Actor and professional nerd Wil Wheaton has taken some umbrage at a new LEGO minifigs based on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He says that the figure based on his character, Wesley Crusher, plays into a negative narrative and ultimately disrespects the fans.
In Minifigs.me’s new series based on the show, Wheaton’s character, Wesley Crusher, is depicted with his eyes closed and his mouth open wide, appearing to be crying or screaming loudly. In contrast, the other major characters from the series are just depicted smiling or smirking. The figure also has Wesley in his iconic sweater (gray with red, yellow and blue stripes) from the early seasons, rather than the Starfleet uniform that he wore later.
On his personal website, WilWheaton.net, the actor posted a response to the figurine. He compared it negatively to one recently given to him by a fan, which depicted a smiling Wesley in his Starfleet uniform, and says that the one put out by Minifigs.me is an insult to fans of the character (and dismisses the inevitably argument that such fans do not exist).
For those who aren’t Trekkies, Wesley Crusher was always a controversial character—the teenage son of the Enterprise‘s doctor, Beverly Crusher, Wesley was a genius, which meant that he regularly got to save the day himself in the early seasons when the seasoned veterans and Starfleet crew did not know what to do. The show’s creator, Gene Roddenberry, loved him, but few others did, and he got downplayed when Roddenberry was less directly involved in production. (For the record, “Wesley” was Roddenberry’s middle name, and some have argued that Wesley was a self-insert.)
Wheaton admits that Wesley was “a terribly-written character” in the first season. However, he maintains that the part got better as the show went on, and inspired many people to get into scientific careers. He specifically mentions “Final Mission” and “Starfleet Academy” as good Wesley-centric episodes, and laments that the fandom’s narrative of Wesley as a lousy character was set in stone before they were made.
To be fair, many fans will agree that Wesley became better when episodes focused on developing his character instead of just showing how smart he is. And he generally was not a crybaby—immature, yes, but smarmy rather than sad about it. Nevertheless, his status as a fan punching bag is unlikely to improve anytime soon.