"Shut up, kid."
Lieutenant junior grade Wesley Robert Crusher was the gifted son of Starfleet officers Lieutenant Commander Jack Crusher and Doctor Beverly Crusher. After several years aboard the USS Enterprise-D and three years at Starfleet Academy, his Starfleet career was cut short when he dropped out of the Academy and continued on to a unique life, accompanying the transdimensional Tau Alphan The Traveler.
When Wesley was only five years old, his father, Jack Crusher, was killed while on duty on the USS Stargazer under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Ten years later, fifteen-year-old Wesley found himself living aboard the starship USS Enterprise-D when his mother, Doctor Beverly Crusher became Captain Picard's chief medical officer aboard the ship. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")
Wesley often was a challenge and sore sight in the captain's eyes, because of the captain's disdain for children, although Wesley's astuteness and knowledge of engineering, as well as top grades on scientific examinations continuously impressed Picard. These same characteristics were, in part, the cause of Wesley suffering from loneliness early on, as his peers were intimidated by his bright mind – he also showed a tendency to take his duties almost too seriously.
When in 2364 the crew of the Enterprise became intoxicated with polywater and exhibited unusual manic behavior, Wesley, who had also became intoxicated, took control of engineering, appointing himself acting captain Wesley Crusher and barricading himself in engineering, watching as Jim Shimoda pulled out most of the isolinear chips that controlled the navigational system of the ship. This put the Enterprise in danger when a stellar core fragment was hurtling in their direction. However, the incident did allow Wesley to display his knowledge of the ship's inner workings and he proposed that they turn the starship's tractor beam into a repulsor beam to push away the Enterprise. This move gave the Enterprise the extra time needed for Data to finish the repairs so the ship could move. (TNG: "The Naked Now")
During a visit to the planet Rubicun III, Wesley accidentally disturbed the plants while playing and as punishment sentenced to death. Even though Picard was shocked at the sentence the inhabitants of the planet, the Edo, had imposed on Wesley, he nonetheless decided to respect their laws by not immediately beaming away Wesley. Picard discovered that the Edo were provided for by a mysterious object in their planet's orbit. After much inner struggle and extensive negotiations with the Edo that proved unfruitful, Picard decided that in this case he had no choice but to violate the Prime Directive to save Wesley's life. Despite the Edo's objection, he beamed Wesley to safety, preparing to battle the entity in space. However, the entity did not attack them and shortly after disappeared. (TNG: "Justice")
Later that year, Wesley was given his wish of being an adult who is taken seriously after Commander William T. Riker was given the power of the Q; but he rejected the change, stating that he wanted to get there on his own. (TNG: "Hide and Q")
In the attempt by Lore to hijack the Enterprise, it was Wesley who discovered that Lore was impersonating Data. In the beginning no one believed Wesley and he was sent off the bridge for making the accusation, but it turned out that Wesley had been in fact correct about Lore all along. (TNG: "Datalore")
When the Aldeans kidnapped the children on the Enterprise as they were unable to procreate, Wesley led the children in an act of defiance, encouraging them to not cooperate with the Aldeans so they would be forced to let them go back. After the Enterprise offered to cure the Aldeans, the children were released.(TNG: "When The Bough Breaks")
In 2364, Wesley befriended The Traveler when he accompanied Kosinski aboard the Enterprise-D to assist with warp drive efficiency upgrade experiments. When the ship was transported millions of light years to the M-33 Galaxy, Wesley assisted The Traveler in returning the ship to their own galaxy. It was just before the Enterprise's return to its original position that The Traveler informed Captain Picard of Wesley's prodigious abilities, telling him that Wesley was a genius with the intricacies of time, energy and propulsion and that those talents needed to be encouraged. However, he emphasized that neither Wesley nor his mother should ever be told any of this, as it was important that the boy cultivate those abilities naturally without interference.
