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?
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.
I have a suspicion it was due to Picard. More specifically, that he was French with a British accent!
- The original name, Elizabeth, is strongly associated with the British, even though it's a "worldwide" name.
- The original actress is French (Well, French Canadian) and has a noticeable accent.
- So it makes sense to change the name to Nicole, which, while originally Greek, is now commonly thought of as a French name.
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?