Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory star Wil Wheaton recently opened up about his thoughts on the current state of the Star Trek franchise and offered his opinion that the long-running sci-fi franchise “is as exciting now as it maybe has ever been.”
On September 11th, Star Trek news outlet TrekMovie.com published an interview with Wheaton conducted in promotion of his upcoming film, Rent-A-Pal.
The film follows a lonely man named David (Brian Landis Folkins) who discovers a mysterious VHS tape titled “Rent-A-Pal,” which contains recordings of the charismatic and friendly Andy (Wheaton).
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Though Andy appears only through the VHS tape, David quickly finds that Andy’s friendly demeanor and the companionship he provides are a smokescreen for more sinister machinations.
As the interview progressed, TrekMovie.com’s Anthony Pascale eventually broached the topic of Star Trek and asked the actor if he ever worried “about what people sometimes call franchise fatigue?”
Wheaton replied “I don’t care about franchise fatigue.”
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“I mean, either you like it or you don’t,” Wheaton stated. “Either you come and participate in the storytelling or you don’t. And it’s a giant world with lots of people in it. And if you don’t like it, God bless you. Go do something else. That’s fine. That’s just the way it is.”
Wheaton further observed that “You’re never going to be all things to all people,” and noted that “if you try you end up being beige, which is boring and uninteresting.”
The actor also revealed that he thinks “Star Trek is as exciting now as it maybe has ever been.”
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“There’s just so much wonderful storytelling happening,” said Wheaton. “And there are such great casts bringing such great stories to life right now. It is a wonderful moment to be a Star Trek fan.”
When asked by Pascale “of all the new and upcoming shows, which one has you the most interested?”, Wheaton heaped praise upon the animated sitcom Star Trek: Lower Decks and claimed that “it is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.”
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Wheaton then compared Lower Decks to the series he starred in, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and said, “I interviewed the showrunner and the director, and I’ve interviewed some of the actors. And we have talked about how if you inverted the A and B stories of Next Generation, then Lower Decks is what you get. And I absolutely love that.”
On the subject of Lower Decks, Pascale would note that “a couple of weeks ago on a Metaverse panel, [Lower Decks show runner MikeMcMahan] said he’d love to bring Wesley into the show and asked Wheaton if he would “do the show”.
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“Yeah, of course I would do it in a heartbeat,” Wheaton responded. “And honestly, I feel like animation is probably where Wesley could actually exist in his most faithful canonical form right now.”
Despite this praise for Lower Decks, the actor also specified that “Star Trek: Picard is my favorite thing since Next Generation. Nothing comes close.”
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Wheaton also expressed his interest in making an appearance on Star Trek: Picard and said that “if they were interested in me, I would do absolutely everything I could to get to “yes.””
As the interview came to a close, Pascale asked Wheaton for his thoughts on the “legacy of Wesley Crusher” in the years since TNG’s conclusion.
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“Wesley showed a generation of young, smart, awkward people who were told to shut up by the adults in their lives that their experience was valid and that their ideas were valid,” explained Wheaton. “That they were smart. That they had things to contribute to the world. That the idea that they would be invited into a space by adults because they were smart and then told to just be quiet and sit still was insulting to us. And it was frustrating to us.”
Wheaton also took a moment to discuss his observation that Wesley Crusher “was unjustly and unfairly maligned by a really, really small but extremely oversampled minority of viewers way back in the ‘80s”.
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On the topic of the fans who took issue with Crusher’s character, Wheaton wished that he “could go back and tell young me —who is having such a hard time because fans were so cruel to me back in the ’80s and ’90s—that these people don’t actually represent the audience at all.”
“And they are not worth your time,” he concluded. “They are objectively wrong.”
Rent-A-Pal is now available on-demand and in select theaters.
What do you make of Wheaton’s opinons? Do you agree that the franchise is in the best state it’s ever been? Let us know on social media or in the comments down below!