According to Wil Wheaton, his role of Wesley Crusher came courtesy of David Gerrold.
Wheaton had come to Gerrold’s notice in Stand By Me.
Wheaton shared his story while on Larry King Now promoting his forthcoming show The Wil Wheaton Project.
“There’s a great story that David Gerrold, who was one of the writers on Next Generation, who wrote the classic Star Trek episode The Trouble with Tribbles, said to Gene Roddenberry, ‘I don’t think you should put a kid on this show; people don’t like kids on science fiction shows,'” said Wheaton. ”
But Roddenberry was adamant about having a young character on the show. “And Gene said, ‘I want to have a kid on the show so that younger audiences have a character to connect to, and I want family to be part of this new series.'”
Gerrold had a recommendation since Roddenberry was so determined on the matter. “And David Gerrold said, ‘If you’re going to put a kid on the show you better put a kid in that role that can handle it; I have just seen this kid Wil Wheaton in Stand By Me. He’s a big deal with the teeny-boppers and teen magazines, and I think you should come and read him for the part.’ David gave me the memo that he sent to Gene and Bob Justman, and I have it at home.”
Wheaton’s new project, The Wil Wheaton Project, airs on SyFy May 27 at 10 PM.