Legacy Vessel Naming
A newly built ship, spaceship, or other large named vehicle is christened with the name of another vessel, one that has been previously destroyed. This is done to demonstrate a profound attachment the ship crew had to their old ship, but simultaneously serves as a bad omen regarding the new ship's fate (or not). In Nautical Folklore, naming a ship after a vessel chiefly remembered for having bad luck is considered taboo. Probably few shipbuilders would be consciously believing in superstition; they would be believing that few passengers would get on. Likewise few passengers would be consciously believing this. Still it would somehow "not be proper" to launch a second Titanic. See What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?. Sister trope of Dead Guy Junior. Compare Legacy Character.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Reinforce and Reinforce Junior in Mobile Suit Victory Gundam. Notably, the original starship wasn't "sunk" but disassembled and its parts were recycled in the construction of the new ship.
- One Piece: The Straw Hat Pirates' original ship Going Merry is finally destroyed at the end of Enies Lobby arc, and Franky built the Thousand Sunny as replacement. Then, in the beginning of Thriller Bark arc, Franky reveals a surprise for the crew from the Sunny: the Mini Merry II, essentially Merry revived as a small motorboat.
- One Iznogoud story revolved around a sailor whose ship was named Shipwreck XXVII. Iznogound booked a cruise for the Caliph, who embarked on the Shipwreck XXVIII the next day.
- In Ultimate Fantastic Four Johnny is given the opportunity to name the team's new shuttle. He goes with "The Awesome". Despite Reed's objections, the name sticks. Near the end of the series, Ben is making his own shuttle, and we see that he decided to name it "Awesome II".
Film — Animated
Film — Live-Action
- This happens at least twice in Star Trek movies:
- At the end of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock the Enterprise is destroyed. At the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home the crew is assigned to a newly built Enterprise.
- The opening of Star Trek: Generations takes place aboard the maiden voyage of the USS Enterprise-B, and has Kirk, Scotty and Chekov of the two previous Enterprises as honorary guests. At the end, the Enterprise-D is mostly destroyed (the saucer section lands on a planet and can't be recovered). At the beginning of the next movie, Star Trek: First Contact, the crew is aboard the new Enterprise-E. This is even lampshaded:
Beverly Crusher: So much for the Enterprise-E.
Jean-Luc Picard: We barely knew her.
Crusher: Think they'll build another?
Picard: There are plenty of letters left in the alphabet.
- Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the first Reunion Movie. After the crew rescues themselves, everyone tries to return to their old lives. The Skipper uses his insurance money to buy a new boat, naming it Minnow II, and restarts his charter business. They have a reunion cruise. Guess what happens.
- Enforced in the Honor Harrington universe by the Royal Manticoran Navy's Roll of Honor. Ships that are destroyed in a valiant action have their names placed on the Roll. Traditionally, there is always a serving ship bearing every name on the list, and when one is removed from service its name is given to a new ship under construction, with all battle honors passing to it.
- On the flip side of the coin is the Solarian League ship Joseph Buckley. There have been nearly a dozen commissioned over the League's history. The cast debate whether the two that vanished in mysterious circumstances count towards the otherwise universal tendency of the ships to be destroyed in bizarre accidents.
- Similar to the Star Trek examples, Honor herself captained two ships named HMS Fearless in succession, with the second one, a heavy cruiser, being commissioned soon after the previous, a light cruiser, was written-off and decommissioned after being badly damaged in the first book.
- Definitely the case in Animorphs; in the last book, the team sets off to save Ax in a ship which they name the Rachel, after their teammate who died in the final battle.
- In the Wing Commander Expanded Universe, many ships are named in honor of previous ships which were decomissioned or destroyed in battle. At least one case of this, the TCS Concordia, was the subject of a Continuity Snarl when the authors couldn't decide if the pre-war carrier Concordia featured in Action Stations was meant to be the same ship as the Dreadnought that featured in Wing Commander II.
Live Action TV
- In one of the Doctor Who Christmas specials, an intergalactic cruise liner which transports alien tourists to Earth is named Titanic in honor of one of the most famous vessels in Earth's history. Aside from the doctor, the only person aware of the name's significance is the Big Bad, who named the vessel and intends for it to crash into London.
- The Benny Hill Show: Benny as Fred Scuttle is being interviewed about a rocket ship he's built in his backyard.
Scuttle: We're going to the moon in that! Indestructible the Second!!
Interviewer: What happened to Indestructible the First?
