Wil Wheaton


The One with Wil Wheaton

On today’s Mission Log, the inevitable interview with Wil Wheaton. Wil talks to us about a range of topics from early TOS fandom to leaving TNG, from religion to how not to be a jerk on the internet. Plus we reveal more Discovered Documents from the Roddenberry archive.

Related Documents


  • Grant McDonald

    Awesome supplemental. In fact, the last two supplementals, begin to give me the impression that the two people that nearly ran Trek into the ground were Leonard Maizlish and Rick Berman. How did Trek manage to survive Berman?

    Also, not that I’m sensitive about profane language, but this podcast was a little inconsistent with its censorship. Wil got a few “shitty”s in there. Finally, when you do censor, use a more Star Trek relevant sound, like the sound of doors sliding open, instead of the beep.

  • CmdrR

    Thank you Wil and J & K for doing this interview. For decades now, I’ve heard the story from its edges. It’s so interesting to know some of these details. As a 52-year-old man, I can better understand the difficult (often punishing) process that went into my favorite “silly entertainment.” Maybe we should focus a supplement or two on the role/impact of the various producers in all of the series. (And when I say “we,” I mean YOU. But, I will listen.)

    ps – I go both ways on bleeps. On the one hand, TPTB could hang a 40 hertz tone generator around the neck of Kanye West and leave it on 24/7 and I’d be fine with that. On the other hand, I feel that Wil is not one to cuss for any lack of ability to express himself; there’s a need for that particular emphasis. So, in his case, I didn’t need the bleeps. That’s just my opinion.

    • McDunno

      I like being able to listen with my 8-year-old daughter, so I appreciate the bleeps.

  • Just a note about the censoring – it’s not because we are such delicate creatures but rather the reality of having the show distributed. We want everyone to hear the interview, and some people may have filters set for explicit language. Like the idea of using some Trek sound effects. Might do that in the future!

    • McDunno

      I like being able to listen to ML with my 8-year-old daughter in the room, so I appreciate checking the language. Having said that, I listened to this episode on headphones, so I’d like to ask that next time you need to use bleeps, could you check the decibel level? They were pretty jarring!

      As for the episode, I’ve heard Wheaton talk about a number of the same things in other interviews, but you guys always manage to bring a fresh perspective as interviewers. Not to denigrate others I’ve heard, but you two consistently maintain a level of professionalism coupled with an obvious love of the franchise that really tends to bring out another level in your interviewees.

    • Hmmm … any Babylon 5 fans out there? Anyone ever hear Claudia Christian’s interview on the B5 podcast a few years back? Holy smokes … Wil Wheaton is an amateur.

      • Akrovah

        Just recently found that podcast. Might have to skip ahead to Claudia’s because you’ve got my interest piqued.

    • Jeff Smith

      The beeps ARE a little loud with headphones. Great interview, though. πŸ™‚

    • Kristian Marie Kbot McKee

      I appreciate it greatly. My 4 and 5 year old are around when I listen sometimes. They are at that age where they repeat things, and though I don’t have a huge problem with cussing, polite society does. I don’t want that call from their school.

  • Durakken

    Meh. Wil is a hypocrite in so many ways…
    As far as the censoring the words… if he were as “professional” as he claims he can be you wouldn’t need to do that, showing that he’s both a hypocrite(about being a jerk) and liar (about be sooo professional). You guys really shouldn’t have even had to censor out like you haven’t had to before and definitely not as much as you did.

    • McDunno

      Ha ha! Okay, Sheldon. We’re all terribly sorry that Wil beat you in Magic, but eventually, you’ll have to let go of your hang-ups.

    • Gail Gerard

      He’s a hypocrite because he likes to use profanity now and then?

      Oh dear me. WHATEVER shall we do?

      Hope your pearls don’t shatter from clutching them too much.

      • Durakken

        it simply shows part of hypocrisy. If you respect people and call yourself professional and you know what you are being recorded for is supposed to be familly friendly you don’t sit there and swear.

        • Gail Gerard

          Family friendly doesn’t always mean no swearing.

          • Durakken

            And that is not what I said. Don’t misconstrue what people say.

