There are plenty of parent-child relationships in the Star Trek Universe. Worf has his son, Alexander, Deanna Troi has her mother Lwaxana, and Data… kind of has a mom, it’s complicated. But the parent-child relationship that has had the most screen time in Star Trek: The Next Generation is by far Dr. Beverly Crusher and her son, Wesley — a family that has been reunited during the SAG-AFTRA protests.
Earlier this week, Gates McFadden (who played Dr. Crusher) posted a photo of herself and Wil Wheaton (who played Wesley Crusher), to the website formerly known as Twitter. Along with the photo, she posted the hashtag “#unitetoCRUSHtheGREED,” a clear reference to the onscreen family’s last name.
These Star Trek stars are taking part in the strike, which has both actors and writers fighting for certain demands that studios are reluctant to agree to. Among these demands are that studios not replace them with AI, and that actors and writers actually get paid residuals when their films are placed on streaming services. Studio heads have called these demands unrealistic, with one disclosing anonymously that they plan to drag things out until SAG-AFTRA members start losing their homes.
Dr. Crusher and Wesley Crusher were both major characters in the long-running Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wesley Crusher appeared in 84 of the series’ 178 episodes, while Dr. Crusher appeared in a whopping 154. The series often explored the mother-son dynamic between the two characters, who had no shortage of screen time together.
Wil Wheaton in particular has spoken out about the importance of residuals for actors — especially child actors. According to Wheaton, his parents took the entire salary he earned when performing in Star Trek: The Next Generation — meaning that the only income he received for his performances was the residuals. Actors whose shows are only ever viewed on streaming would have nothing to live off of.
This is particularly important for actors like Gates McFadden and Wil Wheaton, whose careers pretty much peaked with Star Trek: The Next Generation. While both McFadden and Wheaton have continued to act after the series ended in 1994, their roles have been sporadic at best. Their careers have mostly consisted of appearing as guest stars or minor characters in TV shows.
This is especially true for McFadden whose 10-episode appearance on Star Trek: Picard is the largest role she’s had in a TV show since 1995, when she starred in the single-season TV series Marker. While she appeared in all the Star Trek: The Next Generation films during the intervening years, her other largest roles are four-episode appearances in both Mad About You and Franklin & Bash.
She has also appeared in one episode each of The Practice, The Division, The Handler, Family Guy, Scary Endings, and NCIS.
Wil Wheaton, on the other hand, has had more luck with his post-Star Trek career, especially after he received a surge in popularity in the early 2010s. After regular appearances in The Guild, he began getting both acting and voice acting roles in multiple geek-centric TV shows, such as The Big Bang Theory and multiple Transformers series.