Fan-Favorite Star Trek Character Almost Given The Stupidest Name

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek voyager

Throughout Star Trek: Voyager, one of the stranger running bits was that the holographic Doctor could never settle on a name for himself. Encouraged by Kes, he considered a number of different names, but none seemed to really strike his fancy. However, the early Voyager episode “Parallax” had a cut scene that would have led her to assume the Doctor had the stupidest name possible: “Doctor Smoke.”


”Doctor Smoke” sounds more like a gamer tag, or maybe the contact in your phone that you call before a major Voyager binge session. How, then, did someone as dignified as the Doctor almost end up with that name, at least in the eyes of Kes?

It all starts with an early draft of “Parallax” that involved Tom Paris engaging in his favorite pastime of being annoying to others–in this case, the Doctor, whom he gives a number of unflattering nicknames.

In that Voyager draft, one of the names that Paris uses is “photon face,” which is admittedly pretty lazy even by the standards of schoolyard bullying. He tries on another nickname which is at least a tad more clever: “Doctor Smoke and Mirrors,” a clear reference to the Doctor’s holographic nature.

Kes overhears Paris calling the Doctor by this name before she gets into a conversation about sexuality with the officer that leaves Paris confused about whether she likes him or not.

Doctor Smoke

Speaking of confusion, after Paris leaves, Kes is still pondering his words. Not about sexuality–instead, she focuses on him calling the ship’s Emergency Medical Hologram “Doctor Smoke and Mirrors.”

Not realizing that this was just part of the helmsman’s strange sense of humor, this early draft had her earnestly believing that “Doctor Smoke” was the real name of the holographic Doctor.


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Mercifully, the final version of the Voyager ep “Parallax” cut this scene out, so Doctor Smoke never made it into the canonical list of names the Doctor has temporarily given or been given.

While we think it doesn’t get much dumber than the Doctor Smoke label, there was that embarrassing time he went by Lord Schweitzer. Oh, and when he was raising a family in the holodeck, he created a very basic name for himself: Kenneth.


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Speaking of basic names, in the alternate future timeline of the Voyager finale, he went by “Joe,” with Paris predictably teasing the Doctor that he waited all these years to choose such a simple name. It’s in the eye of the beholder whether that is more or less embarrassing than the alternate timeline in “Before and After” where he tried on some names from Earth’s history, including Mozart and van Gogh.

The Doctor

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As you can tell, Voyager’s Doctor never did find a name that he thought perfectly suited him; in fact, when he was successfully hypnotized in the episode “Spirit Folk,” he admitted that he hadn’t picked out a true name for himself.

Some Star Trek fans found it annoying that he never got a real name, but this unused scene from an early draft of “Parallax” proves that it could have been worse–he could have been stuck with the stupidest name in the world. Now, if anyone needs us, we’re writing a fic about Doctor Smoke, the Emergency Marijuana Hologram who can be summoned when a Starfleet crew is just way too tense.

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