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Why Wil Wheaton Was Hesitant About Guest-Starring In The Big Bang Theory

Throughout its reign atop the television mountain, "The Big Bang Theory" became known for several things. Arguably the most important of which was the cast that boasts a number of now-television icons. The theory-spawning Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons), Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), and more helped build the sitcom from the ground up, but they didn't do so all on their own. Let's not forget that "The Big Bang Theory" hosted numerous guest stars in its time, from Mark Hamill to Bob Newhart. Although, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" alum Wil Wheaton stands among the most widely-remembered. 

Unlike most "Big Bang Theory" cameos that only last for a scene or potentially a couple of episodes, Wil Wheaton became a recurring part of the show. As Sheldon Cooper's sworn enemy — all because he didn't get to meet him at a "Star Trek" convention in 1995 — Wheaton is portrayed as a villain for much of the series. However, he and Cooper eventually squash their beef over an autographed Wesley Crusher action figure, becoming friends from then on. All in all, the Wheaton-Cooper conflict is a fun side story and a highlight of "The Big Bang Theory," but did you know that it almost didn't happen?

Initially, Wil Wheaton wasn't so sure that "The Big Bang Theory" was the right fit for him. Here's why.

Wheaton worried that The Big Bang Theory was harsh toward nerds

When it comes to Wil Wheaton's hesitation toward appearing on "The Big Bang Theory," the sticking points had nothing to do with the usual suspects in Hollywood — pay, the work schedule, etc. Rather, he was unsure if he wanted to take part out of fear of how the show depicts nerd culture. "Whenever somebody in entertainment wants to do something about our culture, odds are the nerds are going to be the butt of the joke. So I was super not into it," he revealed in the 2022 book "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series." Nevertheless, he gave it a shot and was happily proven wrong about the show's intent.

As Wil Wheaton's career has gone on, he's made it known just how much he values being a nerd and marching to the beat of his own drum. As he told Nuke the Fridge in a September 2022 interview, "When I accepted and embraced and leaned into, 'Yes, I am a nerd,' all these other people were like, 'I'm a nerd too,' like I found all my people. I found all my friends." To him, there's a sense of community in fandom that's not unlike the connection between baseball or football fans. Being a nerd has allowed Wheaton to truly be himself among people with similar interests, hence why he wasn't so keen on the potentially anti-nerd "Big Bang Theory" at first.

"The Big Bang Theory" cracks the occasional joke at the expense of nerds, but at the end of the day, that's not all it has to offer — a fact that allowed Wil Wheaton such a memorable tenure on the show.