I wonder if the TCS Peel is a reference to Sir Robert Peel. And from Maniac's brief, it looks like it was supposed to be a second carrier for Blair at some point... on second thought, maybe Peel was supposed to be the starting point for Blair - makes sense if Peel is supposed to represent a police force and Blair is stuck in ISS. Funny idea originally making Maniac a morale officer rather than a test pilot. Shadow 'not classically beautiful but has attractive strong features' - I'd say the artist/s conveyed that really well.
I am sure by now you know you were right on with the TCS Peel reference. Would have been interesting to have Blair spending the whole first act with different characters… and you can certainly see how the Maniac side plot was revised into what we see in Special Operations 2.
(As for Shadow, I'm pretty sure her head model is literally Bettie Page!)
Dallas: was 'c lean' a typo on the original document? Him viewing Blair as a hero seems to be revisited with Catscratch in WC4.
Typo in the transcription. I fixed this one but if you're ever curious you can compare the original doc linked at the top right of the page (and since it's a Wiki anybody can fix my dumb errors
On other pilots like Cirocco: I'm glad identity politics wasn't a thing in the 1990s! There's no end to certain groups demanding representation in media.
I remember Jeff George saying that basically the only time the Wing Commander I team wo uld stop working was to gather around the TV for a new episode of Star Trek TNG… I think the diverse casts are probably a straight shot from the crew of the Enterprise.
(More fun: most of these characters likely match up to the 'background' heads that wound up in the final game. Someone else can do a better job of guessing those!)
Paladin: Any idea what Merchant Marine is? (I'm probably not familiar with American terminology.) Interesting that they seem to have made this a cover for his Special Operations activity later.
It's essentially civilian sailors, the people who crew American-flagged freighters. The term comes up more during stories like this because the Merchant Marine can activated to provide logistical support for the Navy during wartime (as in World War II).
Lt Edmond: Bumped to Major in the final version, I thought it was interesting to try to give her some personality with her back-story in SO1. Had no idea with her professionalism in WC2 that she disliked Blair so much.
This is one that gets dropped in Wing Commander II but which is revisited in Special Operations 1's Ghorah Khar half where she suddenly starts getting short with you in debriefings and then reveals it's because you remind her of her own backstory with the TCS Kirsk.
On Bear's background - other than his name, both here and in the final version, do we have any idea of his actual ancestral background?
Yes, the novels fill in quite a bit… especially End Run, which retains the idea that he enlisted at sixteen. (He's the son of an Australian mother and a Russian father and he grew up on Razin, a Russian colony at Alpha Centauri. When his father was killed in the war he fabricated a birth certificate and enlisted. We also hear a lot about his brother, who died a few years later fighting with the marines.)
Tolwyn: I didn't really see the 'fully supports his officers' in the final version other than his regular public criticisms against Blair at all opportunities contrasting so sharply with his treatment of everyone else. We never really see a proper apology from him at the end, although I suppose a promotion to Colonel sort of counts. He does appear more cordial in Special Operations but his relationship with Blair turns frosty again in WC3.
I think this is still there in Wing Commander II. Remember Blair tries to feel Sparks out about him and he's not really happy to hear he's a "damn fine commander"... then later he gets into an argument with Angel because she won't side with him over Tolwyn about the stealth fighters. (And he's also surprised that Paladin has so much respect for Tolwyn.)
Thrakhath: All those nicknames/honorifics would have sounded interesting! But I suppose it might also sound rather tacky - the ridiculously-long-list-of-honorifics-for-a-villain trope. Also interesting to make him 'ethical' and 'honourable' (presumably in Human terms), I think we see Kilrathi have a very different idea of honour and ethics in the final version, at least when dealing with 'unworthy' races like us 'apes'.
The honorifics get a return on Wing Commander Academy where he first introduces himself to Blair as "Thrakhath nar Kiranka, Prince of Kilrah, the fang of Sivar, destroyed of worlds". While not much is made of Thrakhath's honor in Wing Commander II, I think the idea was intact through at least End Run.