Wil Weaton’s character on Star Trek: The Next Generation wasn’t very popular
When Wil Wheaton debuted on Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, he played the part of a precocious teenager with a somewhat know-it-all attitude. Struggling to find his place aboard the Enterprise, he often came across as smug and even arrogant, leading fans to dislike him. Many didn’t miss him when he left the series in the fourth season as they felt he’d overstayed his welcome.
Wheaton, on the other hand, feels differently about the boy he played for four seasons. In fact, he says Wesley Crusher was “an incredibly inspiring character” who helped validate teens of his generation. Wesley, in his opinion, taught those teens that their voices could be heard in spite of the many adults telling them to be quiet or dismissing their ideas. And that they could contribute something to this world.
He admits some fans were cruel to him during his time on the show, but now, as an adult, he knows those people didn’t represent the entire viewing population of Star Trek: The Next Generation. However, at the time, the cruelty cast a pall on his role, and knowing what he knows now, he wishes he could go back in time and tell his younger self to embrace his time on the series.
His role has provided him with several opportunities he might not have gotten without it, including speaking at the USA Science and Engineering Festival and hosting the MATHCOUNTS finals two different times. At those events, adults who were teenagers in 1987, have expressed their appreciation to him because they identified with his character. They’ve told him their careers as doctors, teachers, engineers, and scientists were because of Wesley Crusher. That’s the legacy Wheaton is proud of.
"I love that legacy. I am so proud of that legacy. I will defend that legacy forever."
Sounds like he has every reason to be proud of what the character of Wesley Crusher has brought to not only his own life but the lives of others.