This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile Lore, one of the recurring antagonists from TNG.
Lore is an android constructed by Doctor Noonian Soong and is a predecessor or brother of sorts to Data, the android aboard Enterprise. Lore is functionally identical to Data in most ways, but Lore included advanced emotional programming that was left out of Data's positronic brain when he was later constructed. This emotional programming led to instability and malevolence when Lore decides that he is superior to humans like his creator Dr. Soong.
That superiority complex leads Lore to align with the Crystalline Entity to wipe out an entire planet of life forms, as well as attempting the same to the Enterprise. That wasn't the only nasty to be sent to the Enterprise by Lore, as he later trained a crew of Borg to become murderers and lured Data into a trap where his emotion chip instilled hatred and anger feelings that made him evil as well.
Of course, that difference between Data, who grew up without emotions and had a controlled emotion chip later, and Lore, who was programmed initially with emotions, is the heart of the conflict between the brothers. Lore even goes so far as to kill his creator Dr. Soong in rage for turning his attention to building Data rather than fixing him.
Lore was originally planned to be a female android and love interest for Data, but Brent Spiner suggested the evil twin role that Lore became. This allowed a good backstory to be built about Dr. Soong and the other androids he created, including B4 which was finally seen in TNG's final appearance in the movie Nemesis.
The character of Lore allows Star Trek to more thoroughly investigate the issues of sentience and emotions in artificial life, themes that have become much more prevalent in real life 25 years later. Despite the evil twin being a horrible trope of storytelling, Lore was well used to add depth to the main character of Data while also enhancing scientific and moral debates. In other words, Star Trek at its finest.
Our quote of the week is from Descent:
"The reign of biological life forms is coming to an end. You, Picard, and those like you... are obsolete!"
Actor: Brent Spiner played Lore, and he can recently be seen in Generator Rex and The Big Bang Theory. He also plays an eccentric in the movie Independence Day.