According to this answer for who was a potential player for the role of Data, Brent Spiner was not originally considered for the role. I've checked on Memory Alpha, and there seems to be no information on either the "Data" page nor the "Brent Spiner" page for how he landed this role.

How did Brent Spiner get cast as Data? Did he crash the auditions like Robert Picardo? Or is there some other, more mundane story behind his casting in the role?

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    this interview indicates that he auditioned. Whether or not he was considered a frontrunner for the role, or how he won out is not discussed.
    – phantom42
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 15:24
  • 1
    While it was likely well after casting, you can see that they hadn't quite decided on the character in the test reel at io9.com/5974160/…
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 15:49

2 Answers 2


Rereading that answer and this interview with Spiner, it sounds like Spiner was just not one of the actors who were the suggested first choices by the creators/casting agency before they actually began auditions.

Brent Spiner, did however, go through what seems to have been a normal audition process.

Let’s go back to your TNG days. How quickly, or not, did you get a handle on Data and how to play him?

Spiner: I think fairly quickly because I realized pretty early on that there was really no precedent for it, that I could do pretty much anything I wanted and the audience would either accept it or they wouldn’t. But there was nobody to say, “Oh, that’s not what an android would do” or “That’s not how an android would behave,” because there weren’t any other androids at that point on weekly television. Even in the audition process, there was the question of, “Should we play this character like a machine, like a robot, or should we make him closer to being a person?” And we all agreed, finally, that it would be really tedious if I played him like a machine and a robot for seven years, if we went that long. So we decided to make him much more of a person who was growing in his humanity as time went on.

It sounds like despite the creator's initial choices, Spiner simply won the role with his audition.


Paramount Studios interoffice memo regarding actors to fill cast roles in ST:TNG.

At this point in the intial casting, Brent Spiner had not auditioned yet.

  • 6
    With Wesley Snipes as Geordi no Borg would enter the engine room unchallenged! Would have given the show a whole new taste!
    – Einer
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 9:30
  • Is there some sort of information as to when Spiner auditioned?
    – phantom42
    Commented Jun 3, 2014 at 12:48
  • 1
    Tim Russ seems to have had a very long association with Star Trek. I didn't know he auditioned for the role of Geordi, as well as appearing in Generations before his role as Tuvok in Voyager. Commented Aug 6, 2016 at 9:57
  • Yaphet Kotto! Kevin Peter Hall! Wesley Snipes! Wow, it's wild to imagine how the show would have turned out with those guys in the mix.
    – Neil B
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 11:03

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