Enterprise First Officer Gets Name ChangeBy Christian
May 14, 2001 - 6:23 PM
In order to avoid confusion with an established character from the Original Series, Paramount was said today to have changed the name of the Enterprise's Vulcan first officer to Sub-Commander T'Pal.
Originally, the character was to be named T'Pau, but TrekWeb reported the name was recently changed to T'Pal. The name may have been changed to avoid confusion with established Star Trek continuity. The Original Series episode 'Amok Time' already featured a character named T'Pau, a Vulcan dignitary who was the only person ever to turn down a seat on the Federation Council. It was previously thought that the Enterprise's T'Pau might be a younger version of the character from 'Amok Time,' but if this news is true this will apparently not be the case.
If T'Pau was in fact originally intended to be the same character, a reason for the change might be that Paramount would have to pay a royalty to the estate of Theodore Sturgeon, the writer of 'Amok Time,' each time the T'Pau character was used. As production came closer, the studio may have decided that this nod to continuity was not worth the money. For similar reasons, Robert Duncan McNeill's character in Voyager was called Tom Paris rather than Nick Locarno, the TNG character on which he was based.
This is the second name on the original Series V casting sheet to be changed a bit. When Paramount officially announced Scott Bakula had been cast, they said he would be playing Captain Jonathan Archer, a change from the original Jackson Archer. It is likely at least some of the other characters have also been changed slightly over the past two months as the producers were tweaking the series' concept.
The Series V T'Pal has been described as an "austere yet sensual" Vulcan female, assigned to the Enterprise to oversee humanity's progress. She will likely be played by Jolene Blalock, who previously had a critically acclaimed role on the NBC miniseries Jason and the Argonauts.
Thanks go out to Star Trek Journeys and Jason London Online for the above photos, respectively. As usual, please be aware that Paramount has not yet officially confirmed any of the Enterprise character names besides that of Jonathan Archer, and until then any Series V news from unofficial sources should be treated as you would any rumour.