In TNG 3x24 "Menage a Troi" (and perhaps a great many other episodes; this is just the one I happen to be watching at the time I noticed) Wesley Crusher's communicator badge appears to be all silver, lacking the gold that is present in all the other commbadges, until he first appears in uniform.

While it is logical to speculate that this is because Wesley is an acting ensign, is there ever a canonical explanation, or any production notes that explain why this is so?

Wesley Crusher- note commbadge Captain Picard - note commbadge

  • At least for "False Future", it's explained. Good question.
    – Solemnity
    Mar 2, 2013 at 4:47
  • And here is the actual silver-backed prop for sale (cheap?).
    – Solemnity
    Mar 2, 2013 at 4:49
  • @Solemnity: The linked page makes it clear that it's a replica, not an original. Mar 2, 2013 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


I don't recall an in-show statement, but Memory Alpha seems to suggest this is a Provisional Officer's badge :

A Starfleet combadge issued to provisional officers in the 2360s. (TNG: "Sins of the Father")

I'm currently looking thru other episodes to verify, but it seems likely that it's exactly as you say -- it's because he's an Ensign. This appears to be confirmed by the fact that he's always seen wearing it on (and only on) the grey uniform he was given after being made a Full Ensign, not the striped top he wore as an acting Ensign; as an acting Ensign (and before) he doesn't appear to have worn a combadge.

His cadet uniform has the gold badge.

Wesley as a Cadet

His 'Acting Ensign' (not a formal uniform) top has no badge.
Acting Ensign Crusher
Nor do any of his other outfits enter image description here!enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • always assumed the combadge could be clipped on to the uniform in some way, maybe velcro or something like that. So the lower picture he probably didn't bother to transfer it from his regular uniform, looks like he's in pajamas or other civvies. The sleepy look in his eyes suggests similar :)
    – jwenting
    Mar 2, 2013 at 6:18
  • Perhaps, but I've looked at all the pictures I could find of him, and NONE of them had a comm badge on that shirt. Given that resignation usually involves removing the badge and giving it back, I suspect it's a minor indication of status as a Starfleet Officer. Try hitting images.google.com and searching for 'wesley crusher sweater' -- lots of images in that outfit and others, and none with a comm badge.
    – K-H-W
    Mar 2, 2013 at 6:42
  • 3
    The gray uniform with the coloured stripes were Wesley's regular (civilian) costume before he became an acting ensign - the solid gray uniform in the original question's picture was the acting-ensign uniform. He upgraded to a full red uniform (with black shoulders) on being made a full-ensign before attending the academy.
    – HorusKol
    Mar 2, 2013 at 11:31
  • @jwenting: Trough out all series we see people easily remove and reattach their communicators. Also we see some which are removing it and placing it besides their bed when going to sleep. Since it is their preferred form of communication and even the main system to locate someone (not to mention that you can do all sorts of amazing things with it, from sending distress signals to powering and hacking whole system *rolls.eyes*), I doubt that someone would simply not "bother" to transfer it onto a new uniform. And no, I don't have another explanation, sorry.
    – Bobby
    Mar 2, 2013 at 12:15
  • 1
    @jwenting: What are you guys all saying?! ALL the civilian outfits look like pajamas! Aug 25, 2015 at 18:11

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