Star Trek: Picard has accomplished a remarkable achievement by concealing a significant spoiler not once, but twice. The Season 3 The Next Generation reunion was kept a secret by the show, who revealed the significant occasion on their own schedule. Additionally, the production managed to keep Wesley Crusher/Traveler, played by Wil Wheaton, under wraps, surprise audiences with his presence in the Season 2 finale “Farewell.” Given the fans’ justifiably outraged response to the Season 3 announcement when Wheaton’s name wasn’t included, this accomplishment is even more remarkable. However, given that his last significant appearance in the Star Trek universe occurred about 28 years ago, viewers might find it difficult to recall how he came to be in this position and who he is. In 1994, some Star Trek fans weren’t even born. I was not!
The first manager to be seen in the Star Trek universe was Gary Seven (Robert Lansing), who made his debut in the 1968 episode “Assignment: Earth” of Star Trek: The Original Series. Seven is being beamed onto Earth when the USS Enterprise travels back in time to undertake historical research. Gary’s goal is to stop the launch of a nuclear weapon. By the end of the episode, he is successful and stays on Earth to support upcoming missions that will assist maintain the continuity of time. Wesley’s Traveler arc would heavily rely on this piece of history even though Seven only appears in one episode of The Original Series.
Supervisors themselves don’t appear in Star Trek again until Picard introduces Tallinn (Orla Brady) as an ancestor of the already-present Laris, who is also played by Brady. Her task is to keep an eye on and safeguard Renee Picard so that she can find a microorganism on the Europa Mission in 2024 that can aid in the fight against climate change. Tallinn is a disguised Romulan operating on Earth, unlike Seven who was taken by the Travelers millennia before the present. The two agents demonstrate that Supervisors can have a wide range of missions, from stopping violence to safeguarding important people. In his unexpected entrance on “Farewell,” Crusher hires Kore (Isa Briones) for this position.
The introduction of The Traveler Travelers on The Next Generation didn’t occur until a 3-episode series-spanning arc. In the premiere episode of Season 1, “Where No One Has Gone Before,” The Traveler (Eric Menyuk) made his first appearance. The Traveler is endowed with a wide range of powers, many of which have the power to change reality, time, and space. They were the secret driving force behind the propulsion expert’s new groundbreaking hypothesis, acting as a Starfleet propulsion expert’s aide to study humans. They are unintentionally sent to a new galaxy, the end of the universe, and back to the Milky Way while aboard the Enterprise by The Traveler. They take notice of Wesley while he is on board, which inadvertently prompts Picard (Patrick Stewart) to elevate him to the rank of acting ensign, thus influencing Wesley’s life.
In the Season 4 episode “Remember Me,” The Traveler makes an additional appearance. Wesley, who has grown up and started to hone his Traveler skills, unintentionally captures Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) in a warp bubble during an experiment, trapping her in a different reality. The Traveler must persuade Wesley of his own ability in order to help return her to safety, but when they sense the problem, the powers take The Traveler back to the Enterprise and are able to help.
The Traveler and Wesley both make their final appearances in Season 7 Episode 20, “Journey’s End,” which is also Wesley’s final appearance until his brief cameo in Star Trek: Nemesis, which is even shorter than his scene in Picard because most of his appearance was cut from the scene that was included in the film. In this episode, The Traveler approaches Crusher undercover as a villager, which causes him to see his father in a vision. Wesley, who was already doubtful of his Starfleet destiny, is advised by him to pursue his true path outside of Starfleet. Wesley takes the advise to heart and steps down. Wesley dissociates from time later, amid a riot on a planet, and The Traveler exposes their true nature since he is prepared to start his new adventure.
The cameo by the younger Crusher not only strengthens the bond between the Travelers and their selected Supervisors, but it also clarifies Wesley’s very different The Next Generation ending and his appearance at William Riker’s (Jonathan Frakes) wedding in Nemesis. Even though he wears Starfleet attire at the ceremony, it’s likely that this is only a projected appearance, just as The Traveler did in “Journey’s End.” It is evident that Wesley has spent a lot of time travelling and keeping the passage of time consistent from his comic explication in his recruitment speech to Kore. Although his days as Wesley Crusher are long gone, this new Traveler can still remember his time as a young ensign aboard the USS Enterprise, and he can draw on all of his experiences to win over other lost souls.
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