        • I think Wil has consistently presented and shown himself to be deeply thoughtful and ethical individual. I found this interview insightful and deeply moving.

          Yes, when he’s a grown-up talking to grown-ups, he uses swear words some times. How is it hypocritical?

          • Durakken

            Except he hasn’t. I don’t feel like bringing up the myriad of stupid and insulting things he has said because no reason to bring that here, but he really isn’t a “thoughtful person” and has sided with people who are extremely bigoted and hateful.

            A grown-up talking to a grown-up knowing that kids will be listening and to make it listenable by kids the other grown-up will have to do extra work. That shows a lack of thoughtfulness and hypicritical when a professional would not do that, because a thoughful professional would be considerate about that stuff.

          • “I don’t want to back up a bunch of accusations I make, I just want to make them.” Okay, friend. Whatever you reckon.

        • Dude… really?

          • Durakken

            Tell John, You as a grown up professional. Someone tells you, or you know that this is for all ages can you refrain from cussing for however long the thing is that you need to do where that would be an issue? I think so. Apparently he can’t or doesn’t care to.

            And tell me also, is censoring more work or less work? Even if it takes only a second more to do it is still more work.

            You need no more than that much to know that he is a hypocrite and not what he says. If you can’t reckon that it makes me wonder if that is not just hero worship.

            As to the other issues, he sides openly with people that bully, lie, support segratation, are bigots in many ways, holds scam artists in high regard, etc. Maybe he’s dumb and doesn’t look into the people he openly supports and writes articles praising them, or maybe he just isn’t thoughtful or respectful, or professional. He can’t be both as they are mutually exclusive to each other.

          • JJ

            Ah, it’s about ethics in game journalism.

          • Eric Schwenke

            The guy was talking about some tough crap from his childhood. He let his defenses down to speak frankly, and his filters went with it. And honestly, there is a segment of the population that really thinks that there are more important things to worry about than whether or not they swear every now and then.

  • Gail Gerard


  • It was really cool you were able to read Wil that part of the letter in which Patrick Steward praised him.

    While this interview might be somewhat unusual in terms of the number of words that needed to be bleeped, it wasn’t what I’d deem to be an excessive amount of profanity. Actually, that sort of strong language felt eminently justifiable when Wil was talking about Rick Berman.

    • Not excessive at all, and it was a group of adults having an adult conversation – with some choice words for emphasis. Agree with you, it’s just the necessity of distribution that we have to make sure that overactive content filters don’t prevent the show from getting into subscribers’ hands. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Aaron Bacon

    OMG I wish there was a Trek religion. I’d be on that. TOS and the animated series, also seen a lot on black and white TV, really taught me how to be! I felt like Wil was telling MY story of figuring out that all religion is just BS. I still don’t believe in Star Wars because Trek seems so much more real.

  • Tegan Bigone

    It’s so sad when someone utterly rejects God just because they had a bad experience with disreputable people claiming to represent Him. The real question is not whether or not you like God’s rules but whether God is real; to say God is not real just because you don’t like His rules is absurdity. A child may not like his parent’s rules or a citizen may not like his government’s rules or a member of a club may not like the club’s rules – but that doesn’t mean the parents and the government and the club don’t exist. A wise person will never judge God by what mortals say about Him, and all one has to do is to pick up a Bible and see the great love and mercy and meekness of Jesus to know that a person is a fraud who claims to represent Him yet demonstrates nothing of His character. I mean, it’s simply a matter of common sense, really. Gravity remains real and the earth remains round, even if you disapprove of it.

    • I’m very wary of people who think they will never be held accountable for their actions as long as they accept the right religion. Maybe you don’t want to bring up people in jail if you’re trying to make a point, given that he percentage of atheists in prison is miniscule while Christians make up the majority of the prisoner population in America. But I’m guessing you’d say that those aren’t “true Christians.”

      If you listen to the interview, WIl did no say he rejected your god “just because” he had a bad experience or he didn’t like the rules; he also concluded that it didn’t make any sense and was b.s. Someone can not like something and not believe it at the same time.

