Star Trek’s Wil Wheaton Shares Touching Picard Premiere Moment After Recalling ‘Humiliating’ Trauma From Early Days

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 had its Hollywood premiere this past week, and many of the franchise's actors -- of both past and present -- were there to see the first two episodes of the upcoming season. It was an exciting night for the cast and fans in attendance as well as an emotional night for actor Wil Wheaton. Because during the evening, he had a touching moment that really struck a chord due to his "humiliating" memories of past trauma. 

Wil Wheaton and his wife were guests at the Star Trek: Picard Season 3 premiere and the actor had a chance to reunite with many of his former co-stars from The Next Generation, who returned for the final season. Wheaton, who briefly reprised his role as Wesley Crusher in Season 2, will not appear in the new episodes, sadly. Still, he was more than willing to show up and support his friends. The actor wrote about the event on his blog, including a moment that inadvertently triggered some past trauma related to his days on The Next Generation:

Last night, Anne and I went to the fancy premiere of Star Trek Picard’s final season at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Before the screening began, after we were all settled into our seats, Terry Matalas and Alex Kurtzman introduced the show, thanked the cast and crew, and turned the spotlight over to Patrick. He spoke lovingly and beautifully about the entire experience in that Patrick Stewart way we all love. As he was wrapping up his remarks, he said, ‘I would like to ask the cast who are here to please stand up,’ so they could also be celebrated. I remembered how humiliating it was, how much it hurt, those times Rick Berman deliberately left me seated while everyone else was standing up, those times Rick Berman made me feel exactly the way my father made me feel: unwelcome, unworthy, invisible. Not a great feeling.

The actor explained that former Star Trek executive producer Rick Berman made him feel like an outsider within the cast. He wasn't the only member of the Trek family who did that either, as Wheaton has written about an unpleasant encounter he had with William Shatner when the former child star went to visit him between filming TNG.

Thankfully, the Next Generation cast has often made a point to make Wil Wheaton feel welcome and watch out for him. Apparently, old habits die hard, too, based on the next part of Wheaton's story. It seems that co-star Jonathan Frakes made sure that Wheaton also got some credit on the big night, even though he's not part of the cast. And honestly, this whole scenario can bring a tear to one's eye:

But last night wasn’t about me. Yes, I have a wonderful cameo in season two, but I’m not in season three. And last night was about season three. It was about celebrating my family, who all came together for what is likely their final mission together. So I was happy to stay in my seat while they started to stand up. I clapped so hard my hands are still vibrating this morning. I applauded not just their work on this season but everything they’ve given to Star Trek for over thirty years. I celebrated the absolute hell out of my family. And while I was doing this, I looked across the aisle at Frakes and clapped at/for him. We made eye contact, and he gave me this incredulous look. ‘Why are you sitting down? Stand up, W!’ He said. So I did, and he applauded me, and I may have wept just a little bit. Or maybe a lot.

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It's lovely to hear Wil Wheaton talk about what that gesture meant to him and how proud he is of his friends as the world waits to stream Star Trek: Picard Season 3. Paramount+ subscription holders are in for a treat, too, as they'll get to see Jean-Luc Picard reunite with his former crew and see beloved characters like Seven of Nine get much-deserved promotions within Starfleet. 

While Wil Wheaton will not appear in Star Trek: Picard Season 3, his recent return as Wesley Crusher did leave the door open for future appearances. In fact, his status as a "watcher" makes it possible for him to appear on any of the currently airing or upcoming Trek series if the producers see fit to include the character. I personallly wouldn't mind seeing a lot more Wesley in the future. We already know that showrunners like Lower Decks' Mike McMahan are interested in using Wheaton in episodes, so hopefully, he'll get his chance to return to the franchise sooner than later and continue to get the recognition her sorely deserves in the process.

Catch the premiere of Star Trek: Picard on Paramount+ on Thursday, February 16, and check out CinemaBlend's 2023 TV schedule for release info on other high-profile shows.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.