Gene Roddenberry liked the character of Wesley Crusher
After Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted in 1987, it didn’t take long for viewers to start pointing out things (or characters) they didn’t like. Unfortunately, one of those characters was Wesley Crusher, the teenage son of Dr. Beverly Crusher played by Wil Wheaton. Fans just didn’t take to the teeanger as, to some of them, he came across as too perfect.
According to Whatculture, the fans’ dislike upset Roddenberry because Wesley was based on an idealized version of himself. And Star Trek’s creator took the hate personally as he felt it was an attack on himself. Since Wesley was like him and the viewers didn’t like Wesley, it’s easy to see how Roddenberry could make that connection.
Wesley Crusher was eventually pushed to the side in Star Trek: The Next Generation
In the first couple of seasons, Wesley had a larger role, many times helping to save the Enterprise, and that was what bothered many fans. Why would a teenage boy be smarter than all of the minds aboard the ship who were supposed to be seasoned officers? Why could Wesley figure out things that others with more experience couldn’t? I never had a problem with Wesley and thought he was an interesting character with a background that could have been used to create really good stories, but I was one of the few who felt that way.
As the next two seasons went on, the focus drifted off of Wesley, and the character was pushed more to the background. When Wesley left for Starfleet in season four before eventually departing the series altogether to explore the galaxy with the Traveler, Roddenberry was annoyed. This was a character he’d purposefully inserted into the series, and that same character was rejected by fans. Perhaps if the viewers had known that Wesley was a direct representation of Roddenberry, it would have made a difference in their reaction to him.
Do you think you would have liked Wesley more if you’d known he was an iteration of Star Trek’s creator?