certain that the creation of data by Dr. Soong was decided on before filming started.

But Data was not created by Dr. Soong in the first outline on July 22, 1987, since the question notes that the final draft of the Series bible is dated September 8, 1987 (the 21st anniversary of the first TOS episode) and describes Data as having been created by aliens.

Thus the backstory should have been changed sometime between 8 September and 28 October 1987. Data's creation by Dr. Soong might have been decided on between the final draft on 19 October and the revised final draft on 26 October. But I think that such an important plot element was probably decided before the final draft was written.

I expect that Memory Alpha omits a number of story outlines and scrift drafts before the final draft, and one of them, or memos relating to one of them, might include the decision to make Data created by Dr. Soong instead of aliens.

  • 1
    Very interesting find! "it is possible that some of the dialog was later changed" - whether dubbed over or changed in a semi-finalized script, this might explain how the exchange that establishes Dr. Soong as Data's creator ended up in the weird way that it did. Data mentions Dr. Soong as if it were a well-known fact that Dr. Noonien Soong was his creator, but Riker, Yar, and the others obviously had no idea, judging by their surprised reaction. Instead, they start explaining who Dr. Soong is as if Data had never heard of him. Aug 1, 2022 at 17:42
  • Based on this I would guess Dr. Soong's existence is highly correlated with the switch to Lore instead of a female android. Especially in the draft where Minuet was an android that had infiltrated the crew. (As done by one of Harry Mudd's androids in the original series- which given season 1 of TNG was still using TOS era production people - they would have definitely realized that.) Aug 1, 2022 at 18:14

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