In CBS All Access's new show, Star Trek: Picard, we pick up decades after The Next Generation left off, when a synthetic rebellion leads to the abolition of all androids. Despite the ban, two remain: the mysterious twins Dahj and Soji. These incredibly advanced androids, built by Dr. Maddox in the model established by Dr. Noonien Soong, can only be made in sets of two. There's an enticing precedent for this in TNG, and a bold fan theory suggests that this easily-missed morsel of past Trek lore may play a big part in Picard. Spoilers ahead for Picard episodes 1-3.
Just as the series premiere of Picard reminded us Data had a "daughter" who was likely the model for Dahj and Soji, Jean-Luc's favorite android had a doppelganger of his own: his elder "brother" Lore. He appeared in four episodes of TNG, and there's some compelling evidence to suspect he may reappear in Picard.
We first met Lore all the way back in Season 1 of TNG, when the crew of the Enterprise decided to visit Data's now-desolate home planet. They find a droid identical to Data, bring it back to the ship, and reassemble it there. When activated, he introduces himself to Data as Lore. He seems to be more realistically human than Data, speaking with a more natural cadence and using contractions, while Data cannot.
Turns out, he's also more evil than Data, and attempted (unsuccessfully) to impersonate him and destroy the Enterprise. Lore appeared again in Seasons 4 and 7 as an antagonist. These episodes further explored the brothers' backstories with flashbacks to their creator, Dr. Soong.
Within the realm of Picard, Data has appeared only in dream sequences as he sacrificed his life to save Picard in Nemesis. Jean-Luc assumes Dahj and Soji were created from a sample of Data, but Lore would be able to provide this as well, making the twins Data's de-facto nieces. This could explain Dahj and Soji's emotional capacity and more natural patterns of speech. But Lore may have an even bigger role to play in Picard's unfolding story.
Reddit user BioMagus proposes an interesting theory: remember that synthetic rebellion? Lore's an android with a nefarious streak, which makes him the most logical TNG character to spark precisely this kind of trouble. If this prediction is correct, it means Dr. Maddox must have somehow reactivated Lore, as we last saw him deactivated after collaborating with the Borg in a failed attempt to bring down the Federation.
From a meta point of view, this is certainly feasible. Data, Lore, and even their creator Dr. Soong were all played by Brent Spiner, so because of Data's cameo in episode 1, we can assume the actor is on board to take part in future episodes. We also know Picard is not afraid of bringing back rarely-shown characters from TNG: Dr. Maddox, the enigmatic scientist looming over the show, only featured in one TNG episode, Season 2's "The Measure of a Man." Data also mentioned corresponding with him in a couple of subsequent episodes.
It's beginning to look like there are no logical reasons for Lore not to appear. But when has he ever been logical?
Star Trek: Picard drops new episodes Thursdays on CBS All Access.