How characters received their names

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by alpha_leonis, May 7, 2013.

  1. alpha_leonis

    alpha_leonis Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    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: May 7, 2013
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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!)


    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.
     
  3. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    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.
     
  4. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Location:
    The Denorios Belt
    [​IMG]

    How is it I never realized this before?
     
  5. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Location:
    Flying Spaghetti Western
    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!
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Gene's office
    Ahem, that's Dagger of the Mind.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    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.


    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).
     
  8. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    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:

    For "Whom Gods Destroy," de Forest Research made this contribution on September 10, 1967:

     
  9. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    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?!
     
  10. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Location:
    The Denorios Belt
    ^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.
     
  11. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    I've heard that's why they changed Archer's first name from Jackson to Jonathan. Can anyone confirm?
     
  12. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    I heard the Romulans were inspired by the Romans. :p
     
  13. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2013
    Location:
    The Denorios Belt
    Romulus and Remus were named after the mythical twins that founded Rome.
     
  14. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    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.
     
  15. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    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.
     
  16. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    The goal is to avoid names that are too identifiable with a specific individual -- either because there's only one person in the country with that name, as stated above, or because there's a real person with that name who comes too close to the character's description, e.g. having the same job. For instance, in the Dresden Files novels, one of the main characters is Chicago detective Karrin Murphy, but for the TV adaptation, the researchers learned there was a real Chicago detective named Karen Murphy, so they changed the character's name to Connie Murphy for the show.

    It's related to the disclaimer you always see, "The characters in this show are fictitious and any resemblance to any individual, living or dead, is purely coincidental." It's a hedge against lawsuits for defamation in case someone thinks a fictional character is based on them and portraying them in a bad light, or otherwise undermining their ability to earn a livelihood.
     
  17. alpha_leonis

    alpha_leonis Captain Captain

    Joined:
    May 27, 2001
    Which I find really amusing, considering that my sister IRL is a young-adult novelist, and her first book was based directly on our family. A fictional version of me makes a couple of cameos as the main character's younger brother. And yet her book still carries that disclaimer!
     
  18. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Those disclaimers seem pretty silly in an obvious film à clef like The Rose or The Greek Tycoon. Of course, a different standard applies in the case of portraying public figures, whether or not the names have been changed to protect the guilty. :)
     
  19. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    Walking distance from Starfleet HQ
    "The names have been changed to protect us from lawsuits."
     
  20. CDR6

    CDR6 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Dr. McCoy being called "Bones" (TOS) a contraction of the term "Sawbones", which comes from the old nautical term for a doctor... and has nothing to do with a divorce... (ST 2009)