In the Star Trek TNG series finale, "All Good Things", Data is clearly alive and well while Picard is an old man.

But Data is clearly destroyed in Star Trek: Nemesis, while Picard is still relatively young.

How is this possible?

Surely it's not "B4" that we're seeing in the All Good Things future timeline?

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    The best way to reconcile time travel in Star Trek is to not.
    – Xantec
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 2:52
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    The upside of having a lot of contradictions is that you can pick what you consider canon. NOT canon to me: bad movies (Nemesis), embarrassing episodes (Lizard Janeway and Paris), the Great Eugenics War of 1996, and so on.
    – jdm
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 14:28
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    spoilers... spoilers everywhere!
    – RedCaio
    Commented Dec 3, 2015 at 3:42
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    According to my head-cannon, data is alive in All Good Things in the future because there weren't any Star Trek movies after First Contact to contradict this fact. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:40
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    Timey-wimey wibbly-wobbly? Commented May 11, 2017 at 1:22

5 Answers 5


Just remember these lines at the end of "All Good Things" (from the transcript here):

CRUSHER: You know, I was thinking about what the Captain told us about the future. About how we all changed and drifted apart. Why would he want to tell us what's to come?

LAFORGE: Sure goes against everything we've heard about not polluting the time line, doesn't it.

DATA: I believe, however, this situation is unique. Since the anomaly did not occur, there have already been changes in the way this time line is unfolding. The future we experience will undoubtedly be different from the one the Captain encountered.

RIKER: Maybe that's why he told us. Knowing what happens in that future allows us to change things now, so that some things never happen.

(Worf and Riker look at each other)

WORF: Agreed.

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    Picard violated Temporal Prime Directive! Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 3:04
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    I should also add that the second answer at scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/33/… mentions that in the backstory to Star Trek Online, Data's memory was recovered and overrode B-4's program in 2385, and that the comic book Star Trek: Countdown (a tie-in to the 2009 movie by the movie's co-writer Roberto Orci) showing Data as Captain of the Enterprise-E in 2387.
    – Hypnosifl
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 4:55
  • I had quite similar question on how Troi could die in "future" line of this episode, if she was eventually married to Riker in one of theatricals of Star Trek? Your answer does answers my question as well! :>
    – trejder
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 7:52
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    @Hypnosifl that is strange. Data already had transfered his memory into B-4 during Nemesis. oO Also B-4 had showed signs of becoming Data just at the end of Nemesis.
    – Thomas
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 9:03
  • I suppose it's all good if Guinan never says otherwise.
    – J Doe
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 1:10

The events in All Good Things were the result of Q playing around with reality (or possibly just Picard) by moving things backwards, forwards, and sideways through time. The presence of Q and his usual shenanigans means that all bets are off as to what is real, what isn't real, what will be real, and what might become real.

The future events in All Good Things were just one possible future. Q chose or created that particular future to see if Picard could step outside of his limited human view of time and reality. Also keep in mind that the events shown during the Farpoint mission didn't happen in the past-as-we-know-it either.

Time travel is all wibbly wobbly timey wimey and doubly so when Q is involved.

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    Ehm, Quwee wuwee?
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 20:13
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    @MrLister: Or perhaps Qwibbly Qwobbly Quwee Qimey. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 20:30
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    Ooh, this would have been pure blasphemy, if there hadn't been an episode named "Q Who".
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 20:37
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    I loathe to upvote this answer as it implies that All Good Things... is one of those "all just a dream" episodes, however you're probably right, so +1!
    – komodosp
    Commented May 11, 2017 at 0:20

The simple answer (from the episode...sort of)

The Anti-Time Future was supposed to happen as it was how the original timeline played out. Picard altered events significantly when

he shared his experience of how the future was going to unfold with the crew. He caused them to make different life choices, which created new future for the prime timeline

So the Anti-Time Future DID happen. In parallels, we learn of the existence of a multi-verse with a new reality created every time a choice is made. The anti-time future was one such reality but Picard made sure they didn't live it. Similarly, Picard changed the future in Time Sqared ensuring the Enterprise was not destroyed.

A Purely Specualtive Answer

The Anti-Time Future was a construct created by Q. For years, Q had been plaguing the Enterprise and Picard. In many of these cases, he would whisk the crew or the captain away to some far off place that might not have existed outside of Q's own mind (the court room, the planet with the pig soldiers in Hide and Q and Sherwood Forest for example) and only rarely sent the crew somewhere "real". In Tapestry, Picard encounters Q at the moment of his death and is taught a valuable lesson but is left to try to figure out (a) Is Q God (b) was it an elaborate test/lesson set up by Q? (c) did God appear to him in the form of Q or (d) did he imagine the whole thing?

If we go with what we are given in the episode (All Good Things...), it seems Q is testing not humanity but Picard himself. That said, it's entirely possible that the Anti-Time Future was not a possible timeline but simply a construct in Q's cosmic sandbox designed to push Picard to the point of breaking or expanding.

Either way, if it never happened, there's no conflict with the events of the movies (Data's Death, the destruction of the Enterprise D, Worf leaving Starfleet etc.)


Data downloaded his memory when he realized he was going to die, with the intention that it was to be uploaded to his brother, B4. This would not have conflicted with DATA's ethical subroutines because in his last interaction with B4, DATA tells him that he is to remain deactivated indefinitely, essentially making him a spare body. DATA must have left behind instructions for his memory integration and his reasoning for B4's indefinite deactivation. You could argue (since, in the end of Nemesis, we see a reactivated B4 conversing with Picard) that Starfleet would have objected on ethical grounds, but B4's sentience could easily be argued, as his response to most any input was, "I do not understand". DATA nearly failed to establish himself as a life form in "The Measure of a Man". B4 would have absolutely failed had such a hearing taken place for him. Even if he would have succeeded, when faced with the reality of a Starfleet without DATA, they would have denied B4 and still gone through with the procedure.

The real question, as far as DATA is concerned; given that we weren't anywhere close to the first beings to develop WARP capability, how the hell is DATA the only one of his kind? Shouldn't there be android Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, Bajorans, Cardassians, etc. You'd think at the very least, the Ferengi would have a civilization of androids, since you wouldn't have to pay them for their work.

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    What does your answer have to do with the episode All Good Things...? Everything you've described in it happened after that episode and it is never clear that the body of Data in the future timeline is actually B4.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 22:45

In Star Trek Online: The Needs of the Many, La Forge explains how they brought Data back to life in B4 to fight the Undine (species 8472)

  • It is recommended that you give quotes to your response; this makes a better and more useful answer.
    – Voronwé
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 1:07

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