Exclusive Interview: Wil Wheaton Talks Geeking Out At Phoenix Comic Con w/ TNG Co-stars + more

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. 

Hear Wheaton voice Blue Beetle on "Batman Brave and the Bold" this Friday on the Cartoon Network (click for more info and a clip)

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.

The con only costs $30 for a three day pass, and less for individual days. Photos with the stars are also available, see the site for schedule and prices.

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.

10,000 Trek posters given away this weekend at Phoenix Comic Con

More info at www.phoenixcomicon.com


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Yay Wil Wheaton…hey, at least its not political. Those posters are oldschool, I think I remember some of them from when I was like 5.

At least he’s still willing to make the convention appearances.
A lot of them aren’t now days.

Love the old Star Trek with the second pilot scenes from TOS and the Enterprise with massive rocket exhaust streaking from the shuttle bay.

great guy
very down 2 earth.
I think a lot of us were just plain jelous back in the day.
“Heres a kid same age as me steering the Enterprise, WTF!!”

good luck Will

#2 A lot of that is due to other work the other cast members do.

Directing / Producing / Writing / Stage / Albums / etc.

There’s not enough time in the day to do everything I’m sure.

They also have families on top of all this.

Good luck to Will!!!! I hope you get more voice acting.
I would love to see you on “Big Bang Theroy” You could do an “Intervention” on “On Line Gaming”…. That would be funny!

Sounds like it will be an interesting con. Maybe I’ll go.

Does Wil ever come on here and post?


will’s a good guy, many people regarded wesley’s character unfairly.

so i spent hundreds on ST posters in the 90s and now they are giving them away?!


Wil is a funny guy. I have been following his blog since… well since the internet was invented I think.

Funniest moment in the first season of TNG

“Shut up Wesley!” Picard
“Shut up Wesley?” Dr. Crusher

I was only 7, but still laughed my butt off.

I hope somebody from Cryptic Studios (the team making ST: Online) can get on the stick and somehow get WW involved in their game. You know, have Wesley as a storyline element somehow. They should make him a permanent fixture in the game like Warchief Thrall is for World of Warcraft. Or at least get Wheaton to do a TV commercial for STO like Ozzy and Shatner have done for WoW.

Shoot, they should certainly get Shatner to pimp STO on TV, am I right?

I always feel sorry for Wil Wheaton. Seems like a really good guy, who had the bad luck of playing one of the most annoying little b@stards in the history of television!

I still find almost anything involving Wesley in TNG puke-making and the character’s presence is part of what puts me off rewatching a lot of the early years of the show.

His only good stories were The Game (even though the ultimate motives behind the brainwashing device were never explained) and Journey’s End!

Had the TNG universe continued, it would’ve been interesting to see Wesley as an adult, but that’s the territory of the novels now!

I actually like what WW has to say.

He’s gotten so much abuse from fans these past years, and it sounds like he’s traumatized a bit by it. The ultimate decision to put him into TNG must have been made by his parents, especially after “Stand By Me” was a success.

I also think that TNG’s deletion of the Wes character as a “traveler” was weak. Wes Crusher should have been fast-tracked to Youngest Captain Ever.

Wheaton is still part and parcel of Star Trek, so he deserves respect and kudos.

I love this guy!
I read “Just A Geek” while I was working for Borders and I cannot reccommend it enough. A must read for any of us!

Will – If you read these, Hello from Portland, OR!! Coming back to Powells anythime soon?

I certainly have no issues with Wheaton, but his character on TNG was one of the things that annoyed me about the show.

I never thought much of the idea that families should be aboard the Enterprise-D. The very notion that exploration of the “final frontier” was deemed safe enough by that point to put children aboard took something out of the potential experience for me.

The Star Trek I grew up with depicted the “final frontier” as quite dangerous and outright life-threatening. TOS episodes often began with the discovery of another Starship whose entire crew had been killed by some awful affliction or anomaly, marooned on a dangerous planet, or met some other undesirable fate. The inherent danger in the mission of the Enterprise, under Captain Kirk, was part of the attraction to the series for me.