      • Tegan Bigone

        rocketdave, my point was that it is absurd to denounce an authority simply because you dislike it.

        • Your point is invalid because that is not what Wil did. Go back and listen to the interview again or reread my second paragraph. Wil did not denounce anything “simply because” he disliked it; he also didn’t think it was true. I don’t know why you’re having such a hard time understanding that. While you might think it demonstrates a lack of intelligence, not everybody looks at the world and automatically assumes it was created by some higher power.

        • cimmo

          As your god seems to be the god described in the bible, then count me as one who dislikes that character.

          β€œThe God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously
          malevolent bully.” -Dawkins

          Please understand that as a fictional character, I think your god is a dick, but that is NOT the reason I do not believe your god exists – unless and until those stories about your god can be reasonably demonstrated to be true, then your god will remain a fictional character to me.

          And a dick not worth worshipping.

          • Arvis Jaggamar

            To be fair, that’s the God of Dawkins, not the God of the Bible, that he is describing in that quote.

            Regardless, belief (or a lack thereof) is a choice. One we are all free to make.

          • cimmo

            No, belief is not a choice.
            Belief is a consequence of examination of the evidence – and one’s innate credulousness.
            Could you believe the sky is pink with purple polka dots? Even if you tried real hard, could you accept that as a true fact?

            You may pretend to believe it, but you cannot really believe it. I am as capable of doxastic voluntarism as I am of flying by flapping my arms.

            And the god Dawkins described IS the god of the bible – old testament Yahweh.
            If your personal god concept differs from that, then good luck to you – but since everyone’s god only exists in their head, they get to tailor it to suit themselves.

            Which is why your god hates the same things you do.

          • Arvis Jaggamar

            Nah, there’s plenty of evidence in the universe upon which to base belief in a Creator. Many examine such evidence and choose not to attribute it to anything divine. It’s still a choice.

            And what Dawkins described is nowhere in the Bible. He just described a deity that is a byproduct of his wildly inaccurate (and undeniably biased) interpretation of the OT Yahweh. To steal a quote: a god that exists only in his head.

            And assuming I “hate” anything at all when you don’t know me is a little hurtful and unnecessarily personal. We can disagree without having to imply insults.

          • cimmo

            If you think you have actual evidence, then you don’t have faith.
            IF there is any ‘choosing’ it is on the part of the believer, maybe YOU are capable of doxastic voluntarism, but I am not.

            I CANNOT believe in things simply because I might want to. If you can overcome subconscious skepticism, then I guess your god made you better than he made me.
            And considering the consequences of that, I guess your god loves you more than he loves me, since he made me in such a way that I will be condemned to eternal punishment merely because I cannot even pretend to believe.

            I could give you a long and detailed list of all the nasty things the bible clearly describes Yahweh as doing, but I suspect you’re one of those who thinks that whatever your god says or does is automatically good.

            Divine command theory.
            So, even god killing every single person on the planet (except for Noah and his family) was automatically good because your god cannot do anything except good?

            If that is the case, then by your twisted and biased definition, then you’re right.

            But I think your opinion is wrong.

            And everyone hates something.
            If you’re human and honest, then there is something that you and your god both hate.

            And if you still object to that word, replace it with ‘don’t like’ and you’ll get my point.

            No one’s god ever disagrees with their personal opinions about anything.

          • Arvis Jaggamar

            From my perspective, “faith” and “belief” aren’t always the same thing. But I don’t want to get into semantics. Suffice to say that I don’t believe that true faith is always blind, but rather based on evidence.

            In many countries, even the most vicious criminals get a chance to defend themselves to their peers. It doesn’t matter how heinous their crimes are, they legally are allowed to defend themselves. These days, the only person not allowed to defend himself is God. Anyone can say anything about him, display a few weak evidences without any context, and then go about their way convinced that their guilty verdict is correct and just.

            As for the “horrible” things the God of the Bible did/said in the OT, no, I do not (and did not) “automatically” think that they are good just because God did/said them. Why exactly do you “suspect” that I am one of those people? How exactly do you know enough about me or my history to make that judgment?

