PHXCC12 – Wheaton: ‘Rick Berman Hates Me’ + More From Star Trek: TNG Reunion Panel [PHOTOS & VIDEO]

Phoenix Comicon wrapped up on Sunday and one of the big events was a Star Trek: The Next Generation reunion with LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton. Check out the full report below with quotes, highlights, pictures and video of the entire panel.



Five members of the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew got together at Phoenix Comicon on Sunday and delighted the capacity crowd in the 5,000 main ballroom at the Phoenix Convention Center. LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Wil Wheaton spent much of the time joking around – making it clear that the famously raucous atmosphere of the TNG set still lives on in their chemistry today. Unfortunately Sir Patrick Stewart had to cancel his appearance at the event, but luckily Brent Spiner channeled Patrick every so often with his dead on impersonation.

Firstly, here are some quick answers to some group questions…

Favorite Guest Star

  • Wil and Marina: Billy Campbell ("The Outrageous Okuna")
  • LeVar: Mick Fleetwood ("Manhunt")
  • Brent Spiner: Saul Rubinek ("The Most Toys")
  • Michael Dorn: Jean Simmons ("The Drumhead")

Hardest episode/scene

  • Marina: being raped, twice ("Violations" and "Star Trek: Nemesis"
  • Brent: playing five characters on "Masks," following immediately after Data-focused episode "Thine Own Self"
  • Levar: When he had to be a "fluorescent veined lizard" in "Identity Crisis" and spending 21 hours in make up

The group also said some interesting and amusing things of note…here are some selected quotes…

LeVar asked if I was going to be in [Nemesis] and I said "no, there is no way they would put me in that movie…because Rick Berman hates me and there is no way I’m going to be in the movie." And LeVar said "I’m going to go talk to some people to see if you could be in the movie because you should be in the movie."
Wil Wheaton on how a chance meeting with LeVar Burton resulted in Burton getting him into Star Trek: Nemesis

I asked John Logan, the screenwriter "did Wesley Crusher come back to Starfleet after roaming around the galaxy in The Traveler’s windowless white van eating chloroform candy? Or was he at Starfleet Academy?" and John Logan said "I don’t have enough space in the script to address that, so you are just there and you are in a uniform." So the audience can just choose and ultimately it doesn’t really matter
Wil Wheaton on how Wesley ended up at Troi and Riker’s wedding in Star Trek: Nemesis after joining The Traveler to journey to other planes of existence ("Journey’s End")

He was really a dirty old man. Yep, he liked the ladies. Or maybe it was just me. No, he had an eye for the ladies, but that is all he had, just an eye, no hands. But he was a really a great guy, but we knew him as a person and not just the ‘Great Bird of the Galaxy.’ He was a really cool guy.
Marina Sirits on meeting Gene Roddenberry for first time

What I took away from that afternoon was how surprised I was as to how human he was. Because in my mind he was this great visionary who created something that I loved.
LeVar Burton on meeting Gene Roddenberry for first time

When I sat next to him on the bridge, Brent would go "hey hey" and I would look over to him and he would make these faces to me…and it killed me every single time, it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I would start cracking up and they would say "we’re rolling now" and Brent would zap into Data and I’m trying to get myself together and constantly getting into trouble and I’m like "it’s him!" and Brent has that child-like innocence.
Wil Wheaton on Brent Spiner getting him trouble on the set

We had a very strained relationship at first- a rocky start…after a couple of years, after you had your operation, we had a very heart-to-heart talk and it was great after that.
Michael Dorn on his early relationship with LeVar Burton

Mick Fleetwood who shaved a beard he had for thirty years to play essentially seafood on our show. He was a fish. He had one line, it was "food" and he couldn’t remember it. They actually brought a card in after take ten and it said "food."
Brent Spiner on guest star (and musician) Mick Fleetwood









Full PHXCC Star Trek Slideshow (including cosplayers):

More from Phoenix Comicon

Photos and text by Anthony Pascale, video by Nai Wang

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Glad to see everyone from TNG looks so…………..healthy!

