July 23 2024

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Wheaton Owes Crusher To Gerrold

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According to Wil Wheaton, his role of Wesley Crusher came courtesy of David Gerrold.

Wheaton had come to Gerrold’s notice in Stand By Me.

Wheaton shared his story while on Larry King Now promoting his forthcoming show The Wil Wheaton Project.

“There’s a great story that David Gerrold, who was one of the writers on Next Generation, who wrote the classic Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles, said to Gene Roddenberry, ‘I don’t think you should put a kid on this show; people don’t like kids on science fiction shows,'” said Wheaton. ”

But Roddenberry was adamant about having a young character on the show. “And Gene said, ‘I want to have a kid on the show so that younger audiences have a character to connect to, and I want family to be part of this new series.'”

Gerrold had a recommendation since Roddenberry was so determined on the matter. “And David Gerrold said, ‘If you’re going to put a kid on the show you better put a kid in that role that can handle it; I have just seen this kid Wil Wheaton in Stand By Me. He’s a big deal with the teeny-boppers and teen magazines, and I think you should come and read him for the part.’ David gave me the memo that he sent to Gene and Bob Justman, and I have it at home.”

Wheaton’s new project, The Wil Wheaton Project, airs on SyFy May 27 at 10 PM.

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10 thoughts on “Wheaton Owes Crusher To Gerrold

  1. Huh…that kinda goes with my theory that someone (i thought it was gene) saw Wil, and wrote Wesley as that 12 year old boy…unfortunately, by the time he came to TNG, he was already a teenager. What would have been perfect for 12 year old Wil seemed weird for a 15 year old (i..e “Justice”)

  2. In a nearby parallel universe, Corey Feldman is celebrating his 27th year of association with the Star Trek franchise.

  3. I’m not going to say I liked all the Westley episodes, but I was a big fan of the character when I was watching the show first run as a kid. In fact, in some ways the character is what helped get into the other characters as I could see myself in Westley. Clearly, Gene was spot on about this one!

  4. I liked one or two of the Wesley episodes, but as I was already well into my 30s when TNG came on the scene, the character annoyed me more than anything. As for Big Bang Theory, the Wil Wheaton vs. Sheldon storyline meant the show had surely jumped the shark. Seldom does any tv series hold up well after 2 or 3 seasons, so the writers get desperate.

  5. I think much like Jar Jar over at Star Wars, age plays a really big role on who the fans are here. Most of the fans I’ve talked with that were adults or fans of TOS when TNG first came on hated Westley. More of then fans I’ve found that liked or even loved Westley were kids like me when the show was on. While I know fans like to complain, the fact is both Lucas and Gene knew what they were doing with Jar Jar and Westley. These characters were never meant to pull the established adult fan base in, they were made to create new fans amongst the kids. Characters like Picard or Yoda are for the old fans.

  6. Could be, but I didn’t hate Wesley at first, just Wheaton’s goofy, toothy, gee-whiz acting got on my nerves after awhile. Even Will Robinson on Lost in Space was played by Bill Mumy with a lot more wisdom and maturity. Gene should’ve gone with Bob Justman’s concept of the character as a young female, named Leslie Crusher.

    This “old fan” is mostly interested in Troi. 🙂

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