‘The Big Bang Theory’: Wil Wheaton Secured His Role With a Tweet

Wil Wheaton has been getting steady work since he was just a child. From science fiction to horror and everything in between, Wheaton has picked up regular work for almost forty years. However, after decades in show-business, his easiest job might have been a series of appearances on the hit television series The Big Bang TheoryTo get that job, Wheaton only had to tweet his interest. 

Wil Wheaton smiling in front of a dark blue background
Wil Wheaton | Michael Tran/Getty Images

Wheaton’s career

According to IMDb, Wheaton was just eight years old when he got his first role in the television movie A Long Way Home, but with each passing part after that, his star began to rise. It was his turn in the hit Rob Reiner film Stand By Me that changed everything, however. With an all-star cast that included Jerry O’Connell, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Kiefer Sutherland, the film was a massive hit, and nearly every castmember had success after that. 

This gave way to more roles in films like The Curse and Toy Soldiers. However, Wheaton’s most significant role came in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Playing the young Wesley Crusher, Wheaton’s youth was a punchline on the show, but his role in the massively successful show made him an icon to a different fan base. 

While Wheaton never reached the level, he did in Star Trek again. He’s maintained a long and steady career in both television and movies. On top of this, he has become a prominent voice actor who can be heard in several video games, television shows, and audiobooks. Perhaps, his biggest role since Star Trek is the recurring one that he was born to play on The Big Bang Theory — himself. 

The Big Bang Theory 

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The Big Bang Theory was one of CBS’s biggest hits. A show that proudly featured several nerdy characters, the sitcom embraced this concept with many high-profile cameos throughout its 12-year run. From Star Wars to Star Trek, the series became a landing spot for big-name actors from several of the biggest shows in nerd culture. 

One of the most famous instances of this, however, was Wheaton. While the cameos on the show ranged from actors playing original characters to actors playing themselves, Wheaton blurred the line by playing a highly-fictionalized version of himself. Treated like a god among the main cast of the show, Wheaton appeared sporadically throughout the show’s colossal run. 

Wheaton appeared in 17 episodes, making him an unofficial member of the cast. Wheaton was not part of the gang, however. He became a villain for the show’s eccentric Sheldon. From Dungeons and Dragons matches with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to happenstance run-ins on the street, Wheaton provided the laughs every time he stepped on screen, and eventually made peace with Sheldon by the end of his last appearance. 

However, to secure the role, Wheaton may have had to do less work than any other role he played in his career. 

How Wil Wheaton got the role

According to ScreenRant, Wheaton’s role in the hit CBS show practically landed in his lap. He posted about his love for the series on Twitter, and before long, he was invited to be a part of the show. While playing himself may seem like a walk in the park, however, Wheaton had to get out of his own head to make it work. He spoke about this with TV Insider

“The first choice that I made as an actor was that the version of Wil Wheaton, who appears in TBBT universe, isn’t married, which immediately took me out of my head and my comfort zone to where I could think [of me] as a different character. He is who I would be if I’d never met my wife,” he told the website.

It must have worked. All of his appearances were hits with fans, and while Wheaton might not have planned on going to the show when he tweeted about his love, having someone like him on board helped feed into the mythos. Wheaton might have other iconic roles in his future, but few will ever resonate as much as the fictionalized version of himself that he played on The Big Bang Theory.