Data was already a cool character
Data, played by Brent Spiner, was the android version of Mr. Spock on Star Trek: The Next Generation. There were few things that were beyond his capabilities except for human emotions and feelings which he did eventually achieve thanks to an emotion chip. And there were times aboard the Enterprise when he made being an android look really cool.
When the third season finale of TNG, The Best of Both Worlds, Part I, was filming, there was a scene when Data and Worf beamed over to the Borg ship to rescue Captain Picard. In the scene, a Borg came up behind Data, and he turned and used his phaser as a human would do, but another scene was shot that Brent Spiner preferred, one he thought would have been really cool to use.
The scene that could have upped Data’s coolness
In discussing The Best of Both Worlds with The Hollywood Reporter, Spiner spoke of how originally, a version of the above scene was filmed where Data didn’t turn around to shoot the Borg. He just put his phaser over his shoulder and shot it without even looking back.
"“We shot a version of it where the Borg was coming up behind me and I didn’t even turn around. I just put the phaser over my shoulder and shot it and blew it away. We thought that would be really cool if Data just sensed it and didn’t have to turn around.”"
Though everyone though the scene looked great, when it was sent to Rick Berman, it didn’t get the reception they were hoping for. In fact, Berman called it ridiculous. He said that Data couldn’t do that because he didn’t have eyes in the back of his head. So, of course, they went with Data turning around to shoot the phaser.
The original shot could have worked. As an android, it would be assumed that he had exceptional hearing. So it wouldn’t be ridiculous for him to hear a drone approaching from behind and simply shoot over his shoulder because his focus is on getting Captain Picard back to the Enterprise. Additionally, out of all of the incredible-yet-probably-unrealistic things we’ve seen actors do in movies, it’s doubtful viewers would have dissected Data’s shooting ability. We would have simply thought it looked cool.