Interview: Wil Wheaton On ‘Lower Decks’ Matching His Star Trek Fan Fiction, Playing Wesley Again, And More


The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation was honored with a special lifetime achievement award at the recent Saturn Awards, and Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher), who’s also a fixture of modern Star Trek as the host of the official Paramount+ Star Trek aftershow The Ready Room, was there with his cast mates. TrekMovie talked to him about reprising Wesley on Star Trek: Lower Decks last season, his hope to return to Trek, and recording The Ready Room for the final season of Star Trek: Discovery.

Last time we talked you were saying how much you wanted to get onto Lower Decks, so congratulations on getting animated.

Thank you. It was a really fun cameo. It was really silly.

I know you had your own pitch to [showrunner] Mike [McMahan], but what did you think about going back to Academy Wesley? Did you have to rethink to play that early Wesley?

No. The real fun in that was leaning into the humor of Lower Decks and leaning into the stylized kind of surrealism of seeing Wesley at the Academy for the first time in almost 30 years. And McMahan directed me and we just kept making him squeakier and making him sillier and making him nerdier—and just trying all these crazy, ridiculous things. We did so many silly things that I cannot even remember all of them, but it was such a fun day. It was really a fun moment to tie me and Next Gen and our episode “Lower Decks” that inspired [Star Trek: Lower Decks] all back together. The thing that I love about it the most in canon, is it had Wesley and Mariner at the Academy together, which means that Wesley and Mariner have some kind of friendship or at least knowledge of one another, which is going to end up backing up a lot of my fanfiction.

Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher with Shannon Fill as Sito Jaxa and Tawny Newsome as Beckett Mariner in Lower Decks “Old Friends, New Planets” (Paramount+)

There is still your “head-canon” of seeing Wesley as a “Time Lord.” Are you still hoping that Traveller Wesley could show up in Lower Decks or maybe reunite with some of your TNG costars in live-action?

I have learned that we should never say absolutely not and we should also never be really overly committed to making something happen. All of that said, anyone who knows anything about me knows how much Star Trek means to me. They know how much the actors, how much the franchise, how much the universe means to me. As much as I am really done being an actor and as much as I love being a writer and I love being a host and an audiobook narrator, Star Trek is the thing that I would absolutely show up to work for. Because it’s given me so much that it would be it a beautiful opportunity to be able to appreciate it and embrace it and love it with the knowledge that I really am part of this thing now and this is a way to return to it in a way that I think nobody ever would have expected.

Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Patrick Stewart, Marina Sirtis, and Wil Wheaton (Saturn Awards)

You are in it again now as you are already doing Ready Room for Discovery season 5. Are you done recording yet?

Yeah, we’re filming Ready Room for Discovery’s final season right now. We’re just about done. We were about halfway through. It’s a terrific season. I should not say anything else because I will inadvertently spoil something and I will inadvertently break an NDA and I will inadvertently get fined a million dollars.

But you’re liking season 5? Have you seen it all?

I have [seen it all] and I absolutely love it.

As for Prodigy season 2, there won’t be anything from The Ready Room because that is on Netflix now?

I don’t know. I’m not in the decision-making chain for that. I absolutely love Star Trek: Prodigy. It’s how I’m introducing my godson to Star Trek. So if we are able to do some Ready Room episodes for it, I’d actually quite like that because I will be able to bring the people that we get on the couch questions directly from a member of their audience.

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“I have learned that we should never say absolutely not and we should also never be really overly committed to making something happen.”

Good advice for fandom is general.

Sounds like my strategy for when my spouse comes up with something that I don’t think is that great of an idea. ;-)

I am picturing Wheaton showing up at the LDS offices and flaunting his trophy around in a sarcastically humorous way to try to get a reaction from the staff…”hey, have you guys ever won one of these?…Oh, wait…Well guess what? it’s Wesley Crusher 1, Lower Decks 0; who knew?”


