Scotty factor

Montgomery Scott

Montgomery Scott, or "Scotty", is a character in the original Star Trek series and the films which followed. He was played by the late Irish-Canadian actor James Montgomery Doohan. Scotty's first name of Montgomery was a choice given to Doohan himself; Doohan chose the name “in honour of my grandfather, my mother’s father, James Montgomery.”

He was cast as the Enterprise engineer for the second Star Trek pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before." He tried a variety of accents for the part, and decided to use a Scottish accent on the basis that he thought Scottish people make the best engineers.

Scotty will be portrayed by Simon Pegg in J.J. Abrams' upcoming Star Trek film.

Character biography

Montgomery Scott was born in Scotland, in 2222 (see Birthplace controversy), and speaks with a thick Lowland Scottish accent. During the events of Star Trek: The Original Series Scotty holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander and serves as the Enterprise's Chief Engineer, Chief of Security, and Second Officer.

As an engineer, Scott retains a reputation as a "miracle worker", with no known equal in the Star Trek universe. Throughout both the television and movie series, he is renowned for his technical skill, knowledge, determination and resolve. Scotty often acts as the solver of plot-critical situations, utilizing his expansive knowledge and ingenuity. His solutions are almost always creative and unconventional, dramatically effective, and crucial to the resolution of plot developments. The term 'Scotty factor' describes the practice of over-estimating how much time a project will require to complete by multiplying the actual estimate by a particular number. In strict terms it is a factor of four: the number cited by Kirk in the film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Though his job is Chief Engineer of the Enterprise, Scotty is also an experienced command officer. Being Second Officer on the Enterprise (i.e. third-in-command), he takes acting command of the ship when Captain Kirk and Commander Spock are both unavailable. On one such occasion, when Kirk and Spock are trapped on an alien world, Scott uses the ship's power to shut down the planet's electrical grid for a few seconds, enabling Enterprise crewmen to rescue Kirk and Spock without violating the Prime Directive. Kirk places a commendation in Scott's personnel record for this innovative tactic (episode "Bread and Circuses").

Scott's personality is predominated by his dedication to his profession, which reaches the level of obsessiveness. His dedication is coupled with a deep sentimental attachment to the Enterprise. In the episode, "The Trouble with Tribbles," Kirk finds Scott reading engineering technical journals for relaxation. Kirk orders Scott to take shore leave at the space station in order to prevent trouble between the crew and the Klingons. Scott manages to do so, when a drunken Klingon tries to provoke a fight with Enterprise crewmen by insulting Captain Kirk (comparing him to a Denebian Slime Devil). Scott retains composure, ordering the crewmen to ignore the insults. It is not until a Klingon disparages the Enterprise by comparing it to a garbage scow that Scott loses his composure and begins brawling. Kirk confines Scott to quarters for the incident, which then gives Scotty an excuse to continue his journal reading.

Star Trek films

It is established in Star Trek: The Motion Picture that, prior to the events depicted in that film, Scotty has been promoted to commander, and has been responsible for a major refit of the Enterprise. As Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan begins, Scotty remains part of the crew while the Enterprise serves as a Starfleet Academy training ship. When Scotty learns that the aging Enterprise is to be decommissioned in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, he expresses deep consternation and resentment, and continues to do little to hide his feelings. To his dismay, he is ordered to report as Captain of Engineering aboard the USS Excelsior to apply his renowned skills on the newer ship's first runs. Excelsior is touted by Starfleet as the technically-superior successor to Enterprise; however, Scotty expresses his disdain for Excelsior loudly and frequently. Scotty uses his knowledge of engineering and his privileged position aboard Excelsior to sabotage the spacecraft. In doing so, Scotty makes it possible for Kirk to steal Enterprise for an unsanctioned voyage to the Genesis Planet, for the purpose of rescuing Spock. Scotty joins Kirk for this voyage, as do Sulu, Chekov, and Dr. McCoy. The crewmembers, including Scotty, vow their support, and actively partake in Kirk's quest. Scotty makes several contributions to the effort. The Enterprise, though frail from the extensive damage it suffered while fighting the USS Reliant under Khan's control, makes it to the Genesis Planet but, once there, is thwarted by enemy Klingons. The Klingons attack, and though the Enterprise crew is largely able to outwit the Klingon commander, the Enterprise itself is helplessly disabled, rendered a "sitting duck". Kirk and his crew outwit the Klingons and save Spock, but the Enterprise is sacrificed in the process. Scotty, with the other crewmembers, briefly mourn the loss of their beloved ship as they watch it burn up spectacularly in the atmosphere, from the relative safety of the Genesis Planet.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the only Star Trek film to take place predominantly aboard a ship not named Enterprise. Nevertheless, Scotty is of enormous value throughout the film. The primary starship in the film is a Klingon Bird-of-Prey (taken from the Klingons during their defeat at the end of The Search For Spock). Scotty adapts himself to act as engineer aboard the alien vessel, in characteristic fashion. ("Damage control is easy. Reading Klingon, that's hard!") Scotty once again performs technological feats that allow victory for the protagonists. Following the crew's heroic acts during The Voyage Home, Scotty (and the rest of the crew, except for Kirk) is acquitted of any charges of prior selfish illegal acts. As The Voyage Home ends, Scotty and the rest of the crew of the martyred Enterprise -- the ship that was home to the crew from the time of the original series until its destruction in Star Trek III -- are introduced to their next assignment: serving under Kirk aboard the Enterprise's successor. Sulu expresses interest in serving aboard Excelsior, to which Scotty retorts, "Excelsior? Why in God's name would you want that bucket of bolts?!". Scotty is overjoyed to be shuttled along with the rest of the crew to the Enterprise's true successor, the second USS Enterprise, commonly referred to as the Enterprise-A. The Enterprise-A is revealed at the end of The Voyage Home, sporting the designation NCC-1701-A, a direct reference to the original Enterprise, which bore the designation NCC-1701 since its introduction in The Original Series. Enterprise-A resembles an updated version of the original Enterprise. The crew is overjoyed at the unveiling of the new Enterprise, with Kirk announcing, "My friends... We've come home."