TNG never fully brought that element to the table (even when it tried), and Wesley was a part of that for me. His character was very much a part of the feeling I got that the Enterprise-D was more of a “luxury cruise ship” than a Starfleet frontier exploration vessel.

I am glad that he (Wheaton) has his life in order though. For a while, he seemed to be headed in a bad direction.

I use to have every Star Trek movie poster thru Star Trek VI. The movie theater owner would sell them to me after the movie closed. I gave them all away to my nephew who is a bigger fan than I was. Wish I had those posters now.

Anyone know why Wil doesn’t do the Vegas cons anymore? I’m going this year, kinda disappointed to hear that he won’t be there.

“I never thought much of the idea that families should be aboard the Enterprise-D. The very notion that exploration of the “final frontier” was deemed safe enough by that point to put children aboard took something out of the potential experience for me.”


I get they wanted to do 20 year missions and address the eventuality of humans exploring space in peaceful family vessels, but it was a bad idea. You are either making the Enterprise a sort of ocean liner (The Love Boat) or (if there really is a threat) you are exposing children to serious risk.

I don’t recall seeing kids on the Enterprise E.

Heard Wheaton’s reading about buying Star Wars figures the other night. Leaving TNG was the best thing that ever happened to him!

#18 , Because they bascially blew him off last year after Wil had been trying to find out for weeks weather or not he was invited . I attended the 2007 Vegas convention and met him . They put him in a small conference room by him self in the evening in a room that was standing room only . They even had his name spelled wrong on the name placard (Will instead of Wil)

But out of all my experinces there that weekend seeing him was the best , he read “Blue Light Specail” from Happeist Days Of Our Lives and then read his Geeks In Reveiw of Haven . Then he us some pictures of him and books (all personally signed by him btw) for some shiny gold rocks .

And he even gave us 5 minutes to slime him with adoration . He is ia very nice guy and quite down to earth .

*Drops Dark Side of The Moon hat in Tribute*

I wish you would come back to Vegas. It can be a Party.

Alive and well aye, Wil?

#13 – “(even though the ultimate motives behind the brainwashing device were never explained)”

It’s interesting you bring that up, because that was one of the things I liked best about the episode. In the end the macguffin really doesn’t matter, so it’s more intriguing to leave it up to the audience’s imagination every once in a while.

#21 – “They even had his name spelled wrong on the name placard (Will instead of Wil)”

Brent Spiner’s been joking on Twitter about selling the extra “L” in Wil’s name.

#19—“I don’t recall seeing kids on the Enterprise E.”

Nor do I, but then again, I have seen none of the TNG-era films more than once, and never with anything more than casual interest. If there were children aboard, I probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway.

Didn’t the TNG movie era overlap the Dominion War story arc in DS9? Perhaps Starfleet came to its senses when it became clear that the Federation was so overtly threatened.

In any case, the feeling of potential danger in the “frontier” atmosphere works much better for me without that element.

I don’t know Wil, so I can’t say whether he’s a good guy or not. He sounds OK in interviews, yeah. But, the Wesley character was just plain annoying. I’m not saying it was Wil’s fault, as I’m sure he acted it the way it was written…but Wesley was too annoying for words.

Wesley never got his due. Between being badly handled early on and then exiled as a Traveller, we never really saw what became of Wes (and how/why did he return for the Rikers’ wedding ?!?) .
However, the ep at the academy with Red Squadron was a truly fine episode.

#27 – That ep always stands out in my mind as one of the show’s most shining moments.

C’mon when considering Next Gen (in its limited scope) there are at least three good Wesley storylines offhand. The Red Squad was good and season one would have been worse without “Where No One Has Gone Before.” I thought that episode showed some promise for the series despite the directing and some wooden acting. Not Will’s fault.

Next Gen had the vision, IMO it just lacked the ability to really tie it all together into one overall storyline. B5 was better at that, and they struggled for years without firm budgets and broadcast guarantees.

Oh yeah, RPGs are great!
Everyone should try playing at least once.

Yeah, well listen here, Aqua Lad….

# 29 : “…Oh yeah, RPGs are great!
Everyone should try playing at least once.”

Ugh. RPG’s. I tried a couple and stopped after the first day. xP But that’s just me.

