A War Over Wesley?
The surprise cameo appearance of Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) in the Picard Season 2 finale “Farewell” was an exciting tie-in to both the end of his journey in The Next Generation as well as to the character of Gary Seven from TOS: “Assignment: Earth”. However, the road to including Wes in the show was far from peaceful.
On 9th May, Paramount+ released a video of how this cameo came to be. The video alluded to a particular dispute over the character and was not only released directly onto YouTube but was also featured in the official Star Trek aftershow (The Ready Room).
A Violent Video
In the video, entitled “Wesley Crusher’s Return”, Executive Producers Akiva Goldsman and Alex Kurtzman explain that they were trying to figure out how to bring Wesley back after a near-thirty-year absence. A scene in Star Trek Nemesis with him in it, at the wedding reception of William Riker and Deanna Troi, was cut from the final version of that film, aside from a panoramic shot of the wedding reception’s entire head table. Other than that, his most recent appearance had been in the 1994 TNG episode “Journey’s End”. As it turns out, conflict exploded amongst the current creative personnel as to how to include him in modern Star Trek.
In the video, Akiva Goldsman recalled, “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 remembered, “The one thing that pretty much everybody wanted was to figure out a way to bring Wesley back – to their own individual show. So, it was a little bit of a fight to bring him back.“
Recalling conversation with other Trek producers, Goldsman continued, “‘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 reflected, “But obviously bringing him back to Picard was necessary, because he had to return to where it came from.“
It’s unclear which of the modern Star Trek shows they were referring to. However, it is likely that at least one of the two modern animated Star Trek series were planning to incorporate Wesley.
As recently as April, Wheaton announced he had a detailed pitch for Lower Decks‘ creator Mike McMahan to bring Wesley into that show. And McMahan has also expressed interest in including Wesley in Lower Decks. Unless the inclusion of Wesley in Picard negated the other shows’ plans, it is possible we could be seeing more of Wesley in the not too distant future.
Wes Huntington has been a Star Trek fan since he was born, thanks to his parents (both of whom are still very much alive and are big Trek fans themselves). He lives in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, with his wife and cat. He is also a co-host of the Twin Cities Trekkies podcast, which launched in February 2021 and talks about all things Star Trek. You can find Twin Cities Trekkies via Facebook, Instagram, or anchor.fm/twincitiestrekkies.