Friday, October 26, 2007

Wil Wheaton's decision to leave Star Trek: The Next Generation

For years, not knowing all the details, I thought that actor Wil Wheaton committed career suicide by leaving Star Trek: The Next Generation. Why would anyone want to leave such an ostensibly popular show? I thought, thinking of how Wheaton’s career has been modest in comparison to his Stand By Me co-star Jerry O’Connell.

A few weeks ago, I stopped by Wheaton’s Website, and read his explanation for leaving Star Trek. Short form: he was turning down promising film roles left and right because they’d conflict with ST:TNG. Finally, he was offered one that would require him to miss the first episode of the season to film it. The STNG officials told him, no, that the first episode was centered around him. Reluctantly, Wheaton declined the film offer. He then discovered a few days before shooting began on the first episode that his character had been written out of the episode. Upon that, Wheaton contacted his agents and said he wanted to leave the show.

I can respect Wheaton’s decision. It really goes to show, though, that working in Hollywood can be eerily similar to tiptoeing through a mine field.

Frankly, I have never understood why my friends detested Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher character. My attitude was: are you trying to tell me there will be no adolescents in the future?

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