In sci-fi it’s easy to create incredible machines and alien worlds. The real challenge? Coming up with convincing names.
This was the issue Ronald D Moore faced when he rebooted Battlestar Galactica back in 2004. And while Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace became a firm fan favourite, it turns out she owes a lot to Moore’s old job on Star Trek.
“In Battlestar Galactica I decided the original’s pilot names – Starbuck and Apollo – would become their callsigns,” he told an audience at the Edinburgh Television Festival. “Then I thought, OK, what are their names?”
“My producing partner Maril [Davis] will tell you, I am horrible with names. When I have to come up with a name it’s always... someone I just talked to! If I was watching TV last night it would be, ‘OK, her name is Marsha Brady’!”
Luckily, Moore had just stopped writing for one kickass military officer, and didn’t look too far for inspiration.
“So in that particular circumstance, I had just finished up on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with Kira Nerys [the Bajoran commander].”
“So I thought 'Kara' will be her first name. Then I needed a last name, and I had this big old antique book on my desk that was literally ‘Book of Ancient Names’. I literally ran my finger down it and went ‘Thrace! Kara Thrace! I love it.’”
“That’s the depth of my work.”