How the Star Trek: TNG cast changed Wil Wheaton’s life

Wil Wheaton admits that his biological family failed him, and the Star Trek: TNG cast stepped in

Wil Wheaton’s portrayal of Wesley Crusher has been much maligned over the years, and the phrase “shut up, Wesley” often brought laughter from fans who didn’t like the boy-wonder. And while his character wasn’t as beloved as the other crew members off-screen, Wheaton, who was barely 15 when the show began, found a family in the cast of Star Trek: TNG.

n a recent interview with Patrick Stewart and Jonathan Frakes, Wil Wheaton revealed that he’d told all (presumably all of the cast) of them that his biological family had failed him and the cast stepped up and became the parents he needed and deserved much like the crew and Commander Riker volunteered to be responsible for Wesley when Dr. Crusher left the Enterprise in Season 2

“You took on that role that you didn’t need to, but you did it. And you helped me become the person I am today.”

Frakes called Wheaton “such an addition to our family” and added that Wheaton had always stayed honest about how important the show is and didn’t take it casually. As Wheaton came close to tearing up, Frakes added, “You bring a levity and a certain amount of gravitas at the same time that is invaluable to us,” with Stewart quickly adding, “Hear, hear.”

Regardless of the few fans who didn’t care for Wheaton’s character, he has remained steadfast in his dedication to both the series and the franchise. Finding a family when your biological one has been lacking can have a profound impact on an adolescent. So the close bond he has with the cast members makes sense. Wheaton’s disclosures are a powerful reminder that we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes in our favorite franchise, and that sometimes, more good is happening off screen than on.