Captain Picard, who was also very impressed with Wesley's contributions during that mission, granted him the field commission of acting ensign "for conduct in the true spirit and traditions of Starfleet" on stardate 41263.4. He told Wesley that whether that rank became permanent dependent on him. He also instructed Commander William Riker to make out a duty roster for him to learn the ship and its operations from top to bottom so he would be ready for the Starfleet Academy Entrance Exam. (TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before")
Late in 2364, Wesley took the Starfleet Academy entrance exam, but did not pass. However, his spirits were lifted when Picard told him that he too had failed the exam the first time. (TNG: "Datalore", "Coming of Age")
In 2365, Crusher met Salia, a young girl who was to be the ruler of Daled IV. Salia was tended to by Anya, an allasomorph who could change shapes. She threatened Wesley but was stopped by Salia. Although she, too, was smitten with Wesley, she chose to do her duty and left the Enterprise. (TNG: "The Dauphin")
In 2365, William Riker assigned Wesley command of a science team with the mission of investigating Selcundi Drema. Wesley chose Prixus, Alans, Hildebrant and Davies to serve on his team. (TNG: "Pen Pals")
One of Wesley's experiments went wrong and almost destroyed the Enterprise. He had created nanites, small robots, that were replicating and becoming sentient. After a scientist on board Enterprise, Dr. Paul Stubbs, tried to kill them because they had interfered with his experiment, they attacked the ship. Data allowed them to enter his body in order to speak through him, and a solution was found. (TNG: "Evolution")
Wesley successfully completed his written exams for Starfleet Academy in 2366 but did not complete his oral exams that year when he failed to board the USS Bradbury for the journey to Earth. When reviewing his service record, Captain Picard felt that Wesley's service made him an acting ensign in name only, and promoted him to full ensign, with all responsibilities and privileges – including the right to wear a Starfleet uniform. Wesley served as ensign aboard the Enterprise for the next year before leaving to become a cadet. (TNG: "Ménage à Troi", "Final Mission")
After being accepted to Starfleet Academy, Picard offered to accompany Wesley to Earth, but first had to stop on Pentarus to mediate a dispute. The two were to travel with a representative of the planet named Dirgo. Their shuttle crashed and they were stranded on a desert planet. They found a water fountain in a cave but it was guarded by a force field. When Dirgo fired on the field, an electrical pulse discharged, causing a rock slide that seriously injured Picard. Later Dirgo was killed by the same pulse. Wesley was able to disengage the force field and get water, saving Picard. They were rescued by the Enterprise shortly after. (TNG: "Final Mission")
A year later, Wesley visited his mother on the Enterprise while on break from the Academy. Over the course of his visit, he developed an attraction to Ensign Robin Lefler. During his visit, both he and Robin discovered that the crew was acting strangely by obsessively playing a game. The game turned out to be a mind control device; it had been given to Riker on Risa in an attempt to capture the Enterprise. With the help of Lefler, Wesley and Data were able to disable the devices and restore the crew to normal. Before he left, Lefler gave Wesley a copy of "her laws" as a memento. (TNG: "The Game")
At the Academy, Wesley had become a member of the elite Nova Squadron. His graduation in 2368 was troubled, however, when a deadly accident with his Nova Squadron comrades precipitated in a cover-up. During the ceremony, Wesley and his comrades had engaged in a dangerous and prohibited flight maneuver known as the Kolvoord Starburst which caused the death of cadet Joshua Albert. Wesley, led by his well-spoken squadron leader Nicholas Locarno lied at the hearing, trying to blame the accident on Albert. But Picard eventually found out and confronted Wesley about it. He was angered but also disappointed in the boy, telling him that regardless of the loyalty he felt towards Locarno and his other comrades, his number one duty as a Starfleet officer was always to the truth. Picard threatened to come forward with his evidence unless Wesley did. Hesitantly, Wesley came forward with the truth and barely escaped expulsion.