            You think when I read about him commanding the Israelites to wipe out a whole city, even the children, that it doesn’t affect me and make me ask tough questions? Questions not only of my own faith, but of God himself? But when I come across those accounts, I do a couple things: 1) I don’t let them automatically undermine everything else the Bible says about God without doing any further investigation into the “why” of the matter, and 2) I keep reading and studying so as to allow God to defend his actions (which, honestly, if he’s real he wouldn’t really NEED to do, but does it anyway). If a person reads the Bible with sincerity and makes an attempt to harmonize it in its entirety, rather than focus on a scant few accounts, then it’s possible to get an understanding of the “why” behind those gut-wrenching accounts that seem so greatly in conflict with the Bible’s principle of having love for all.

            Anyways, I hope that didn’t come off too sanctimonious. I do get where you’re coming from, in some way. A lot of people do blindly believe things about God without any evidence. And a lot of those same people can be very hateful towards others.
            And of course, there are many things I hate. But largely, the things I hate are really just things that cause other people pain and suffering; things like death, bigotry, and country music. But I’m not going to pretend like God hates country music (although, if I had to guess, I’d say he hates a lot of the lyrics). Or all reality television. Or olives. The truth about what God likes and dislikes has nothing whatsoever to do with my personal opinions. And trust me when I say that there are still some things that my heart longs for that God hates. So please don’t diminish my personal struggle in this regard so flippantly. It’s unfair and mean.

  • Exceptional interview and a wonderful listen. At the risk of furthering, or maybe ruining, the “special episode” joke, I actually realized some things about my own past and my own self while listening to Wil’s stories about growing up. He and I have some uncanny parallels in our lives, in different orders and minus the whole acting thing, but it was very cathartic in many ways to listen to this. Thanks.

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  • Akrovah

    So listening to you guys talk about a potential “event television” Trek series and Will’s description of Wesley as essentially a Time Lord have me an idea of bleeding the two. Star Trek: Crusher. Each season see Wesley having to deal with some issue as he explores the limits of his Traveler powers. Sometimes he may interact with Starfleet, sometimes not. It could also be a good door for cameos from other established Trek characters.

    Also, after this and David Gerold’s interviews, what do we think of the possibility of bringing Berman or Maizlich in to tell thier side of things? It would be interesting to get both points of view.

  • I think Wil makes a good point about jerks on the internet. I despair at just how much negativity I see online, but I do realize that it’s often easier for people to complain than it is to say anything nice. I’m afraid I’ve been somewhat guilty of that myself; I’m far more motivated to speak up if something bothers me than I am if I’m perfectly content. So, I prefer to think that the jerks out there are really just a very vocal minority.

  • ehkxs9

    My perception of Wil changed after listening to this interview, in a positive way. Not a trivial thing after watching and following him for many years. That directly speaks to Wil’s articulate, open and honest conversation.

    • ketracel

      Could not agree more. I am a Star Trek fan, but I was playing with a new computer type gadget and “fell into” this podcast. NEVER would have thought to listen to it otherwise.

  • Found original Inside Trek article :

  • Unlike some of the other fans here, I hadn’t heard Wil Wheaton’s side of the story. I definitely found Wesley to be an annoying character much of the time, but there were also shows where I sympathized, including the Traveller episodes and the Pen Pals episode he referenced in the interview. Thanks so much for giving us this interview. And FWIW, I don’t give a *&%$ about the profanity. (But I do love the idea of using a door “whoosh” to bleep things when you must).

    But my favorite part was his talking about Tapestry, an episode that also deeply affected me personally, and how it affected him. Everybody needs to see Tapestry as part of their life education … it’s one of the best shows Trek ever produced. I almost called it a “morality tale”, but that’s really not the right description. More like a “life lesson,” but presented in a way we can immediately relate to. As Wheaton said, people tell you this stuff all the time, it just doesn’t have the same impact as seeing it presented like this.

    Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to Samaritan Snare. I work in high-tech where we have too many Pakled co-workers around. Unfortunately, many of them have been promoted to management. Oh. My. God.

