Former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star Wil Wheaton appeared as a guest on the most recent episode of “Alyssa Milano: Sorry, Not Sorry,” a podcast produced and hosted by Milano, herself a former child star. During the hour-long conversation, the two discussed mental illness and recovery, Wheaton’s often-negative experiences as a child actor, his time on “TNG” and “The Big Bang Theory,” his bestselling updated memoir, “Still Just a Geek,” returning as Welsey Crusher on “Star Trek: Picard,” and the issue of wokeness in the current iterations of “Star Trek.” Wheaton, according to Internet Movie Database, will turn 50 years old on July 29, 2022.
Wheaton’s episode of “Sorry, Not Sorry” dropped on June 6, 2022. The podcast’s site promoted it as follows: “There aren’t a lot of people who have a life which resembles Alyssa Milano’s. As an actor from childhood who is still working on the cusp of fifty, our guest Wil Wheaton is one of the few. He joins us today to discuss his reappearance in ‘Star Trek’, his time on ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ his time as a young actor and as a less-young actor, and his bestselling new book ‘Still Just a Geek,’ which is now available.”
Milano Welcomed Wheaton onto Her Podcast
During the conversation with Milano, Wheaton touched on the provocative issue of “wokeness” in “Star Trek.” The franchise has gone where series creator Gene Roddenberry could not or would not go in “Star Trek: The Original Series” or “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” with “Star Trek: Discovery” featuring a same-sex couple played by Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz. Other “Discovery” characters include Gray Tal (Ian Alexander), described by Memory Alpha as “a 32nd-century transgender male joined Trill living aboard a generational starship with his Human partner Adira,” with Adira played by Blu Del Barrio.
“Star Trek: Picard” paired Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) and Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) in a romantic relationship. A recent episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” revealed that Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) has dated men and women, while, on June 7, 2022, the Hollywood trade paper “Variety” broke the story that trans woman and “Queer as Folk” and “Big Sky” star Jesse James Keitel will be guest-starring as Dr. Aspen, “a nonbinary character,” on the June 16 episode of “Strange New Worlds.”
“(Fans) tell me how much they loved ‘Next Generation,’ or that they grew up watching Wesley,” Wheaton told Milano. “Wilson Cruz, who I adore, told me that Wesley was a character that he had a little bit of a crush on. It’s just amazing. I guess it was like last week, some d–khead at Fox was like ‘Star Trek is too woke.’ Which is like, ‘Water is too wet.’ Are you confusing ‘Star Trek’ with… I don’t know, literally everything else? It’s always been really progressive. And I really love that.
“And to all the sad little man-children who were pissed off that there’s progressiveness in their laser guns, like, there’s plenty of regressive science-fiction from the ’50s for you to go enjoy, where women know their place,” Wheaton continued. “Okay? So, the rest of us who live in 2022 are going to be here in ‘Star Trek,’ and you can continue to exist in the 1950s. Have Brett Kavanaugh come over and watch the show with (you).”
Wheaton Says ‘Star Trek’ Was Always Woke
Milano went on to ask Wheaton about his evolution as a person and overcoming the pressures to act, which he said he didn’t particularly enjoy, and to be his family’s money-earner. She then asked him if he feels “vindicated” now that his book, “Still Just a Geek,” which is an updated, annotated version of his book, “Just a Geek,” is officially a “New York Times” bestseller. On May 1, 2022, it reached #9 on the Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction List.
“I feel seen,” Wheaton replied. “I don’t want to allow myself to feel vindicated because that feels like there’s a sense of, ‘Ah, f–k you! And I don’t want that energy to come into what really is overwhelming gratitude. I am so grateful to be seen. I am so grateful that all the work that I did, all the people who help all do this work, that we all worked together to make something that, as it turns out, matters to a lot more people than ever expected. My agent called me the day that this happened. She said, ‘Listen, do you have time to get on a conference call?’ I was like, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘Alright, so I’ve got your manager, everybody at the publisher..’ Then, I was like, ‘Oh, no, I’m in trouble.’ I’m around. I’m telling fascists to go f–k themselves all the time. I was like, ‘No, someone has gotten mad somewhere. And I’m in trouble.’ I was just prepared for that.
“My editor says, ‘I wanted you to know that “Still Just a Geek” is on the indie bookshop bestseller list,'” he continued. “I was like, ‘Oh, my god, that’s amazing. I’m so excited. Wow, go us! And he was like, ‘And you should also know that it’s number nine on the “New York Times” list.’ And I didn’t (know). I was like, ‘That doesn’t make sense.’ I didn’t know what to do. I felt like everybody else was more excited about it than I was because I had made this deliberate choice to be stoic about it, a deliberate choice to choose a middle way and to not let someone else’s definition of success define my sense of success and my personal sense of accomplishment. That’s a really great value to have and it’s a really good life skill to have that. I think the more we can learn as people to find satisfaction and validation and joy and accomplishment in just doing the thing… Doesn’t matter what it is. Doing the thing that’s important to us, when we can find validation in that, if someone else happens to like it, that’s really cool.”