Why Enterprise and not Yorktown?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by subatoi, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. subatoi

    subatoi Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Does anybody know the reason for the name change back in the 60s?
     
  2. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    wikipedia + cv-6 + cvn-65 :)
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Probably the same reason why Robert April ended up being Christopher Pike, Bill Ryker ended up being Will Riker, Beverly Crusher's daughter Leslie ended up being her son Wesley, etc. Early, rough ideas are just first drafts, and creators often think of something better later on and change their minds. We may never know the specific reasons why a creator decided Y worked better than X, but it's not uncommon. Sometimes there isn't a clear reason except that a writer or producer decided they liked the sound of one better than the other.

    Although in this case, I would speculate that maybe Roddenberry or Herb Solow decided that "S.S. Yorktown" was too specific to American history, and Enterprise would be more universal. Although I'm not sure that's a good speculation, since they never seemed to have a problem with an American bias otherwise.

    Perhaps it was that Enterprise is a name with a more extensive historical pedigree, with more ships bearing the name. Perhaps it was chosen because the USS Enterprise CVN-65, commissioned in 1961, was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, so they thought it was fittingly futuristic/pioneering.
     
  4. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Oh, yeah. I'll tinker with the names of planets and characters right up to the final draft sometimes . . . .

    Heck, "Dracula" was originally going to be called Count Wampyr, until Stoker stumbled onto a better name in some old history book.

    That's just the way it works sometimes.
     
  5. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Because they wanted a name the audience can identify with. Being Yorktown was sunk in world war 2 and Enterprise was the carrier with the greatest combat record in the history of war, it's fairly self-explanatory.
     
  6. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    OP asked if anybody KNEW. Not speculations. One of my pet peeves about this bbs. Be well.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Well, since nobody does know, the only way to respond with anything other than "no" is with more general speculation and discussion of the process. This is a discussion board, after all, and that's the only way to discuss this particular topic.
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    God, memory is a funny thing...

    I could've sworn he ended up changing it because he was rescued by the Enterprise after being shot down during a war.

    I have no idea where I heard or read that.
     
  9. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I always figured than in addition to its historical context, Enterprise also meant "a bold undertaking" or "a forward venture."
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Well, it would be annoying if people were asserting speculation as fact, but . . . .
     
  11. TIN_MAN

    TIN_MAN Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way, Greg.

    But lest I be accused of veering off topic; yes, I believe it was named after the aircraft carrier, plus it's just a more dramatic name all the way around.
     
  12. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    Bingo. Most likely explanation.
     
  13. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In that case 'No, nobody knows.' Which is technically the correct answer to his question.
     
  14. Bumbles861

    Bumbles861 Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly, and with that being the case.....everybody move along....nothing more to see here.
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Why? Even if we don't know the specific reasons, that doesn't mean there isn't a subject here worth discussing. It can be illuminating to talk about how the early stages of a creative process tend to work, how often the names and details we hear are just placeholders or rough ideas. If you aren't interested in that discussion, you're under no obligation to read the thread, but that doesn't mean others can't participate.
     
  16. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Yep, that wouldn't make for the most scintillating thread:

    "Anybody know the answer?"

    "Nope."

    "Okay, then. As you were."


    Thread drift keeps things interesting sometimes.
     
  17. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. Life is a journey, not a destination.
     
  18. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    "Nobody knows?" We don't know that for sure. Perhaps GR told a secretary or somebody. But perhaps it is unknowable now.

    2. If someone asked, "Why do you THINK GR changed the name..." then have at it, seriously. Discuss away. But I've run into this on this bbs when I really want to know an answer and then have to weed through many speculations. I can speculate myself, or seek some possibilities, but when you gotta know, you gotta KNOW; or find out that the answer is not known.

    Like why Theiss didn't switch to a swatch (ok, bolt, I couldn't avoid the word play) that photographed green when the film cam back showing gold/buff. That answer seems to be unknowable. And I can live with that.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    First off, you're not the one who started this thread, so who are you to judge? Second, I did say in my very first post that the real answer was probably unknown.

    Besides, sometimes the right "answer" to a question is that the question itself needs to be reformulated, that it's based on an unexamined assumption that isn't necessarily valid. This particular question, about the reason for the name change, seems to be based on the assumption that there needed to be a reason, that Roddenberry was initially committed to Yorktown and something had to happen to make that change. But early ideas are often quite rough, or are simply placeholders until you can come up with something better. And understanding that broader principle can be useful not only for this question, but for other questions about the creative process.

    Given how many possible names we know Roddenberry went through for the captain before settling on Christopher Pike just days before shooting the pilot, I would think it very likely that he had a similar list of multiple possible names for the starship. He probably just put Yorktown in the pitch document because he needed to put something there, or because that was the one he happened to be leaning toward on that particular day. And it wasn't the only name in that first proposal that was changed; others included Captain Robert April and navigator José Ortegas, not to mention the "telecommunicators" (and of course the line about how the ship "rarely lands on a planet"). Why did he change any of those things? Because that's what often happens to first-draft ideas. Because what he put in the pitch document wasn't a refined version of the series concept, but only a rough approximation, an early stage of a work in progress. And that's most likely the real answer to the question -- but it's an answer that requires some background discussion about how the process works.
     
  20. Admiral_Sisko

    Admiral_Sisko Lieutenant Commander

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    This. Writing a series is a challenge that most people would/could never take on, primarily because the time and energy required for a such project is enormous. Most of my writing experience- excluding any writing I have done as part of my career- is limited to fan fiction, as I don't have the ability or the self-discipline necessary to write anything worth publishing. For me, one of the most challenging aspects of writing has been the creation of new characters, as I've often struggled with simple concepts such as their names, backgrounds, likes/dislikes, etc.

    I've changed character's names several times before making a final decision. I don't pretend to know what Gene Roddenberry was thinking when he chose the name Enterprise, but I would imagine that he wanted to choose a name that would not only catch the attention of the television audience, but would also endure. Yorktown doesn't capture the imagination the way that Enterprise does.

    It's possible that I would feel differently had Roddenberry kept the original name, but even looking at each name objectively, it seems clear that one is more awe-inspiring than the other.