Very cool !!!

I miss you, guys

That’s no NERD on the end.

That’s Wil Wheaton! [laughs]

Where is Garrett?

TNG: The Next Mission:

Data falls into a vat of bleach and the gang must save him.

It… could… work!

It could be a paradox time mission. Data falls in the vat of bleach after a time traveling accident and that’s why his skin is gold, but they were able to redye his hair!

Wondering what was involved in the ‘strained relationship’ of Burton and Dorn. Were they rivals? Just curious.

And Wil Wheaton is as hilarious as ever! His line about wandering around in the Traveler’s windowless white van eating chloroform candy was comedic gold…. ;-D

Sirtis’ line about Roddenberry’s (infamous) eye for the ladies definitely rings true to a lot of what I’ve heard/read about him (his alleged dalliances with Nichelle Nichols and others on the set). At one point (early in TNG’s development) he supposedly wanted Betazoid women to have four breasts. I think Roddenberry’s real talent was not so much as a writer (or even a storyteller), but rather as a producer. He knew how to get together the right people to get the right product he sought. In that capacity, he was genius, IMO…

Wow! I’ve read many negative things about Rick Berman, and some positive, but when you hear a cast member on the record say “Rick hates me”. That’s powerful. There are so many people with bad personal memories of encounters with Berman it makes me shudder to think how frightening it must have been to have someone with such power and vindictiveness to walk around the set with talent in the process of creating. Berman did write some good material but is also blamed for so much bland waste-of-time footage. It’s such a different environment with JJ Abrams and Trek is so much the better for it.

Brent Spiner is always so funny at these things. The panel must have been a riot. I love it.


Here I go again.

Berman probably was a d**k. But the show wasn’t “RICK BERMAN’S star trek”. It was TNG, Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise. These series were on the air for a total of 25 seasons and hundreds of episodes.

With all due respect to JJ Abrams, he has made 1 1/2 Star Trek movies (I say 1/2 because he isn’t through with the second one yet). Time has yet to tell the significance of his contribution. But let’s not overlook the fact that the “Berman era” of Trek was for the most part monstrously successful.

I don’t think Berman hated Wil.
It was Wheaton’s perception of their relationship before Nemesis filmed.
I read an acrticle where Wheaton wanted time away from TNG to film another project. It seemd that Berman wouldn’t let him go due to a Wesley centric ep. The Wesley centric ep never happened and he felt that Berman “owned him” and he left.
I think him and Berman “are cool” to quote Wheaton.
Its disturbing to think that Berman was difficult to deal with when it came to TNG supporting cast members.

It seems that Roddenberry was pure “hollywood” and a creative genius to boot

Rick Berman is a total douchebag. Everyone else though, from all accounts are really nice people. The fact that TNG and DS9 were successful has less to do with him and more to do with the people working “below” him.

If Berman dies under a bridge, or gets shot in the back, no one will be weeping. I won’t. And I’m sure many will celebrate, just like how many Iraqis celebrated Saddam Hussein’s execution.

Wow, RDR, did you just type that? Tad extreme, no?


While I don’t like Berman, there is no question that if he did die, a lot of fans would celebrate his death. While I wouldn’t pity Berman if he did get killed, I wouldn’t celebrate his death, either. But a lot of people would.

It may be extreme, but its also the truth.

They must all be on the same anti-aging medication.

@13 did you think before you wrote it?

Just for the record ,
I have been a Trek fan since it premiered when I was 5 years old .
And I wouldnt wish for ANYBODYS death .

This is how Berman treated Trek.

1: He nixed Shatners excellent The Return novel as a Star Trek movie (after telling Shatner he could write it with a view to filming as a movie).

2: He told Shatner several times he was not interested in his TOS crew stories anymore.