YEAH!! Go Will! :3 My dad says that Wesley Crusher was a brat on TNG, but I told ‘im off. x3 ILY Wes..! <3

(Yeah I think he’s cute. ;3)

I live in Arizona and would love to make it to the Phoenix Comic Con, but health and finances prevent it. Sure would love a TMP poster, though!

I don’t attend Cons. I went to two as a kid and they were both full of crazy, crazy people in Federation uniforms calling themselves Admiral this or that, or Klingons yelling at all the ‘miserable humans’, etc., etc. It was freakin’ traumatic.

BUT, since I live in AZ, maybe I’ll drop down to this one. I’m an adult, I can handle it now! :)

I don’t know about cons today, but in the early ’70s on the east coast…they were incredible! And incredibly normal as well. ;)

Just a thought… but why not cast Wil as the “Blue Beetle” on an episode of Smallville? He is one character they could easily put in the show for an episode or two.

I never had a problem with the Wesley character. The reason the character was in the show was to attract some younger people (there was no reason to assume TNG would automatically attract young people anyway).
I came to like the character more as time went on, especially toward the end of Will’s stay.

‘TrekMovie.com: You also are also one of the leading celebrity Twitter users”

…”User” is right. Those who don’t have the courtesy to follow those who follow them are just using Twitter as a self-hype and/or spam outlet, which is *not* what Twitter was intended for.

…”User” is right. Those who don’t have the courtesy to follow those who follow them are just using Twitter as a self-hype and/or spam outlet, which is *not* what Twitter was intended for.

Whoah, slow down there.

Everyone treats social networks differently. Me? Unless I want to read someone’s posts, I’m not going to friend them. It’s a matter of keeping my “friends list” manageable. If I’m following too many users, I’m not going to be able to keep track of any of them very well.

I have a tricky time as it is, and I’m only following two dozen people. I can’t imagine what it would be like to follow 20,000 users. There’s no way you’d be able to find the updates from the people you really do consider your friends.

In my view, mutual friending is only really an option for people who never read what their “friends” have to say. Those are the real “users,” to use your terminology.

It’s so funny hearing people respond to Wesley Crusher as being annoying.. In the past week or so I have just started realizing that people hated this character so much. Maybe it would seem so strange if i didn’t practically idolize him since before I can remember (like 2yrs old).. If WW actually reads this THANK YOU. I can say almost without a doubt that I would not be me if it wasn’t for your character. I also would not be on this site all the time if it weren’t for him. (And I’m a AD-Clicker, so trekmovie staff you should thank me too!…ha)

Will is a good actor. I loved him in “Stand By Me”. His character in Star Trek wasn’t the best. Saving the ship shouldn’t be child’s play. It should be about courage, knowledge AND experience – just like real life. Obama hasn’t asked Dakota Fanning to join his cabinet. Wesley shouldn’t have been on the bridge.

Once he became an adult, however that changed. My favorite Wesley episode was the one with the video game adiction. Very insiteful and, unfortunately, predictive. Kids can’t concentrate like they used to before all the electronics.

#39 – Blake powers:

Yeah, that’s similar to my own experience. I wasn’t online in the early days of TNG, and I was a kid in a small town. My friends and family liked the show and the character, and I really had no idea that other people didn’t until many years later.

Although I liked Wesley, I liked that he left the ship when he did; it felt right and natural. ALL the “Cadet Wesley” episodes were standouts, from Final Mission” to “Journey’s End.” although I didn’t care for the ending of the latter. It seemed inconsistent with the character for him to leave that way – I always assumed he would want to use whatever gifts he had in the service of humanity/the Federation/this Universe, even if he didn’t do it through a Starfleet career.

Also, it meant no more guest appearances! And, it didn’t seem to upset his mother as much as it should have, but she was always kind of a shoddy mother to begin with.

Forgot to add – My sister says she always assumed Picard was Wesley’s real father. Adds a whole other layer of meaning to those old episodes if you watch ’em through those goggles! ;-)

I agree with Om. If you’re not following those who are following you, you’re just using Twitter for spamming and self-promoting. That’s not what Twitter was created for.

31. Christine

I think you need to meet the right Dungeon Master.

; )