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Old May 7 2013, 05:06 PM   #1
alpha_leonis
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How characters received their names

For some reason, I find the following stories fascinating:
  • Montgomery Scott was named after James Doohan's grandfather.
  • Khan Noonien Singh and Noonien Soong were both named after an Indian gentleman that Gene Roddenberry had met in some context (during his military service?), and he used the character names as a way to try to reconnect with that man.
  • Christine Chapel's name is a pun on the Sistine Chapel.
  • Geordi LaForge was named after George LaForge, a quadriplegic fan of TOS who died in 1975.
  • Odo's name was deliberately created as a palindrome, as a reflection on the character's mysterious origins and personality. (The in-universe "adapted Cardassian/Bajoran" story was tacked on later.)
  • Jonathan Archer was originally supposed to be named Jackson Archer, but the name was changed when the producers discovered there is already exactly one *real* Jackson Archer in the United States, and they didn't want the legal liability of "naming a character after a real person", even unintentionally.
Any other stories like these that anybody's aware of?

Last edited by alpha_leonis; May 7 2013 at 05:31 PM.
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Old May 7 2013, 05:19 PM   #2
Christopher
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Re: How characters received their names

alpha_leonis wrote: View Post
Khan Noonien Singh and Noonien Soong were both named after an Indian gentleman that Gene Roddenberry had met in some context (during his military service?), and he used the character names as a way to try to reconnect with that man.
Actually, according to recent research by John and Maria Tenuto, it was a Chinese man named Noonien Wang. Which clears up a lot for me, because "Noonien" is very much not an Indian name. (It's weird that Roddenberry would give a Chinese name to a Sikh character, but back then, Americans seemed to treat all of Asia as one interchangeable mass. I recently watched a 1965 Man from UNCLE episode in which a line from the Rubaiyat, a Persian poem, is used as a code name for a boy lama from a Himalayan country!)


Any other stories like these that anybody's aware of?
Well, we already have a thread on how Sulu was named for the Sulu Sea in the Philippines to represent his "pan-Asian" heritage, and "Uhura" is the Swahili word for freedom, uhuru, with a Latin feminine suffix grafted on.

Commodore Robert Wesley was named after a pseudonym Roddenberry had used early in his writing career. Wesley was his middle name, and was also the source of Wesley Crusher's name.

Jean-Luc Picard was originally called Julien Picard. His surname was in honor of the Piccard family of scientists and balloonists. Will Riker was going to be Bill Ryker. "Data" was supposed to be pronounced with a short A, according to the original writers' bible. Julian Bashir was going to be Julian Amoros. Janeway's first name was originally Elizabeth, then Nicole during Genevieve Bujold's brief tenure in the role, finally becoming Kathryn after the Hepburnesque Kate Mulgrew was cast.
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Old May 8 2013, 01:19 AM   #3
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Re: How characters received their names

In "What are Little Girls Made Of?", Helen Noel must have been named for the fact that Kirk met her at a Christmas party.

And Lethe, the zombie-like inmate, is named for the river of forgetfulness in Hades.
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Old May 8 2013, 01:56 AM   #4
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Re: How characters received their names



How is it I never realized this before?
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Old May 8 2013, 02:44 AM   #5
Flying Spaghetti Monster
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Re: How characters received their names

Guinan was named after Texas Guinan, a famous bartender

JemHadar I hear was an Indian name meaning Warrior. Now I'm reading it was Hindi. I'll try to get confirmation.

Locutus means "one who speaks"

Though not a name, April 5 was chosen because it was the writer's son's birthday.

Butler was named after Shatner's dog that had recently died. He was originally going to be named Jake, after a dog that belonged to a writer that had died. Overruled on the set by the Shat!
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Old May 8 2013, 02:54 AM   #6
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Re: How characters received their names

ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
In "What are Little Girls Made Of?", Helen Noel must have been named for the fact that Kirk met her at a Christmas party.

And Lethe, the zombie-like inmate, is named for the river of forgetfulness in Hades.
Ahem, that's Dagger of the Mind.
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Old May 8 2013, 04:18 AM   #7
Christopher
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Re: How characters received their names

Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: View Post
JemHadar I hear was an Indian name meaning Warrior. Now I'm reading it was Hindi. I'll try to get confirmation.
Umm, Hindi is the main language spoken in India. No contradiction there. Although jemadar is actually from Urdu, another Indian language, and is in turn derived from Persian and Arabic. It was a historic term for generals serving the nobility, although it had various other meanings and was adopted in the British Indian Army as an equivalent to lieutenant's rank.

Along similar lines, "Ferengi" is derived from the Arabic or Persian word for a European (derived from "Frank," i.e. a Frenchman). Why, I have no idea.


Though not a name, April 5 was chosen because it was the writer's son's birthday.
Took me some digging to figure out that was the date of First Contact. You could also mention that Brannon Braga chose his hometown of Bozeman, Montana as the site of that event (and also named Captain Bateson's ship after it).
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Old May 8 2013, 05:09 AM   #8
Harvey
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Re: How characters received their names

A couple of more obscure, but interesting ones, from my research...

For "The Savage Curtain," de Forest Research made this naming contribution on December 3, 1968:

Lvak – No conflicts, however, during three seasons, the precedent has been established of giving male Vulcans names beginning with the letter “S.” E.G.s: Spock, Sarek, Stonn, etc. To conform, suggest: Savak, Solak, Surak...
For "Whom Gods Destroy," de Forest Research made this contribution on September 10, 1967:

Garth of Titan – Titan is the name of Saturn’s largest moon. By Star Trek time, 200 years in future, our solar system will be suburbia. Is this meant to indicate that Garth comes from Titan? If meant to indicate an exploit, suggest: Garth of Izar.
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Old May 8 2013, 05:22 AM   #9
JirinPanthosa
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Re: How characters received their names

TV shows can't name a character after anybody out of the 300 million people in the United States?

How do any TV characters have common names?!
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Old May 8 2013, 05:39 AM   #10
Third Nacelle
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Re: How characters received their names

^It's fine to give a character a name that 10,000 people have. They just don't use a name that only one person has.
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Old May 8 2013, 06:00 AM   #11
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Re: How characters received their names

I've heard that's why they changed Archer's first name from Jackson to Jonathan. Can anyone confirm?
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Old May 8 2013, 06:17 AM   #12
R. Star
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Re: How characters received their names

I heard the Romulans were inspired by the Romans.
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Old May 8 2013, 06:32 AM   #13
Third Nacelle
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Re: How characters received their names

Romulus and Remus were named after the mythical twins that founded Rome.
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Old May 8 2013, 07:03 AM   #14
scotpens
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Re: How characters received their names

R. Star wrote: View Post
I heard the Romulans were inspired by the Romans.
Even to the point of having a character named Decius and being ruled by a Praetor in "Balance of Terror."

As for the Klingons, the story is that they were named after Lt. Wilbur Clingan, a colleague of Gene Roddenberry's when he was an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department.
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Old May 8 2013, 10:50 AM   #15
ZapBrannigan
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Re: How characters received their names

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
ZapBrannigan wrote: View Post
In "What are Little Girls Made Of?", Helen Noel must have been named for the fact that Kirk met her at a Christmas party.

And Lethe, the zombie-like inmate, is named for the river of forgetfulness in Hades.
Ahem, that's Dagger of the Mind.
Right. What the hell was I thinking? I somehow conflated the two episodes in a train of thought about two of the hottest women ever to guest on the show.

Anyway, WALGMO had Andrea the Android. And Ruk might have been a corruption of R.U.R.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.U.R.

...which also inspired the surname of Rayna Capek.
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