Fans of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” have a lot of feelings about Wesley Crusher. He is widely considered one of the most hated characters in the Trekverse. The precocious teen was played by Wil Wheaton, who has since become the darling of the “Star Trek” fandom, even among those who hated his character.
Though the fans that hate Crusher are plentiful, some hardcore Trek fans love the boy genius. Many fans identified with being the intelligent outsider, desperately trying to fit in and be recognized.
One of the fans who loves Crusher is none other than “Star Trek: Lower Decks” showrunner, Mike McMahan. In a recent interview with CinemaBlend, McMahan gushed about his love for TNG’s golden boy and shared some thoughts on bringing him back to the Trekverse.
Crusher in ‘Lower Decks’?
McMahan told CinemaBlend that he wants Crusher to make his animated debut in “Lower Decks.” He acknowledged that making it happen will require some creative storytelling.
I’m still trying to find an elegant way to get Wes back on the show, because he’s off with The Traveler, and I think we want to be in canon and also play with it. We have our own rules where it’s ‘what’s something we can bend versus what’s something that, to me, feels like we can’t touch it?’ You don’t want to take huge swings and affect stuff too much… we’re having our fun, it feels like a fit – but we’re not taking away from anything else that you love about Star Trek. You just embrace it and you kind of magnify it.”
McMahan went on to say that working with Wheaton was one of his major motivations for figuring out how to reintroduce Crusher.
“I just love Wil Wheaton and I love that character and I would love to find a way to not step on what exists with that character. That’s one of the things where I just feel like I need more of a confidence to educate myself more about what the appropriate way to tackle that would be.”
As much as McMahan wants to exercise his creative license to get Wesley back, he’s only willing to do so in a way that honors the old storylines and Crusher’s character. McMahan’s respect for “Star Trek” canon was evident throughout the first season of his irreverent animated series. References to the old shows and their storylines were littered throughout each episode. Some episodes were entirely based on legacy episodes.
Does Wheaton Want to Reprise Crusher?
If McMahan finds the right way to bring Crusher back, then it comes down to whether or not Wheaton is willing to reprise his role. Luckily, he’s already given fans the answer.
In an interview with TrekMovie in September of 2020, Wheaton talked about his memories of working on “Star Trek” and whether he would return to the Trekverse. He even specifically addressed appearing in “Lower Decks.”
“I would do the show in a heartbeat! I’m a massive fan. Who says ‘no’ to Star Trek.? Who says, ‘No thank you. I don’t want to do Star Trek?’ Who says that? A dumb person. Yeah, of course, I would do it in a heartbeat. And honestly, I feel like animation is probably where Wesley could actually exist in his most faithful canonical form right now.”
When asked about how an appearance in “Lower Decks” could fit into the established Trek canon, Wheaton came up with a very creative possibility.
“In my headcanon Wesley Crusher is a Time Lord. In my headcanon, Wesley is off with The Traveler. He experienced some kind of multidimensional, higher-dimensional experience and it changed him and changed who he is and what he does. And he’s a very different kind of character now than he was the last time we saw him. I don’t know if that interpretation is the correct interpretation.”
If the writers decide to honor Wheaton’s headcanon, then Crusher could believably pop up anywhere, any time. If The Traveler is capable of traveling through time, space, and even dimensions, he could certainly drop Crusher off in a time and place where he could encounter the “Lower Decks” characters.
So far, there’s no confirmation that Wheaton will join the “Lower Decks” team. Since season two is dropping in a few months, he’s obviously not in the second season. However, fans can hold out hope for season three since everyone involved clearly wants it to happen.
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