Star Trek: 10 Crazy Data Fan Theories That Were Actually Confirmed
The Star Trek franchise is renowned for its vast array of fascinating characters from all walks of life, whether they're within the Federation, exist outside it, or choose to ennoble it through service in Starfleet. Few have achieved the level of reverence and affection as Data, the android who desires only to be human. Though he couldn't feel the emotions of a human and doesn't always understand them, Data nevertheless was a valued addition to the Enterprise-D crew.
Since his first appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data has been a fun way for the writers to expose humanity through the perspective of the "other." Watching his character arc as he attempted to incorporate facets of human interactions was a highlight of the series. As Data's journey towards humanity progressed, fans began to theorize what it would look like and what steps would be taken for him to achieve his goal. Below are 10 crazy Data fan theories confirmed to be true.
10 DATA WOULD EVENTUALLY HAVE A RELATIONSHIP
His one romantic encounter with Chief of Security Tasha Yar in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation lead fans to believe that at some point, Data would have a more substantial relationship in the series. The possibility had been opened up, and the writers decided to pursue it several seasons later with him and Lieutenant D'Sora.
While the relationship isn't perfect, it allows Data to fully explore the parameters of intimacy with a partner. He creates a series of subroutines to express his tertiary romantic feelings, but because they are by their nature sterile protocols, devoid of human emotion, D'Sora can't accept his synthetic "love" and terminates their relationship.
9 HE WOULDN'T BE THE ONLY ANDROID
It was established early on in Star Trek: The Next Generation that Data was the only android in existence, making him a unique asset to Starfleet and a special member of the Enterprise-D crew. But fans postulated that eventually there would be others, and Data would soon know what it was like to be one of many.
This did eventually come true, and Data met several of his kind, created by Dr. Soong. One was Dr. Soong's wife, who wasn't aware of what she was, but allowed Soong to be comforted after the death of his real wife. Another was B-4, a simple unit without Data's powerful processing capabilities, and Lore, his evil twin brother with an overloaded emotion chip.
8 DATA CONFIRMED WHY PICARD APPEARED LIKE AN ENGLISHMAN
Captain Picard's first name is Jean-Luc, a French name. His family hails from France, where they own a large vineyard, which bears the Chateau Picard label. Many fans speculated that something must have happened on Earth to warrant Picard having French ties but appearing like an Englishman.
Fans sought in-universe explanations for Patrick Stewart being cast and Picard presenting like a proper Brit, and speculated that if anyone should know the answer to the matter of Captain Picard's affections, it would be Data. It was confirmed to a point in "Code of Honor," when Data explained that the French language was obscure on Earth now, but the people retained their rich heritage and customs.
7 DATA COULDN'T BE BORG BECAUSE HE WAS AN ANDROID
Many fans wondered how exactly the Borg Queen managed to corrupt Data in Star Trek: First Contact and turn him against the crew of the Enterprise.Like his evil twin brother Lore, the Borg Queen sought to manipulate Data's neural net, and convince him of the inferiority of organic species next to cyborg superiority.
The Queen viewed Data as a near-perfect being. As an android, he had the appearance of an organic life form, but beneath his synthetic skin was a mixture of mechanics and software that provided superior strength and computational ability. But Data couldn't be turned into a Borg because he was already an android, and managed to retain his individual thought.
6 DATA IS B-4
Longtime Data fans were saddened to learn of his destruction in Star Trek: Nemesis, when he valiantly gave his life so that Captain Picard could live and Shinzon's ship-turned-weapon-of-mass-destruction would be destroyed. As an android, Data had a better likelihood of surviving than a human.
One reasonable explanation is that he would survive by living his life through B-4, the elementary Soong-type android that the crew discovered earlier in the film. By downloading his memories to B-4's neural net, in time, there's no reason that a version of Data couldn't live on in other Star Trek series, such as Picard.
5 BUILD A MATE
Fans postulated that eventually the time would come where Data would be so lonely being the only android left in the universe that he would construct a mate. Much like Dr. Frankenstein, Data would make it similar to himself, perhaps even enhancing it in ways he wasn't augmented, to go through life by his side.
While this didn't come true exactly in the way fans theorized, he did build an android companion. In "Offspring," he returns from a conference given by noted cyberneticists and builds a daughter, Lal, without Captain Picard's permission. Data provides her with an emotion chip which unfortunately leads to her short-circuiting.
4 DATA WOULD BE ABLE TO TRANSMIT MESSAGES ACROSS TIME
In one notable episode, the crew of the Enterprise passes through a cloud of mysterious vapors. Everyone passes out, except for Data of course — because as an android he's automatically immune. When they awaken later on, Data explains that they passed through a Black Hole.
As the episode proceeds, it's clear that an entire day passed, with activities that only Data is aware of. He leaves clues to allow the crew of the Enterprise to arrive at a conclusion he's been ordered not to reveal by the Captain himself (in an alternate timeline). Fans had long surmised that an episode would feature the uniqueness of Data's composition in this way.
3 HE WOULD EVENTUALLY MALFUNCTION
Just like in any computer, viruses can wreak havoc on Data's delicate system. Just one can significantly damage his neural net, greatly limiting his ability to function. His systems can also overload with a power surge, which is similar to what happened when he activated his emotion chip in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Data, unaccustomed to what it felt like to suddenly feel emotions like any other member of the crew, didn't know how to control them. When he couldn't suppress them in situations when emotions were useless, he got into situations where they crippled him, such as when he cowered helplessly while Geordi got abducted by Borg.
2 HE WOULD EVENTUALLY BECOME HUMAN
Since Data first appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation, one of the main focal points of his character was his desire to be human. Like Mr. Spock, he represented a means to explore humanity through the perspective of the "other", but unlike Mr. Spock (who suppressed aspects of his humanity), Data only wished to better understand his.
Fans often theorized that eventually the completion of Data's character arc would involve him finally becoming human. This didn't exactly happen in the way they were expecting, but he got closer every episode, and the emotion chip he received from his creator went a long way towards that goal.
1 HE WOULD NEVER DIE
Unlike with humans, Data's "consciousness" can be stored. All of his memories can be retained to be transferred into a new body that can house them. This is what he did prior to his death in Star Trek: Nemesis, causing fans to think he would never truly die.
This is partially true, considering how Data is compiled, and because fans have caught glimpses of him in Picard. The series will explore Captain Picard's journey to boldly go where no one has gone before, twenty years after his time leading the Enterprise-D. It remains to be seen if it's the real Data, or something very different.