Scotty serves aboard the Enterprise-A for the events of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Star Trek VI was, by design, an official sign-off for the Original Series cast, and is the last film to feature that cast in its entirety. However, Scotty appears in the seventh Star Trek film, Star Trek Generations. As Star Trek Generations opens, Scotty, along with Chekov, accompanies Kirk for the inauguration of the Enterprise-B, the third starship in Kirk and Scotty's era to bear the name Enterprise. Catastrophic events interrupt the ceremony, threatening the ship. Before Kirk sacrifices himself to save Enterprise-B, Scotty is the last person to see him before he disappears. It is Scotty who utters the final dialogue in the Original Series timeline: When the threat has passed, and Kirk has apparently been lost in the abyss, Scotty is asked by Chekov if anyone was in the room destroyed when the Nexus ripped open the bulkhead on Deck 15 where Kirk was. He stares into the void and somberly intones, "Aye."

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Scotty appears in the TNG episode "Relics", in which he is shown to take passage on the transport ship Jenolan to reach the Norpin colony, where he plans to retire. En route, the Jenolan crashes onto a Dyson Sphere, an impact that only Scotty and another crewman survive. Using his knowledge of transporter systems, Scotty rigs the ship's transporter to keep them suspended in transit for the next 75 years. Although the other crewman dies when his pattern deteriorates beyond recovery, Scotty is recovered by the crew of the Enterprise-D. He and the Enterprise-D chief engineer, Geordi La Forge, in turn rescue the Enterprise-D from the interior of the Dyson Sphere. In thanks, the ship's crew give him the shuttlecraft Goddard. Scotty's age in "Relics" is revealed to be 147 years: thus, he was 72 when he was going to retire.

New film

Many different actors were rumored to be interested in, sought after, or auditioning for, the role of Scotty in the upcoming eleventh Star Trek film. Actor Paul McGillion (who plays Dr. Carson Beckett on Stargate: Atlantis) was specifically confirmed as auditioning for the role. "I can confirm that I did audition for the role of Scotty in the new Star Trek movie," McGillion has said. James Doohan's son, Chris, even gave his own endorsement of McGillion as his preferred choice for the role: "I think Paul McGillion is a GREAT choice for the role of Scotty. He has a great accent and I think that he actually looks like my father." However, on October 12, 2007, the role eventually went to Simon Pegg of Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

Birthplace controversy

Following James Doohan's death, several towns in Scotland began campaigning to be named Scotty's 'official birthplace'. The most vocal of the claimants is Linlithgow, where the novel "Vulcan's Glory" states Scott was born. Both the town's and the book's claims are supported by script and production material. However, Star Trek historians and others claim that Scott's birthplace is Aberdeen, Scotland, due in large part to Scott's claim in episode "Wolf in the Fold" that he is "an old Aberdeen pub crawler". Indeed, city leaders in Aberdeen have put forward plans to erect a monument to James Doohan/Scotty in the city, although there have been no official announcements to date.

References in popular culture

Scotty's operation of the Enterprise transporter system inspired the catch phrase "Beam me up, Scotty", which gained currency in pop culture even beyond Star Trek fans. Ironically, that exact phrase is never actually spoken in any episode or film. The closest a line comes to this is Kirk's "Scotty! Beam me up!" in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In Star Trek: The Game, one of the trivia questions concerns this phrase, and it is one of only two questions in the entire game to carry a penalty for an incorrect answer (the other question being "Does the USS Enterprise ever land on planets?").

In the 1987 movie Spaceballs, there is a parody of Scotty in the form of a character named Snotty, who is operating the transporter beam for President Skroob. The character speaks in a thick Scottish accent, wears a kilt and a Scottish-style hat, an obvious stereotype of Scottish attire. Instead of "Beam him up Scotty," Commanderette Zircon says "Snotty, beam him down."

In an unlikely reference, rap artists D4L have a song "Scotty" that uses his character and Star Trek in a bizarre description of otherworldly activity in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Planet Express crew meets up with most of the original Star Trek cast in an episode of Futurama. Scotty, however, is conspicuously absent and has been replaced by a short-lived character named "Welshy," who only speaks in Welsh. Reportedly, James Doohan was asked to be on the show and responded, "He-he-he, no."

In Goof Troop, when Max Goof and Pete Junior are playing with a water balloon cannon, PJ impersonates Scotty's accent.

In a sketch in several episodes of Nickelodeon's All That, the show is parodied, Scotty being parodied by Keenan Thompson.

External links

References

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