This weekend writer, blogger, and just a geek, Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher on Next Generation) will be attending the Phoenix Comic Con (along with Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis, and others). In the first part of our exclusive interview, TrekMovie talks to Wil about what he has planned for the con, keeping up with this TNG co-stars, blogging, gaming, and more.
Interview: Wil Wheaton – Pt 1
TrekMovie.com: Firstly congratulation on beating Britney Spears [for the 2008 Weblog Awards Top Celebrity Blogger]
Wil Wheaton: I am keeping the whole thing in perspective.
TrekMovie.com: You also are also one of the leading celebrity Twitter users, with followers ranking you somewhere between Stephen Colbert and John Cleese.
Wil Wheaton: Wow, that is really good company that I don’t deserve to be in. I am totally not worthy of that company…wow.
TrekMovie.com: I have noticed that you have been tweeting with LeVar Burton, did you arrange to have that lunch?
Wil Wheaton: I owe him a phone call, but I had six writing deadlines converge along with a whole bunch of interview to support the episode of Batman The Brave and the Bold I am on.
TrekMovie.com: Besides twittering with LeVar [and Brent Spiner], do you keep up with your TNG co-stars.
Wil Wheaton: When they are in the news I get it because I read the science-fiction websites because I am a science-fiction fan and I find out what is going on in the same manner that other fans find out. I used to see them regularly at the big Star Trek convention in Vegas, but I don’t go to those anymore. But in an interesting way that makes me feel like ‘man I guess I should make more of an effort to hook up with my friends if we are not going to have this annual reunion where we all are going to see each other.’
TrekMovie.com: Well you and Brent [Spiner] and Marina [Sirtis] have a joint appearance the Phoenix Comic Con, any thoughts about what you will do for that?
Wil Wheaton: For the first time since the show ended, I am really looking forward to sharing the stage with all of my friends because I don’t feel like the black sheep anymore. I feel like I have accomplished things and I have lived a life I can be proud of since then. It is not like ‘hey look at you guys who did all this Star Trek stuff, and, oh right, and you.’ It is ‘hey cool, you did this cool thing and I did this cool thing and we are all adults and have kids.’ I feel differently about myself. I have better self esteem about the entire thing, than I ever did before. I wont have that ‘one of these things is not like the other’ that I had before so I am actually really looking forward — even more than sharing the stage with Brent and Marina — looking forward to what they have to say and finding out what they are up to. And hopefully making them laugh.
TrekMovie.com: Speaking of Trek reunions, I understand last year that you along with the entire TNG cast did voice work for an upcoming episode of Family Guy. What was that like and did you do your work solo or with any of your TNG co-stars?
Wil Wheaton: I didn’t work with anyone except [Family Guy exec producer] Seth MacFarlane, which was still awesome. I got to see the entire script and it is really funny. I am sort of poking fun at myself, the way the role is written. But working on the Star Trek episode of Family Guy, started a relationship with Seth and since then he has asked me to Cavalcade and another episode of Family Guy.
TrekMovie.com: I have noticed you are doing a lot of voice work now, like with the new Batman, so are you planning on become the next Mark Hamill, a famous genre guy who becomes the big voice guy…
Wil Wheaton: …who goes to make the one of the most memorable voices in the history of animation, playing one of everyone’s favorite characters [The Joker on Batman The Animated Series]. Gosh I would love to be able to do that.
TrekMovie.com: Do you see voice acting as a big part of your future?
Wil Wheaton: I do. Voice acting is very different than on-camera. There is a different set of skills and creative and technical challenges involved. There is an entirely different network of people involved. For the last few years I have done a lot of work for Warner Animation, in addition to Batman: The Brave and the Bold I was regular on Legion of Super-Heroes; I was doing Ben 10: Alien Force for Cartoon Network; I did Teen Titans. I have worked really really hard to earn a place in that world, with people like Yuri Lowenthal, who is also going to be in Phoenix, we are doing a panel together. I get to work with a lot of really talented people and have worked very hard to get the key to that room and I am not in any hurry to leave now that I am inside.
TrekMovie.com: That panel in Phoenix with Yuri is called ‘Geek Out,’ also with Aaron Douglas from BSG, what is that panel about?
Wil Wheaton: We are all just big geeks for a lot of the same things that people attending the convention are geeky about. We love games and comics and sci-fi that makes one a geek. When we all found out we thought it would be cool for the three of us to be on a panel and get our geek on. We will talk about working in the voice acting biz and what it is like to be geeks and work on shows that are popular with geeks, but mostly we are going to try and have a good time and hopefully be entertaining.
TrekMovie.com: What are you geeking out the most about these days?
Wil Wheaton: I have been deeply, deeply sucked into role playing games. I have always loved RPGs. Of all the things that makes me a geek, nothing brings me as much joy as gaming and with the release of Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition and getting to go up to Seattle and play a day of D&D with Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade Scott Kurtz from PVP, that was run by Chris Perkins from Wizards of the Coast — it put me directly emotionally in touch with twelve and thirteen year-old me who was so excited to go on a dungeon crawl and slay kobolds and cast magic missiles and stuff like that. I am so excited about Fourth Edition, I wrote a column about it — it makes D&D the way I remember it being when I was a kid. They put the fun back into the game and so I have been spending a lot of time rolling up characters and reading the source books.
TrekMovie.com: Do you play any of the MMOs?
Wil Wheaton: In the early 90s I lost my life to a MUD, which is an MMO with just text. If I could lose myself in a game that is just text, it frightens me to thing what would happen if I had graphics and all the additional things that are part of MMOs. I cannot play games that don’t have a defined end point. I can play "Fable 2" because it has an end point, but when it is over its over. But with something like "World of Warcraft," I have friends where that is all they do. I could easily fall in love with something like that, so I just stay away.
TrekMovie.com: You know they are making a Trek one [Star Trek Online]?
Wil Wheaton: I do, I am excited about that. That is going to really really test my resolve.
Tomorrow TrekMovie will post part 2 of our interview, where we talk about Wil’s plans for new books, and his thoughts on Next Generation and the new Star Trek movie.
Wheaton at Phoenix Comic Con 2008 – see him this weekend at PCC 09
Trek stars this weekend at Phoenix Comic Con + Trek poster giveaway
Wheaton is one of four Trek celebs attending the excellent fan-run Phoenix Comic Con this weekend January 23-25th, being held the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, AZ. On Saturday Wheaton will be on a panel about Star Trek The Next Generation, with his TNG co-stars Marina Sirtis and Brent Spiner. Also attending the con is DS9’s Chase Masterson who will be showing her film Yesterday Was a Lie. Will has two other Phoenix panels planned: the Friday ‘geek out’ panel with Lowenthal and Douglas (mentioned above), a Saturday solo panel discussing his blogs and projects (probably where he will do his TNG review). Wil will also be joining with others in the ‘Rock Band Blowout’ playing the popular video game ‘Rock Band’ on stage Friday night. The Trek guests and panels are just a fraction of the sci-fi and genre programming for the weekend.
There will also be a special Star Trek poster give-away at the con, sponsored by Rodenberry Productions. They are giving away 10,000 vintage Trek posters from the 80s and 90s.
More info at www.phoenixcomicon.com