gif:james doohan

What if Scotty is not actually Scottish, though? 

Like, what if his name just happens to be Montgomery Scott, so all of his friends started calling him “Scotty,” and then every time he was introduced to a new person, they would be like “Oh, are you Scottish? My uncle was Scottish!”

And finally, he just gets sick of explaining the situation, so he starts replying with “aye, laddie!” But then it turns out that the person he said that to was Captain Kirk, and he doesn’t want to admit that he lied to his new commanding officer, so he has to keep speaking in a ridiculously over-the-top brogue and commenting constantly on how much he loves drinking Scotch, and by the time that he realises that Kirk would have found humour in the situation, he’s in too deep and can’t stop pretending, and it gradually just becomes his normal speech pattern.

Then, years later, the Enterprise is being inspected by a Starfleet engineer who’s actually Scottish, and Scotty takes him on a walking tour of his warp engines and is all like “Auch! Here be me wee bairns!” and the other engineer is just like “what the fuck is wrong with you?”

I take the fact that James Doohan is Canadian as evidence of this theory.

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Star Trek: The Original Series | The Trouble with Tribbles | Let Him Read In Peace

Why James Doohan is Important

-stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-day

-shot six times during this battle

-saved from dying because his brother gave him a silver cigarette case, which was in his breast pocket

-while in recovery he stole a plane and drove it between some radio towers to prove it could be done

-he was called the craziest pilot in the Canadian Airforce, but wasn’t even in that branch of military…..

-his Star Trek character was named after himself and the accent he took

-his middle name was Montgomery

-he saved a fan from committing suicide

Everyone, James “Craziest Pilot in the Canadian Airforce” Doohan, the original badass

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In Starlog #94, James Doohan recalls the story of how he was cast on Star Trek, and it all started with a failed audition for the detective series Burke’s Law

“I didn’t get that job, but the director, Jim Goldstone, who also happened to be the director of the second Star Trek pilot, called me up 10 days later and said, ‘Come read for  these Star Trek people.’ I said, 'Who are they?’ So, he told me, and I said, 'Well, what the hell, a job’s a job.’ You would be surprised how few and far between they are in Hollywood. 

"So, I went down one morning, and there  were a whole bunch of people — Gene Roddenberry and a few other executives. They handed me one page of a script, and I proceeded to do six or seven different accents, and they said, 'Which do you like?’ I said, 'Well, I like the Scottish accent. It’s also traditional that Scotsmen are great engineers, and that’s what I intend to be.’ They said, 'Fine. We like that one, too.’

"I named him Montgomery Scott after my grandfather on my mother’s side, and that’s where the Scottish comes in. My own middle name is Montgomery. Two of my sons have Montgomery in their names— one is Montgomery John, and the other, Eric Montgomery. The other ones are called other names. It depends on how well they behave!”

That’s right — James Doohan named the character himself, as he was originally listed as just “Engineer” in the script. Gene Roddenberry came close to dropping the character entirely according to Inside Star Trek, going so far as calling Doohan’s agent, Paul Wilkins, and informing him that "we don’t think we need an engineer in the series”. 

Wilkins met with the Star Trek creator later that day. Nobody that wasn’t in the room at the time knows quite how he did it, but he convinced Roddenberry that his client would be a valuable addition to the show’s cast.

The 1966 NBC press brochure for Star Trek described our favorite engineer thusly:

Engineer Officer Scott is a wizard at repairing everything from the reading light on the captain’s bunk to the ship’s huge “space warp” engines. In an era of almost complete automation, his ability to fix things with a piece of baling wire or a rubber band has proven invaluable on more than one occasion.

In Stephen Kandel’s script for the early episode “Mudd’s Women,” he’s described as “40…very military type.”

The writer’s guide that was published in Spring 1967 (and reprinted in the excellent Star Trek 365) went into more detail:

ENGINEERING OFFICER MONTGOMERY SCOTT: Played by James Doohan, Scott holds the rank of lieutenant commander, senior engineering officer on the U.S.S. Enterprise. With an accent that drips of heather and the Highlands, he is known to most as “Scotty”.

Scotty came up through the ranks, and his practical education is as broad as his formal training in engineering. He has rare mechanical capacity - many claim he can put an engine together with baling wire and glue… and make it run. He regards the U.S.S. Enterprise as his personal vessel and the engineering section as his private world, where even Captain James Kirk is merely a privileged trespasser.

Engineering and spaceships are his life. His idea of a pleasant afternoon is tinkering in any engineering section of the vessel; he is totally unable to understand why any sane man would spend reading time on anything but technical manuals. He is strong minded, strong willed, and not incapable of telling off even a Starfleet captain who intrudes into what Scotty regards as his own private province and area of responsibilities. 

Over the years, we’d see Scotty fall in love (”The Lights of Zetar”), be accused of murder (”Wolf in the Fold”), drink an alien invader into a stupor (”By Any Other Name”),  watch two different captains sacrifice themselves for the ship (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: Generations), lose his nephew to Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek II), and even come back from a decades-long techno-hibernation (Star Trek: The Next Generation, “Relics”). This litany of character moments doesn’t include the dozens of technological miracles that saved the Enterprise and her crew over the course of the series and movies.

Montgomery Scott is as much a part of Star Trek as the Enterprise herself (a comparison that the chief engineer would likely be very happy with) and he very nearly didn’t exist at all. Thank you, Paul Wilkins, for earning your fee that day in 1966.