All his grades and work for that academic year were voided as punishment and he was required to repeat the year. He was crushed, having disappointed and let down everybody: his friends, instructors, the captain and even his mother. He apologized to Picard for having behaved that way. Picard told him that he knew what the right thing to do was all along and that he just needed a little reminder. Wesley continued with his studies and went through the year but the penalty and the shame that came with it contributed to a significant loss of enthusiasm for a career in Starfleet. (TNG: "The First Duty")
In 2370, cadet Crusher resigned from Starfleet Academy after The Traveler - posing as a villager on Dorvan V - guided him through a vision of his deceased father who told him that his destiny lay somewhere other than with Starfleet and that he should not follow in his footsteps. Much to his mother's and Picard's disappointment yet with their support, Wesley heeded the advice after which The Traveler revealed his true identity and promised to mentor the young man on his new journey, presumably to other planes of existence. (TNG: "Journey's End")
Wesley met an allasomorph named Salia on her journey to the planet that she was to rule. However, she deceived him about how she truly appeared and he was understandably upset when it was revealed to him in the manner that it was. He was able to reconcile with Salia before she left Enterprise. (TNG: "The Dauphin")
Alternate Wesley Crushers
Wesley was holographically duplicated at least twice.
Lt. Reginald Barclay in 2366 recreated Wesley at least twice when he was suffering from holo-addiction. In one of his holo-fantasies, Wesley was an ill-mannered slob and his mother had to chide him, saying that "Master Barclay" would spank him if he misbehaved. In another, the entire crew of the Enterprise-D was recreated, and this Wesley was present when Barclay said goodbye to his fantasies and deleted the programs. (TNG: "Hollow Pursuits")
Alternate realities and timelines
In one quantum reality, Wesley Crusher served as a full lieutenant on the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain Riker with the positions of security chief and tactical officer in 2370. (TNG: "Parallels")
- 2364: USS Enterprise-D acting ensign
- 2364-2366: USS Enterprise-D Conn Officer, acting ensign
- 2366-2367: USS Enterprise-D Conn Officer, ensign
- 2367-2370: Starfleet Academy's Nova Squadron, cadet
- 2379: Starfleet lieutenant junior grade
- "Encounter at Farpoint"
- "The Naked Now"
- "Code of Honor"
- "Where No One Has Gone Before"
- "Lonely Among Us"
- "The Battle"
- "Hide and Q"
- "The Big Goodbye"
- "Angel One"
- "Home Soil"
- "When The Bough Breaks"
- "Coming of Age"
- "Skin of Evil"
- "The Child" (Season 2)
- "Where Silence Has Lease"
- "The Outrageous Okona"
- "The Schizoid Man"
- "Loud As A Whisper"
- "Unnatural Selection"
- "A Matter Of Honor"
- "The Measure Of A Man"
- "The Dauphin"
- "The Royale"
- "The Icarus Factor"
- "Pen Pals"
- "Q Who"
- "Samaritan Snare"
- "Peak Performance"
- "Shades of Gray"
- "The Ensigns of Command" (Season 3)
- "The Survivors"
- "The Bonding"
- "Booby Trap"
- "The Enemy"
- "The Price"
- "The Vengeance Factor"
- "The Hunted"
- "The High Ground"
- "A Matter of Perspective"
- "Yesterday's Enterprise"
- "The Offspring"
- "Sins of the Father"
- "Tin Man"
- "Hollow Pursuits"
- "The Most Toys"
- "Ménage à Troi"
- "The Best of Both Worlds"
- "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" (Season 4)
- "Suddenly Human"
- "Remember Me"
- "Final Mission"
- "The Game" (Season 5)
- "The First Duty"
- "Parallels" (Season 7)
- "Journey's End"
- Star Trek Nemesis
On the special The Star Trek Saga: From One Generation To The Next, in an interview with Gene Roddenberry, he says that Wesley was built a little bit after himself at the age of 14, although Roddenberry admits he was never the genius that Wesley was. (Gene's middle name was Wesley).
During the early development of the series, Robert Justman convinced Roddenberry to change the character into a female, with the name "Leslie Crusher". As Justman told him, "Geez, everybody has boy teenagers; let's do a girl. Let's explore the problems that female adolescents go through, you know, because that's never done." However, the character was later turned back into a boy, as in the original concept. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion), .