You have some weird hang ups, man.

Yes, I admit it. :-)

HA! That’s the Big Bang version of Wil! :-P


It would be crunking amazeballs if he could do a collab with Elmo at some point.

That would be just perfect to have on an LDS episode — that’s the place to do it.

He was right about that whole thing, too.

But dude, it’s effing Curb Your Enthusiasm…the whole point of the show is the guy is a selfish dick, does stupid stuff, and insults everyone and everything — that’s part of the JOKE

PS: I would not be shocked if the real Larry David put Wheaton up to doing this…lol

It wasn’t Curb Your Enthusiasm. It was an Elmo bit on a morning talk show where this weird man child who can’t stay in his seat flipped out and strangled a muppet because he has main character syndrome. Elmo and Wil talk about mental health so people don’t bottle it up and turn into guys triggered by muppets.

It was antisocial behavior and it’s weird how so many people think it was some kayfabe incident.

OK, thanks for the heads up, I just watched it. It’s freaking hilarious and should not be taken seriously – but I guess that’s just me.

This whole country seems anally retentive these days.

Jokes aren’t always benign. I’m not losing sleep over it, but yes, it is a red flag when a 76 year old violently injects himself into a puppet show and walks off giggling to himself.

The puppeteer isn’t in on it. The “joke” is he has the power to humiliate and get away with it. It’s not funny. It’s just…. weird. Larry’s not a force of nature. He has agency. It was a sign of the Trump effect, where people just fall all over themselves to excuse antisocial/bullying behavior.

People dumped on Wil, but he has a point.

OK, I respect your opinion, but I don’t share it. It’s Borat-like humor, which I like and don’t take so seriously — but yes, a lot of people don’t like or accept that type of humor.

As Brian Connely said, it’s a puppet!

Thanks, man. I never would have figured that out! You’re really on top of things. Good catch!

As Brian Connely said, it’s a puppet!

Yes, somebody get’s how preposterous all of this is to get upset about.

Here is the thing my friend. Curb Your Enthusiasm is an HBO series that has TV ratings behind it and parental supervision. The Today Show is a morning talk show that lots of kids watch with their families before school.

I’m not saying Larry David is a bad person or was trying to be mean per se, but it was a bad idea to behave the way he does on how show when this is a vastly different audience and once that is not censored.

You guys are way overthinking this. Kids can take it, and besides, he apologizes to the silly puppet, so there’s your kid’s lesson about apologizing when you are wrong in attacking someone.

I haven’t seen the skit everyone is referencing here, but I gather that it involved Larry David doing something that his character on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM would do. To which I say…isn’t this method acting?

And if it involved crashing a puppet show on THE TODAY SHOW: c’mon. So what? The TODAY SHOW isn’t pitched towards kids, and any kids watching aren’t going to be scarred by Larry David acting in character on a puppet show. (Every read a fairy tale? They’re quite gruesome.)

This is helicoptering at its finest and a prime example of why the latest cohort is so riddled with anxiety.

I haven’t seen the skit everyone is referencing here, but I gather that it involved Larry David doing something that his character on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM would do. To which I say…isn’t this method acting?

Yeah, I mean comedians do that acting their part/doing their schtick all the time on talk shows they are invited to.

This is helicoptering at its finest and a prime example of why the latest cohort is so riddled with anxiety.

Yeah, I agree. And as a blue state sort of dude, I despise the word wo-ke when it’s used in the political context, but I think in this situation that word actually applies.

Also, it’s eerily weird how that dude went ‘nuclear war’ on me — and falsely blamed me for comments disparaging Wheaton another poster was making — when I asked him if he might be Wheaton ???

No he wasn’t right, he’s a little turd who shouldn’t watch something that he knows will upset him. He did and let everyone know in his ridiculous post. He should get a new therapist.

He got his attention — that’s what this is all about. Larry got his attention, Will got his attention, and they both probably now get a few more viewers for their shows…and he apologized to the silly puppet anyways.

