Over the weekend the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation reunited for the first time in 20 years at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, to the delight of thousands of Trekkies. If you missed it, you're not the only one, but at least you can have a vicarious moment with the cast by watching Wil Wheaton's emotional tribute to his fellow Trek alums.
Wheaton left The Next Generation after four seasons, leaving the rest of the cast to finish the series and make four feature films. During the reunion, Battlestar Galactica's Aaron Douglas asked him what it felt like to rejoin his castmates on stage. Wheaton responded with a heartfelt reflection on what it was like to leave the show.
"I left Star Trek: The Next Generation when I was 18 years old, and initially I thought that it was a really smart business, career move. In some ways it was, and in more ways it wasn't. What I was unprepared for was how much I was going to miss the people that are on this stage, and how much I was going to miss the spacesuit that I hated wearing and the helmet hair that I couldn't stand," Wheaton said.
Though he made occasional guest appearances on the show in later seasons and even showed up in the final TNG-era film, Nemesis, Wheaton said he felt "ashamed" about his departure, even to the point that he felt embarrassed to visit the set, or to invite the rest of the cast to his wedding. In later years, when he tried to apologize to his former Enterprise shipmates, Wheaton said every one of them had a warm response.
"To a person, everyone said 'Yeah, you were a kid. You were always welcome. You were always part of us.'
"To be here tonight, for me, it's very, very much for me, it's like coming home."
As the crowed cheered, Marina Sirtis ran across the stage to give Wheaton a teary hug, while Brent Spiner reached across to shake his hand. The only person who didn't get all sappy was LeVar Burton, who went for the laugh.
"To tell you the God's honest truth, you were a pain in the ass," Burton said. "But I'm glad you're here, because you're our pain in the ass."
Check out the full video of Wheaton's speech below. Warning: If you're an emotional Trek fan, you might get a bit choked up.