When recently asked by TrekMovie what it took for him to take on the role of Data once again, Brent Spiner was his typical dry self, making a joke about getting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” thrown at him, before explaining that it was just a matter of having frank discussions with Terry Matalas about what they were going to do with Data. Once the two worked things out, Spiner was fully willing to go back and join his friends on the Enterprise. He didn’t want to repeat himself, and Matalas’ plan gave Data a whole new dimension. Spiner explained:
“[…] it’s taking the character to a completely different place, really, than they’ve been before. [Gene] Roddenberry, when I met him, was describing the character of Data and what he wanted from Data was for Data to become more and more human. And at the end of the day, he’s as close as he can get and he still isn’t. And I think this further addressed it. He continues that journey of Data getting so close to being human that he still isn’t. He is still an android. He still has an artificial body. And he still has confusion about the human condition and what it means to be human. And that makes it, I think, even more human, because we all struggle with that.”
From the beginning, Data has always longed to be human. He was even tricked into being put meat into his android body by the Borg queen in “Star Trek: First Contact”, nearly abandoning his friends and crew for a little android action on the Borg. So the fact of him being human, or as close physically as possible through Dr. Soong’s cloning technology, is perfect.