No, he wasn’t right. He made an absolute tit of himself. How does he deal with seeing genuinely terrible things like the war causalities in Ukraine, Gaza and the many awful, inhuman things that do go on in the world. It was an utter embarrassment. He needs to get off social media and back into therapy.

“There’s war, so anitsocial behavior is ok”

You and your alt posted nearly the same thing. Wil is very open about his mental health issues, thanks for your concern. Larry really brought out the mean kids with this one.

Curb Your Enthusiasm is fiction. The point of the show is his he’s a jerk. Doesn’t mean Larry is wearing a fiction suit that gives him a pass to be a jerk anywhere and everywhere.

I don’t have an “alt”. Maybe people simply come to the same conclusion? In a world of truly terrible things happening, THAT is the hill he’s choosing to die on? His outburst was clearly the result of mental health issues. Rather than projecting them onto stupid (and yeah it was stupid) comedy skits, he should be dealing with them with a qualified professional and perhaps taking himself off social media which is clearly not good for his well-being.

I mean seriously. Should every single episode of The Simpsons across, what, 30 years be erased from existence because Homer chokes Bart in each and every single opening?

It’s all BS anyway — Larry David got his attention and Will got his attention, so they are both in the news and probably more people will watch their shows no.

You are correct though — getting upset about this little thing seems like massive overthinking — we got a lot more to worry about. Besides, the had him apologize to the stupid puppet anyway.

It wasn’t a planned Larry David skit. It’s not a scripted episode of Curb. Larry is a real man, not a fictional construct like Homer Simpson (and no, the choking of Bart hasn’t aged well at all) You don’t know the difference between reality and fiction. Smearing Wheaton isn’t changing that.

For 60 years or so people have known how to go along with muppets until Larry David came along. The puppet was talking about mental health and somehow it triggered Larry David, who decided, “no, screw mental health, the world bows down to toxic men like me. There are no safe spaces. I am the center of the universe. I make the rules, not you, deal with it.”

I get it. Toxic people like toxic outbursts. They don’t like people who suggest they try to deal with their emotional problems. They find it empowering when people who try to help people are taken down a notch. It’s not news to me. But I wish folks who liked David’s outburst would admit why they liked it.

Are you Will Wheaton? I’m serious? And “the new kid” sounds like a Wesley reference, but not too obvious.

I never expected the guy who thinks mocking the cast and crew of Lower Decks for their lack of awards is some great running gag we all care about to understand. See, I can be snide too.

Look, give a damn or don’t. That’s you. But personally I think wil talking openly about his child abuse deserves some empathy and the guy who can’t control himself around a child’s support puppet might have some issues. Clearly we have different views on what emotional strength is. I’m okay with that.

Wow, the fact that you completely ignored my question reinforces me thinking you may be him? If so, no worries — stick up for your views.

PS: Don’t confuse me with Muse – I did not trash Wheaton’s comments on mental health whatsoever

Nonsense post. Stop trolling me. You’re adding nothing to the conversation. My empathy for Wil clearly triggers your mean streak. Leave me alone.

There is no meanness in my posts and I have nothing against Will Wheaton. If you are him, I respect your opinions and reactions to comedian Larry David, even though I personally believe you are way overacting to this.

Fine, moving on…

Mods can feel free to lock this up. I’ve said my peace and my opposition has nothing but harassment tactics.

He deals with Gaza by standing by Israel

HAHAHAHA! Start Trek: Wheaton V David: Dawn of Nerdom mind explosions!

I’ve always liked Wesley. I thought he was better once they put an uniform on him. I disliked his final episode in TNG. I didn’t like him leaving Starfleet to become a traveller. He should have stayed around.

I dunno, I thought his journey to become a Traveler was a good one. Wesley was the child of two highly regarded Starfleet officers. The journey from “teen genius” to Starfleet officer just seemed to obvious. I like that they gave him a different path.