Scuttle: It fell apart, sir.
- Babylon 5 is the fifth and last of the Babylon space stations. The first four blew up or disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
- Played With in the case of the White Star, the Cool Starship that the heroes used for much of the third season. Near the end of the season, it was revealed that she was merely the prototype, with an entire fleet of ships being built and pushed into service, all named White Star followed by a number. Henceforth, the original ship was called White Star One. Only one White Star, the Maria, bucked the tradition due to the Captain being old-fashioned.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: During the push to Cardassia, after the destruction of the USS Defiant, the USS Sao Paulo is delivered to DS9 as a replacement. Along with the vessel came a special dispensation from the Chief of Starfleet Operations to change the vessel's name to USS Defiant.
- The first Defiant-class USS Defiant is itself an example of this, since it was named after the Constitution-class USS Defiant from Star Trek: The Original Series.
- A Time Travel in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Azati Prime" confirms that there have been at least 10 ships named after the original Enterprise: A—J.
- Interestingly, only the Enterprise is directly witnessed to get this. The Enterprise-E is numbered NCC-1701-E and, like all the others, is obviously a bigger, cooler version of its predecessor, but ships that share similar designs with past ships get all-new names, and ships that share names with past ships get all-new numbers. DS9's Defiant looks and is numbered nothing like TOS's, for example, and the name is most likely only coincidentally the same. Meanwhile, the second DS9 Defiant gets the same number as the first instead of becoming the Defiant-A (likely so Stock Footage can continue to be used.)
- In the Gilligan's Island Reunion Show, Rescue from Gilligan's Island, the Skipper gets insurance money from the crash of the first SS Minnow and buys a new boat, naming it Minnow II. Then he invites all the other castaways for a reunion cruise. Guess what happens.
- There were actually three starships named GameStar in Raumschiff GameStar: the first was trapped in a Stable Time Loop in season one, the second, destroyed during season three finale, and the third, blown up in the "Grand Finale" of the series.
- The BBC Radio sci-fi sitcom The Spaceship is set on board a ship called the Really Invincible II. The original Really Invincible... wasn't.
- After the SSV Normandy SR-1 is destroyed in the opening cutscene of Mass Effect 2, Shepard and Joker name their new ship Normandy SR-2. It is strongly implied that the decision was a no-brainer.
- A level in Batman: Arkham Origins is The Penguin's docked freighter The Final Offer. A conversion between two mooks has them discussing rumors that Penguin is planning to destroy the ship and get another one. They wonder what he'll call it, and one of them suggests that he'll just name it The Final Offer II. The other one disagrees, reasoning that The Final Offer is The Final Offer, and you can't really have another.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, Prince Dirk's current horse is named Artax XIII.
- It is quite common for navies to name new ships after older ones after the older ones are destroyed or, more likely, retired. For example, there have been eight United States Navy ships (if you include the Continental Navy, the navy of the United States during the American Revolutionary War) named USS Enterprise. And if you go back even further (beginning 1705), fifteen ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Enterprise (or HMS Enterprize).
- When the eighth US Navy Enterprise was decommissioned, it was announced that a ninth one would be built.
- As a rule, most of the world's navies have no hesitation to give a ship a name of a previous vessel lost in action or at sea, provided the loss occurred "honourably". Thus for instance the Royal Navy continued to use the name Invincible, despite the predecessor that fell victim to a German battlecruiser that it actually outgunned at Jutland in 1916. And the larger ships (i.e. light cruisers and above) of the Reichsmarine of the Weimar Republic and its Nazi successor, the Kriegsmarine generally received the names of ships of the Imperial German Navy that had been sunk by superior forces during World War One or they got names that had not been used before. Conversely, ships that were lost "dishonorably" would taint their name. Thus the Royal Navy did not have another Bounty and when the Knyaz Potyomkin-Tavrichesky was handed back to the Russian Navy, it quickly was renamed Panteleymon.
- Sometimes navies are in such a rush to use a name for a new ship, they don't even wait for the old ship to be put out of service. The pre-dreadnought battleship USS Texas was re-christened USS San Marcos to free up the name for a new dreadnought in 1914.
- Professional land speed record hoder Art Arfons named each of his vehicles the Green Monster.
- Someone is actually building a Titanic II. As an identical duplicate of the first using 21st century technology.
- Chuck Yeager named all of his planes, including the Bell X-1 he broke the sound barrier in, Glamorous Glennis, after his wife.