Star Trek fans got a major thrill this week – several in fact – when it was announced that the major cast members of Star Trek: The Next Generation would be reuniting with Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: Picard Season 3. The list of returning actors includes Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker), LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge) Brent Spiner (Data), Michael Dorn (Worf) Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), and Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher). Of course, fans of Star Trek: TNG looked over that list and noticed on conspicuous absence: Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on the show.
Since Star Trek, Wil Wheaton has grown into a celebrity/geek culture icon all his own – so why isn't he coming back for Star Trek: Picard Season 3?
Wil Wheaton took to his personal blog to address his absence from Star Trek: Picard Season 3, stating that "I share some of your sadness, for my own reasons, but I choose to focus instead on how special it's going to be to see my family back together again, and how wonderful it's going to be to talk with them about it in the Ready Room."
It sounds like Wheaton isn't yet aware of why the makers of Star Trek: Picard didn't bring him back for Season 3. He's still very much attached to the franchise; as Wheaton mentioned, he hosts The Ready Room, a Star Trek TV aftershow that streams on Facebook Live, IGTV, YouTube, and Paramount+. That aftershow examines the various episodes of Star Trek TV that are streaming, with Wheaton often sitting down with stars and creators for behind-the-scenes talks. Then again, it could be that the very thing that is keeping Wil Wheaton relevant in Star Trek is what is also what is keeping him out of Picard. After all, it would be a little strange to have an actor who knows all the secrets of the show trying to also conduct interviews about it.
Wheaton treated fans to a nice bit of wishful thinking, finishing out his blog post with some fan-fiction imagining of how a reunion between Jean-Luc Picard and Wesley Crusher could happen in the series. Wheaton's version of Wesley's return would lean back into where Star Trek: TNG left the young cadet: traveling time and realities under the tutelage of the entity known as "The Traveler." While the Star Trek: Nemesis movie later brought Wesley back to Starfleet, Picard's time-reality bending storylines could easily bring "Traveler Wesley" back at some point (any point).
In fact: there's still plenty of time (no pun) for Wil Wheaton's Wesley Crusher / Traveler to be a climactic cameo to the events of Star Trek: Picard Season 3. Season 2 is currently streaming.