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According to Wikipedia, Geneviève Bujold wanted Voyager's Janeway's first name to be changed from Elizabeth to Nicole. Later, Kate Mulgrew requested the name to be changed again to Kathryn. Why did both of these actresses request the name changes?

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I suspect Kate Mulgrew wanted it changed... since that was her name –  enderland Jan 9 '13 at 19:45
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@enderland But there are other TV shows where Kate Mulgrew's character is not called Kate or a variation thereof. Doesn't that undermine your argument? –  Mr Lister Jan 9 '13 at 20:26
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@MrLister Was she called "Elizabeth" or "Nicole" in any of those? Perhaps she simply preferred "Kathryn" when opposed to those particular alternatives, and/or Voyager is the only show that allowed her preference to actually have an impact. –  Iszi Jan 9 '13 at 21:47
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Just checked. She only had one role as an "Elizabeth", and none as "Nicole". She's had several roles with names which are variants of "Kate" though. The one "Elizabeth" she portrayed was based on a historical figure, so I doubt she had much choice there. –  Iszi Jan 9 '13 at 21:56
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It wouldn't have been the same without the alliteration of "Captain Kathryn" –  Robotnik Jan 10 '13 at 3:01
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2 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Legal tip-toeing, Genevieve's preference, and then preference by the producers(?). 'Kathryn' was chosen before Kate joined the cast.

Jeri Taylor, co-creator of Star Trek: Voyager:

"There is a prominent Elizabeth Janeway, and we're not allowed to use names of prominent people because it can be sticky, although we heard sort of secondhand that Elizabeth Janeway was flattered about it. It then changed again to Nicole at Genevieve Bujold's request, because that is in fact her given name and she wanted that. For two days it was Nicole Janeway (then Bujold left during the second day of filming; when she left, the name Nicole was abandoned) and then when Kate came on board, it was Kathryn - in fact the name we'd already chosen even before Kate was cast in the role."

Caveat, the above is a quote in an interview that I am still trying to locate from Cinefantastique. I have emailed them, but I will edit this if someone finds it first. This should do, but more direct is better.

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Thank you :) The quote is also included here. –  coleopterist Jan 10 '13 at 7:50
    
And here. It's a shame all three are from the same site so far. –  Solemnity Jan 11 '13 at 1:10
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I have a suspicion it was due to Picard. More specifically, that he was French with a British accent!

Then the reverse became true when Kate Mulgrew was re-cast into the role. While I can't say her state of mind for certain, she may well have wanted to veer away from a French name. So why not choose her own?

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