- LESLIE CRUSHER - An appealing 15 year old caucasian girl (need small 18 or almost 18 to play 15). Her remarkable mind and photographic memory make it seem not unlikely for her to become, at 15, a Starfleet acting-ensign. Otherwise, she is a normal teenager.
- Wesley "Wes" Crusher: A four foot ten inch, fifteen-year-old boy. Several centuries previous he might have been one of the young wizards who were introducing computers to a puzzled world, but here on the starship he begins as the son (sole family) of Beverly Crusher, the Enterprise's chief medical officer.
- Wes has inherited the genius of both of his parents. This is apparent in his superior memory and his insight into the mechanics of computer circuitry and starship warp engines. (...) Otherwise, he's a normal fifteen-year-old boy.
Wesley Crusher also has the distinction of being one of sci-fi's most hated characters. In a poll done by Maxim magazine only Star Wars' Jar Jar Binks topped Crusher's level of annoyance. The fans polled were mostly quoted as saying he was "forced down their throats." (citation needed • edit) Fans expressed annoyance that Wesley always seemed to be the one to save the Enterprise, however, during an interview on DVD special features, Wheaton claimed that Wesley only saved the ship 'one and a half times.' Nevertheless, in his reviews of early TNG episodes, Wheaton admits that he understands where the fans' hatred comes from and lays the blame firmly at the feet of the writers for making the character seem pretentious, through dialogue and through their tendency to have Wesley deduce answers too easily, as in the episode TNG: "The Battle"' when Wesley made everyone else (including, in Wheaton's own words, "the hypersmart robot") look ridiculous by too easily solving the problem from just "glancing" at sensor readings that no one else could solve. According to Wheaton, even he hated Wesley after these kinds of scenes. Other complaints include the costume department's selection of sweaters for him and the treatment he received by most of the directors. In his words, only one treated him as a person instead of a living prop.
In a deleted scene from the Special Edition DVD of Star Trek Nemesis, Wesley explains at the wedding scene that he was being assigned to the USS Titan under Captain William Riker as part of the Engineering team. No explanation for his return from his journey with The Traveler was given. This scene is also featured in the novelization of Nemesis.
Ronald D. Moore commented:
- "I was the one who pushed to get Wesley out of the Academy and send him off with the Traveler. I felt that there was a built-in contradiction in a character that we'd said was like Mozart in his appreciation of higher mathematics and physics, yet was just on the same career path as any Starfleet cadet. I didn't get it – if Wes is truly special and gifted, what the hell is he doing at the Helm? It seemed like he was only going to the Academy to live up to the memory of his father and the expectations of Picard, not because it was his best destiny. "Journey's End" also seemed like an opportunity to see someone walk away from Starfleet with their head held high and just say "It's cool, but not for me." I was tired of everyone in the 24th century saying, "All I want to do is wear the uniform and serve on a starship." Hey, it's cool, but it's not for everyone. So I pushed to have Wes realize his destiny was elsewhere and have him walk away." (AOL chat, 1997)
In April 2002, ZENtertainment (a now-defunct Hollywood news source) reported  "Ashley Judd was on Letterman the other night to promote her new movie, High Crimes. Letterman surprised her with a clip of her appearance on TNG, where she went on a date with Wesley Crusher. Judd mentioned that she was reprising the role (of Robin Lefler) in Star Trek Nemesis as Wesley's wife."  This never happened, however.
This was also reported by About Sci-Fi, which added to the report "... Wil Wheaton, however, says he's heard nothing about that. Somehow, I'm not surprised Wesley doesn't know he's married."
Later on, "Judd's spokesperson denied this cameo appearance." 
In the A Time for War, A Time for Peace novel series, Wesley's uniform is explained by him showing up to Riker's and Troi's wedding naked, having expected a Betazoid wedding, and the uniform lent to him. In this scenario, Wesley was still a Traveler and had not returned to Starfleet.