One of the big surprises in the season two finale of Star Trek: Picard was the appearance of Wesley Crusher, with Will Wheaton returning to his Star Trek: The Next Generation character, now a full-fledged Traveler. It turns out Picard isn’t the only show that wanted to bring back Wesley.
The war for Wesley
Today Paramount released a “Wesley Crusher’s Return” video feature that was also included in The Ready Room. The video features executive producers Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman discussing the fact that after the idea of Wesley returning on Picard was brought up, it started a sort of Crusher conflict with at least one other series:
Akiva Goldsman: And then this really funny thing happened. For the first time so far in the Star Trek Universe, people went to war over a character.
Alex Kurtzman: The one thing that pretty much everybody wanted was to figure out a way to bring Wesley back to their own individual shows. So it was a little bit of a fight to bring him back.
Akiva Goldsman: [mocking conversation with other producer(s)] “We’re using Wesley.” And I was like, “But we want Wesley here, he’s a Next Gen character.” “Well, we’re already using him.” “Well, we can use him too.” “Well, no…” It’s like Wesley Crusher was the belle of the ball.
Alex Kurtzman: But obviously bringing him back to Picard was necessary because he had to return to where it came from.
UPDATE: Wheaton responds
On Tuesday Wil Wheaton posted a link to this article on his Facebook page with the following message:
I had no idea that the showrunners of the different Star Trek shows were fighting over who could write Wesley into their story.
This just feels like such a huge validation and such a huge win for Wesley, for me, and for all the other kids who were weird, unseen, awkward, or any of the other qualities we all had in common that made him important to us.
And as long as I have your attention: I feel seen and celebrated right now, in a way I never have before. I feel like it’s personal in a way that is brand new, that *belongs* to me, because it is a gift that was given to me.
I don’t know who all the people were, at every step of the way, who made Wesley’s return to Star Trek canon happen, but I am so grateful to all of them for making this happen.
And I’m so grateful to everyone who has celebrated me, and Wesley. It feels really good and it means a lot to me.
What is the other show?
It’s not stated what other show was “already using” Wesley Crusher, but it wouldn’t be Strange New Worlds, as Goldsman is the showrunner for that new series. Given that Wesley is now firmly established as a time and space spanning Traveler, he could show up on Discovery even in the 32nd-century setting; however, work on the upcoming fifth season hadn’t begun when these producer debates would have been happing.
That leaves the two animated Trek series as the most likely candidates. Just last month Wil Wheaton was talking about wanting to pitch Lower Decks showrunner Mike McMahan on an idea for Wesley, although it’s possible this was a fakeout—but it could also have been a genuine pitch. That leaves Prodigy as the other candidate for the show that was “already using him,” and there is nothing about the setting of that show in time or space that would preclude Wesley as a Traveler from showing up on the USS Protostar.
Regardless, unless his inclusion in Picard negated what was planned for this other show, it looks like we could be seeing more Wesley in the future.
Wheaton happy to come back as Traveler Wesley
The video explains the spark to bring Wesley back began with resolving a timeline issue with the character of Kore (Isa Briones), and it was executive producer Terry Matalas who had the solution:
When we started realizing that there was an opportunity for Kore to go somewhere, that she had to actually go somewhere for the timeline to be restored, [executive producer] Terry [Matalas] said, “What about Wesley?”
In the video, Wheaton expresses his thanks to the Picard writers for cementing the Traveler version of Wesley into canon:
I was so excited when I read the scene and saw the writers for Picard had taken the Wesley who’s existed in my head for all these decades and canonized him.
For his part, today Matalas turned to Twitter to express how thrilled he was to see it happen:
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) May 9, 2022
And here is the same video on YouTube.
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