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It is documented that the character of Marvin the android was based on Andrew Marshall. Wikipedia further suggests that his name originally was Marshall, but was changed to avoid offense and also to avoid sounding like "martial" on air (but this is not in the interview, and WP gives no source for this).

Is there any source that explains why the name "Marvin" in particular was picked to replace "Marshall"? With the recent announcement of Marvin Minsky's death, I saw someone float the theory that Marvin might be named after him (and, in fact, that's not an original thought). It's possible, of course (the potential connection to artificial intelligence is obvious), but I haven't found any sources online that suggest this. Instead, people conclude that he definitely wasn't named after Minsky, which the sources also do not support.

Do we know why Marvin's named Marvin?

  • 1
    Related: Why was Marvin called “the paranoid android”?. – SQB Jan 26 '16 at 14:31
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    I read and listened to Douglas Adams talking about Marvin, and he recounts exactly the same story you do (although he also says he didn't want the name to sound like a western lawman). I've never heard him say anything else. If you are looking for a name that sounds like Marshall but isn't, there isn't a lot of choice. Sometimes writers just choose names for no particular reason. – DJClayworth Jan 26 '16 at 15:11
  • @DJClayworth: absolutely, this might be one of those questions that have no answer (or rather, the only person who had the answer isn't around to answer it anymore). – Jeroen Mostert Jan 26 '16 at 15:14
  • If the name was indeed changed from Marshal to avoid giving offense, wouldn't the most likely explanation be that it starts with the same three letters? – Blackwood Jun 10 '16 at 20:01

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