3: Nimoy was asked to direct Generations.When he told Berman the script needed more time Berman was rude & told Nimoy in no uncertain terms his input was not welcome!! This is pretty poor treatment to someone like Nimoy who has a long Star Trek history & wants to improve the material.

4: He told Wheaton they needed him to film a Wesley centric episode so he could not have time off for a movie. Then cancelled the Wesley centric episode but still would not let Wheaton have time off! That is the real reason why Wheaton left TNG.

5: Wesley Crusher Nemesis cameo Berman cut it down to a non talking part & zero screentime.

6: Berman decided against using Shatner in an Enterprise episode or TNG as he refused to pay the required salary (Berman earnt a huge amount of money on Trek i think I read somewhere he was on $10-15m a year & had a ten year contract which is why Paramount could not get rid of him until 2005 as they would have had to pay him regardless).

7: Berman considered any composer like Ron Jones who created movie quality episode scores to be going against what he wanted so Berman fired him (Ron Jones said he left as got fed up being told to tone his scores down to background noise only!).

8: Berman insisted in all his Treks to stick to the non conflict rules which meant endless boring drama with no conflict as Berman misunderstood what Gene Roddenberry meant when he said no conflict in future. How many fans nowadays consider the vast majority of Berman Trek to be anything more than medicore!

All Berman contributed to Trek was keeping it going after Roddenberry passed away but he also directly blocked many artists from contributing fully & the end results are why he is not fondly remembered by fans or most cast/crew either!

20 – Stop blaming Berman for everything. Your points are either meaningless or just plain misinformed. #8 was laid down by Roddenberry and one reason Berman (yes, Berman) helped create Deep Space Nine.
#7 is true except Jones’ contract wasn’t renewed (they worked episode to episode) so he was fired. He didn’t “leave”. #6 – Shatner’s salary demands were ridiculous. He once boasted for GENERATIONS he had them “over a barrel” when it came to salary. #5 – Seeing as fans for years have despised Wesley it’s funny to see you complain. #4 – Wheaton has said differently. Gene was still around BTW when he left. #3 – They had a November 1994 release date set by PARAMOUNT. #2 – Neither were audiences, TOS film attendance had dropped dramatically after THE VOYAGE HOME. #1 – You seriously think Shatner wrote that? The Reeves-Stevens did. Shatner for years said he never bothered to watch TNG yet somehow “wrote” a TNG-era novel. Bulls—.

Okay, I apologize for my remarks. The choice of words were uncalled for. I got riled up and shouldn’t have said what I said.

I’ll post my thoughts in much more civil manner next time.

Wil Wheaton, please come to the Las Vegas con in August. I’d love to meet you and get a picture and autograph!

One more TNG project!!! Please!!!!

I have to say I am pleased to see the group photo(s) above. They look like a happy bunch.

I just wish they all had better agents. I think we (the fans) would like to see more of them on any screen, big or small.

Love the comment by Wheaton about Spiner cracking him up before a take.

In fact, Wheaton and Spiner together on a Big Bang Theory episode would be huge.

“Hello, Mr. Lorre’s office . . . “

#11″Berman probably was a d**k. But the show wasn’t “RICK BERMAN’S star trek”. It was TNG, Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise. These series were on the air for a total of 25 seasons and hundreds of episodes.”

Too bad there wasn’t a lot more “quality” to go with all that quantity.

Wheaton and Spiner DID appear on Big Bang Theory together! Spiner is now Sheldon’s most hated Star Trek actor.

A great video. Loved every minute. At 17:30 Marina and Will give the most hilarious stories about Patrick Stewart! They are so funny! I love them and TNG!

23 Wheatons dislike of Creations owners and the way they handle business and his poor treatment of him when he used to do CONS for them, is well documented.He has talked about it on his website and in interviews.

You wont be seeing him at a creation sponsered con anytime soon!
just like you will never see Chris Pine doing a Creation Con ever for the way they disrespected his father Robert Pine from Chips at a creation event.

