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How Dr. Crusher's Star Trek Return Ruined The Character According To Gates McFadden

Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) is absent from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" Season 2 due to a behind-the-scenes dispute with a creator. However, she returns for the third installment and remains part of the adventure until "Star Trek: TNG" ended after Season 7. Despite being a long-tenured member of the Star Trek family, McFadden believes that her character was ruined following her big comeback, as she explained in an interview for "The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to JJ Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek."

McFadden noted that Dr. Crusher lost all her best qualities in Season 3, and she doesn't like how the show portrays the character's relationship with her son, Wesley (Wil Wheaton). "Every time Wesley was in trouble or needed guidance, he went to a male figure, which I found a bit insulting, considering how many single parents there are in the world. When I came back I thought it would be just as it was, which is part of why I came back. I was disappointed to see it wasn't that way."

The performer believes that "Star Trek: The Next Generation" became more male-centric during the year she was gone, so the changes made to her character could have spawned from that creative shift. That said, some of McFadden's post-return issues are reminiscent of her reasons for temporarily leaving the show.

Gates McFadden was fired from Star Trek: The Next Generation

Gates McFadden cites sexism as the main reason for her leaving "Star Trek: The Next Generation." She said Hollywood was only interested in women's looks back then, and some people were against actors speaking up on the set. McFadden raised concerns about one "Star Trek: TNG" episode that features a planet full of women having the hots for William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) simply because he is a man. However, it wasn't the only storyline she felt projected dated ideas about gender.

While speaking to SBS Australia, McFadden said she was fired as writer-producer Maurice Hurley didn't like her speaking up. "What I've heard is that he said, 'Either she goes or I go.' I was shocked that they let me go because I knew my character was really popular. But he was going to be writing more and more and didn't want to have to deal with me. What was great was they got rid of him and asked me to come back."

Ultimately, McFadden returned to the series after a conversation with Patrick Stewart and the appointment of Rick Berman as showrunner. The actor has appeared in several "Star Trek" projects since then, even though she hasn't always been a fan of the way Dr. Crusher has been written. Despite this, the character has always been a fan-favorite, thanks to McFadden's performances.