Commenting on my own comment because I just re-read it and I’m irritated I didn’t use “too” instead of “to.” If you watch “Where No One Has Gone Before,” “Remember Me,” “Final Mission,” “The First Duty,” “Journey’s End,” and “Farewell” in chronological order then Wesley’s journey … his destiny … makes sense.

I like Wil Wheaton a lot. He is a genuine person and Trek fan from what I can tell. But I HATED Wesley. The kid got away with everything. He was put on the bridge of the Enterprise ahead of actual officers who worked their whole lives to do the same. He was put in command of Officers who in all right highly out ranked him. Picard turned the Enterprise into an Academy training ship just for Wesley.

I know Wesley is a genius and the Traveler told Picard to nurture him. But IMHO that’s not why Picard did it, he did it over his guilt of Jack Crusher’s death. Wesley is the Star Trek version of nepotism.

Which is why many fans, myself included (and I’ll bet Wheaton too) really liked “The First Duty.” Wesley seriously needed to be taken down a peg, and that episode took him down more than one.

Yuppers. I liked that for once Wesley didn’t get away with absolutely everything

…just gave that one a rewatch the other night. Still enjoyable.

The writers didn’t do the character any favors in early season 1. The Shut Up Wesley bit and the part where he rolls his eyes about “adults” or whatever it was hurt the character.

They began to right the ship towards the end of season 1 but by then the character had already lost a sizable portion of the audiance. Coming of Age had some nice Wesley moments.

Yep that’s for sure

In all fairness though, most of the characters in the first season went through a learning-growth phase before they became better versions of themselves. Wesley had issues of course, but as the series went on the writers better figured out what to do with him. I like that his character was sometimes annoying, he was a character with flaws which gave him a place to grow from. I didn’t like him becoming a traveler; I would have liked to see him continuing to grow up on the Enterprise. I was bothered by his cameo in Picard. He wore street clothes and glasses and didn’t seem involved in his character. Wil Wheaton is really a talented actor. I would enjoy seeing Wesley interacting with his newly discovered half-brother in Star Trek: Legacy.

I liked Wesley, especially from season 2 onwards. He’s also an integral part of Picard’s character arc – Samaritan Snare has some wonderful bonding for the two of them.

The scene where he gets promoted to full Ensign still makes me smile.

The solution could be to release Prodigy Ready Rooms on Star and social media only . Even in the USA. Or do a separate aftershow on Netflix

There are two questions here: 1) Where would an aftershow for Prodigy be shown? 2) Who would pay for it?
Somehow I doubt that Paramount+ would pay for and air an aftershow for a show that they canceled and removed from their service. I also doubt that they would pay for it to then dump it on social media only.
If I remember correctly, “After Trek” (the first aftershow) also ran on Netflix, but I don’t think Netflix ever released The Ready Room. I have no idea whether this was because they weren’t offered the show or whether they weren’t interested. It is noteworthy that Discovery ran on Netflix internationally (at least the first 3 seasons), whereas Picard and Lower Decks ran on Amazon Prime. So the reason could be that Netflix and Amazon didn’t want to share the aftershow between them.
Getting back to Prodigy, would Paramount allow Netflix to use the Ready Room concept, studio and crew to make companion episodes for Prodigy? Would Netflix be interested in that? Netflix has a habit of dumping whole seasons at once rather than releasing shows weekly. Would they also dump a season worth of Ready Room episodes at once? Then again, I don’t think either Prodigy or Lower Decks got weekly Ready Room episodes on P+, probably because both cartoons have fewer viewers and therefore do not “justify” the cost of weekly Ready Room episodes.

Ready Room released one or two prodigy eps per season. I can’t imagine all the contracts required to bring Ready room to Netlfix would make it worth anyone’s while.

Isn’t his “head-canon” fantasy excactly what happend in Picard Season 2?
I mean basicly word by word?