If they remade next gen now Justin Bieber would play Wesley Crusher.

27 – I’m an idiot then. Guessed I missed the Wheaton/Spiner BBT ep.

Thought I’d seen most of them, but sure enough:

I think Rick Berman was ok for some of Star Trek.

Star Trek Enterprise him and Brannon just killed with that last episode.

I think it was Brannon who did to much Time travel episodes that I got tired of it and then JJ Abrams Star Trek does time travel.

On a side note to the 2009 film I think Spock did not travel in time to his past in his timelime. In ended up in another parallel universe past.

Anyway I still think TNG and the other series are far much better than the new Trek with Abrams.


I guess it’s all subjective. I would say about 2 thirds of the episodes from TNG on were quality and 1third was not so much. Pretty much the same for TOS.

But to each his own.

Wow, would never have expected Micheal Dorn and levar Burton to not get along in the beginning.

How about thanking Mr. Berman for 18-years of some very good Star Trek. Enough with the bashing already!

Thank You Mr. Berman, I’m still watching your treks!

33 “On a side note to the 2009 film I think Spock did not travel in time to his past in his timelime. In ended up in another parallel universe past.”

That’s nothing new. That’s exactly what happened, as said in the movie and ever since. Instead of “hopping around the timeline” time travel, the Abrams universe goes by the more current multiple-universe hypotheses, so–like the characters say in the movie–it’s an alternate reality.

#26 – I agree about quality/quantity issue. I’ve been trying to rewatch TNG but it’s painfully boring and dated. I’ve enjoyed more DS9, VOY, and ENT (individually) than TNG, and that’s saying something.

But I recently rewatched TOS “That Which Survives,” and it was more fun than most TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT episodes. It’s still a terrible episode, with some of the most off-target Spock writing ever, but it’s still more enjoyable and more interesting than most of TNG or later spinoffs.

There’s a lot of Trek in those 18 years under Berman, but most of it is like tapioca pudding or Top Ramen noodles, or like the ‘food’ Crocodile Dundee joked about: You can eat it, but it tastes…it tastes bland. ;)

29 – That’s really too bad. It’s the fans that lose in a situation like that. :(

I can see the point about Creation events though.

“There’s a lot of Trek in those 18 years under Berman, but most of it is like tapioca pudding or Top Ramen noodles, or like the ‘food’ Crocodile Dundee joked about: You can eat it, but it tastes…it tastes bland. ;)”


The bulk of those series were the equivalent of a chain of holiday inns (and the interiors looked like them, down to the upholstered walls, safe pastels/neutrals, brassy sconces and bordered wall-to-wall carpet) — you knew what you were getting each time, each one was recognizable as part of the chain, each one was eerily familiar, and they never were spectacularly good or spectacularly terrible.

I can watch TOS and tell within a few seconds which episode it is — Voyager, while Janeway’s hair can determine whether it’s early, mid, or late-run, it takes quote a while to figure out exactly which episode I’m watching: tachyon beam, check; aliens in bad matching outfits, check; voyager nearly destroyed and sparks and steam flow out of unlikely places, check…

13. Not to resurrect this, but WTF?

I moan about the sameness of Trek, and yeah, he managed a brand — but who knows whether we’d have had Trek at all, on TV or in theatres, after about 1990 or so if Berman hadn’t been there.

The play-it-safe Berman years are done. The products are what they are. And I watched all of it. Even when it wasn’t great, it was (almost) always watchable, and familar. Sure, we can nitpick and have feelings about the results, but why make it personal?

Everyone looks like crap except for Troi.

NERD, I mean Wil looks pretty good….


Re: Jack — “The play-it-safe Berman years are done. The products are what they are. And I watched all of it. Even when it wasn’t great, it was (almost) always watchable, and familar. Sure, we can nitpick and have feelings about the results, but why make it personal?”


Wishing death does seem a tad extreme, hmmm?