Wesley Crusher is one of the most polarizing characters in the “Star Trek” universe. Many fans hate Crusher with a passion. However, many other fans adore the character. The fans who hate Crusher usually reference the fact that he was an unrelatable wonder kid with unbelievable intelligence and skills. In contrast, the fans who love Crusher often say that they found the character completely relatable. They identified with being the intelligent outsider who was always trying to find their place.
“Star Trek’s” creator Gene Roddenberry also had strong feelings about Crusher. In fact, the character was one of his favorites. Here’s why Roddenberry was so attached to the Enterprise’s Boy Wonder.
Roddenberry Based Crusher on Himself
Crusher was one of the first characters Roddenberry developed for “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The original “show Bible” for TNG, the detailed document that outlined the show for prospective writers, included an extensive description of Crusher’s character. That description revealed that the character would be named Wesley, nickname Wes, which was Roddenberry’s own middle name.
According to the book “The Next Generation Companion,” Roddenberry later revealed that Crusher was explicitly based on an ideal version of his teenage self.
“I indentify probably more so with Wesley because he is me at seventeen. He is the things I dreamed of being and doing.”
TNG producer and writer Robert Justman argued that Wesley should be a girl named Leslie instead. He pointed out that many shows featured teenage boys, while few featured teenage girls. Justman wanted to explore the struggles of being an incredibly smart adolescent girl.
At one point during the development of the show, the character was changed to a girl. However, Roddenberry was so attached to Wesley Crusher that he made the executive decision to change the character back to a boy.
In an interview with Roddenberry’s son, Rod Roddenberry, “Star Trek” showrunner Rick Berman talked about how Gene saw himself in Crusher.
“Wesley Crusher was Gene as a young man, which, in a way, is almost a father and son relationship. So, he did, he went and created sons.”
Wil Wheaton, who played Crusher, also spoke to the younger Roddenberry about how much his father loved Crusher. Wheaton said that at an early convention he attended with Roddenberry, some fans were talking about how much they hated Crusher. According to Wheaton, Roddenberry went off on them.
“Your dad was like ‘You shut up! I love Wesley and I made Wesley out of me and it’s my show! And if you’ve got a problem with it go watch something else!’ And I was like, ‘Wow, your dad stood up for me.'”
Roddenberry’s attachment to the character was evident both on and off the screen.
Roddenberry Also Loved Wheaton
Roddenberry also had a very close bond with Wheaton, perhaps because he loved Crusher so much. On his blog, Wheaton wrote about his friendship with “Star Trek’s” creator.
“He and I were good friends. When I’d pass by his door, it was not uncommon for him to throw an executive out of his office and ask me in for a visit.”
In that same post, which detailed Wheaton’s demoralizing first meeting with “Star Trek” superstar William Shatner, Wheaton described how Roddenberry demanded that Shatner make amends after their awkward introduction. Shatner did, in fact, apologize. Wheaton called this “one of the most fondly remembered” gifts Roddenberry ever gave him.
Wheaton has frequently spoken about how much Roddenberry’s support meant to him when he was a young actor and how Roddenberry took him under his wing.
Follow the Heavy on Star Trek Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!