  • Bob Littlepage

    Okay, I suppose I appreciate the bleeping of the naughty words, but did the bleeps have to be so frakking loud? Kinda rough in the ol’ headphones.

  • JJ

    Great interview! And after hearing his feelings about letting his Star trek family down I actually teared up a little when you read Patrick Stewart’s letter to Wil…

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  • Brian Parker

    Always had a completely irrational dislike for Wil Wheaton as I felt the Wesley character ruined TNG. I recently listened to the audio book version of “Ready Player One” narrated by Mr Wheaton and I would like to say what an excellent job he did and to appolgise for my past failure to separate the actor from the character.

  • Raf

    Why not put up an uncensored version aswell? It just sounds a little silly you guys censoring yourselves on something that’s broadcasted on the interwebz πŸ˜‰

    • Hi Raf – please see the other comments about this. It’s not about “censoring.” The fact is that many people have filters set on their podcast feeds. We risk cutting out a portion of our audience.

      • Raf

        Ah you see I didn’t know about that, still the word ‘aswell’ is important to take into account πŸ™‚

        • True – but it’s already out there, and we don’t want to confuse or sensationalize the issue. Tell you what – if there are any of the censored areas where you’re unsure what’s being said, email me and I’ll tell you what each missing word is! Just kidding πŸ™‚

  • Arvis Jaggamar

    Haven’t listened to the whole episode yet but I thought Mr. Wheaton’s dialogue about religion and secular humanism was fascinating. The “damnation” aspect to almost all organized religion is what pushes so many people into atheism/agnosticism/etc, along with the hypocritical and judgmental actions of many “religious” people.
    However, belief in an afterlife is vital to many, especially those who have experienced the death of a person they truly love and need with all their heart. Religion has used this to manipulate many throughout history, but the doesn’t devalue the need for some kind of tangible hope in this area. So I’m really curious what the Secular Humanist view on the afterlife is. I guess I should go ahead and listen to the rest of the podcast…

    • Hi Arvis – Wil doesn’t necessarily get into those specifics, but since you posed the question, I thought I would share with you a (very) short video that I think sums up the experience very well for Humanists like myself. https://youtu.be/pR7e0fmfXGw

      • Arvis Jaggamar

        I’m not a humanist, but I agree with much of this. And of course, Stephen Fry narrating it makes it sound like the most intelligent and sensible thing ever!

        Although I do believe in life after death, I agree very much on the point in this video about us having some disembodied soul that leaves us at death and goes somewhere. Regardless of whether there is a Creator or not, our lives on this planet would make no sense if we were just going to spend eternity elsewhere in some other form.
        I also agree that we should choose “Good” over “Evil” without any incentive. It’s a shame that that isn’t simply the instinct of all human beings.

        Thanks for sharing this video, John!

  • backtracking and really enjoyed this one. Being 43 now, I of course thought Wil had a dream job. I never knew he requested to be let off the show..well such is life. I liked how they went to Starfleet Academy and saw him grow and mature. I really disliked his full departure w the Traveller…. I enjoy his character on Big Bang Theory and am glad he is able to share. Thanks again ML for more insight into our favorite show!

  • backtracking…!! completely agree w/ Wheaton’s idea that any future Trek on TV should be treated like True Crime w less episodes, more quality stories, effects/writing, sets… like Walking Dead…10-12 episodes per year. Varying locales. My idea after DS9, was 2-3 years after the Dominion War, Starfleet Academy…rebuilding the Federation, academics, youngsters making the grade, falling in love, inter species whatever, career, competition…and rotating cast as new ones enter and old ones graduate/die! arrrrghhhhh! I think now, a show just called Starfleet, could visit the Academy one year, an outpost or ship another year….a small town where 1 person is trying to get into the Academy, or even characters after they got out of Starfleet….oh well, just a dream….

  • Kristian Marie Kbot McKee

    Wil is still one of my favorite people I’ve ever known to exist. Wesley crusher was a dream boat to me growing up….something my friends make fun of me for constantly. I wouldn’t be able to handle meeting him. I’d probably go into geek girl overdrive and pass out after saying something stupid about a superconducting magnet…..β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘β™‘

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