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Old May 2 2014, 08:33 PM   #2
Christopher
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Re: Is Spock the main character of TOS?

albion432 wrote: View Post
Is Spock the main character of TOS (sans Abrams reboot)?
Kirk was meant to be the main character of TOS. But Spock was the breakout star, proving hugely popular with viewers (especially female viewers) and getting more fan mail than the rest of the cast combined. So the network kept pushing for more Spock, wanting to elevate him to the main character. If Roddenberry hadn't resisted that pressure, Spock might've ended up following a similar route to Dr. Smith in Lost in Space or Fonzie in Happy Days, completely dominating the show to the expense of its nominal leads. But Roddenberry and Shatner both strove to keep Kirk central as he was intended to be. At Isaac Asimov's suggestion, Roddenberry played up the friendship and partnership between Kirk and Spock, making them inseparable and equal. McCoy was also able to stay central due to his friendly rivalry with Spock.

So it isn't really right to say "Spock was the main character" as if that were the intention all along. He was the breakout character.


Here are some facts to support this idea:
1. Spock was the first character Roddenberry created for Star Trek after getting the obligatory “Number One” character of out of the way, which he conceived to fulfil a promised he made to his mistress and future wife that she’d be a part of his next series.
Source, please? I haven't heard that before, and it sounds unlikely. We know that Roddenberry was inspired by the Horatio Hornblower novels, so it seems likely that the first character he conceived was the captain (although it took him a long time to settle on a name).

A lot has been written about the development and production of ST, but I can't recall reading anything about Roddenberry's earliest creative process before the original 1964 pitch document, which lists multiple characters including Captain April (later Pike), Number One, Jose Ortegas (later Tyler), Dr. Boyce, the "probably half-Martian" first lieutenant Spock, and Yeoman Colt, in that order. Note that Spock is second-last in the list, hardly the position you'd expect to find the lead character.


2. Spock was the only character from Roddenberry’s initial series proposal to survive into the series proper, and the only character Roddenberry fought for tooth and nail to keep in the series.
Well, technically. Early Kirk is really the exact same character as Pike, and McCoy is the exact same character as Boyce (he'd even tried to cast DeForest Kelley as Boyce and then Piper). All he really did was change their names and recast the actors.

And the reason he didn't fight for Number One too is because he didn't want to admit that the network objected to him casting his mistress, so he abandoned the character altogether and claimed later that the network had forced him to drop her because they weren't ready for a female first officer (even though they actually quite liked the idea).


3. Spock is the only TOS character whose immediate family we see and get to know with any depth (we do see Kirk’s (dead )brother, sister-in-law, and nephew in one episode and McCoy’s father is briefly seen in ST: V).
That's a consequence of the popularity Spock gained once the show was on the air. It doesn't reflect the original intentions for the character.
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