American Names · Analysis

Star Wars Day 2017

Same image as last year, from this video

Happy Star Wars Day 2017!  May the Fourth be with you…unless you celebrate Revenge of the Fifth?  Whichever side of the Force you prefer, let’s talk about the state of Star Wars baby names in 2017!

On May 4th, 2016, we were just a couple days away from learning the most popular baby names of 2015.  Today, we’re within a week of the 2016 stats.  Because a new Star Wars movie is coming out every year now (and will for the foreseeable future), it’s seriously frustrating that we have to make guesses with the definitive data just around the corner!  That said – when we do have the data, I think we’ll see a decent impact from The Force Awakens on the popular baby names of 2016.  Rogue One might have a little influence, but the 2017 set will better reflect that.

A year ago, we learned that while Episode VII gave a massive boost to the name Kylo in 2015, there weren’t any female baby Reys (that we know of).  This is probably because Force Awakens was released in December – the end of the year, when phenomena have the least time to drastically alter the naming charts.  That said, we already know that 4 Scottish boys* were named Kylo in 2016 (none in 2015).  While we don’t know yet how popular Kylo is in America, it’s fairly safe to assume that it and other names from episode 7 will shine within our 2016 stats.  Rogue One character names, on the other hand, will probably be better reflected by babies born in 2017.

Let’s review the character names most likely to impact the charts, shall we?

The classics:

  • Luke – This popular New Testament name is in the top 30 (Current U.S. rank: #28).  Luke Skywalker barely appeared in Force Awakens, but the sheer hype might influence some parents. 
  • Leia – Current rank: #421.  Princess Leia returned in Episode VII as General Leia Organa.  This name is already rising quickly and will almost certainly continue to do so.  My question – will Leia reach the top 100 by the end of the decade?
  • Harrison – Harrison Ford revived this old-fashioned name when Star Wars first came out in the 70s.  At last count, Harrison ranked #119 in the U.S. and continues to rise.  Considering the actor’s prominent presence in Force Awakens, I wouldn’t be surprised if Harrison cracks the top 100 in the 2016 set. 
  • Carrie – Carrie Fisher passed away at the end of 2016, shortly after the release of Rogue One.  She also featured in Force Awakens, and supposedly finished filming for The Last Jedi (Episode VIII).  Don’t be surprised if Carrie returns to the top 1000 in 2017.  Although this name declines every time the Stephen King tale comes around, I think the actress’s death will give the name a boost.  At last count, only 125 girls were named Carrie.
  • Han – Just 22 boys were named Han in 2015 (and 19 girls…hmm).  Han is close to the German nickname Hans (equivalent to Jack), but the actor’s name has always been a more popular choice with parents than the character’s.
  • Solo – 7 boys in 2015.  Expect to see a few more in the 2016 set.  

At this point you’re probably asking where the prequel names are.  My answer: “it is not a story the Jedi would tell you.”  (In reality, I think we might see more of prequel names in the 2017 data due to the popularity of prequel memes.  Anyway, I’ve written a little about prequel names in last year’s May the Fourth post; still no Jar Jars, yay!  Anakin rose in popularity, though; debuted in 2014 at #960, ranked #912 in 2015.)

The Force Awakens:

  • ReyRey is historically a boys’ name, but as a girls’ name this didn’t even appear in the 2015 set.  Expect to see some in 2016!  (On a side note – I almost convinced my cousin to name her May 4th baby after Rey last year.  She loved it, but her husband wasn’t keen on second middle names!).  If you’d like to know more about this name, check out this post by Maybe It Is Daijirou.
  • Poe Dameron – 8 baby boys were named Poe in 2015.  Fewer than 5 boys (possibly none) were named Poe in 2014, though 5 girls got the name.  Expect to see Poe rise and Dameron debut.
  • Finn – #209.  This was already a trendy baby name before the Force awakened.  It’s possible that some of the Finns in 2015 were named after the John Boyega character, and I wonder how much of a boost there will be in the 2016 list.
  • Kylo Ren – In the year before Episode VII’s release, only 8 boys were named Kylo in the U.S.  At that point, it would have been considered a variation of Kyle.  Then, in 2015, there were 35 boys named Kylo.  Despite a December release and the villainy of Kylo Ren, parents immediately latched onto this name!  My question – could enough parents of babies born in 2016 have chosen this name to make it a top 1000 debut?  We’ll find out soon enough.  Meanwhile, the same number of boys were named Ren in 2015 as they were in 2014. 

Rogue One:

  • Jyn Erso – A new name on everyone’s mind!  There might be some in the 2016 set; although Rogue One also had an end-of-year release, I think the name Jyn Erso was touted around for several months before we finally got to see who she was.  Side note: Does anyone else wonder if we’ll start seeing Jynnifer as a SW-inspired alternative to Jennifer?
  • Galen Erso – Jyn’s father.  Galen (pr. gay-lin) is an Ancient Greek name associated with medicine.  47 boys were named Galen in 2015.
  • Cassian Andor – Cassian is related to the popular Roman name Cassius (ranks #646) through Cassianus.  19 boys were named Cassian in 2015, and I for one would love to see this name take off.
  • Orson Krennic The name Orson is famous because of Orson Welles and Orson Scott Card; 65 boys were named this in 2015.
  • Saw Gerrera – 31 boys were named Saw in 2015. 
  • Bodhi – #499 in U.S.  This name would continue to rise with or without Star Wars!
  • ChirrutI never saw this name before the movie, but maybe it’ll debut in 2017? 

What are your favorite Star Wars Names?  Would you name a child after a character? 

*The Scottish baby name stats can be found here:  Don’t let the dates in the URL fool you – 2015 and 2016 are on the page too.  

**The American data comes from the Social Security Administration.

3 thoughts on “Star Wars Day 2017

  1. I’m a big fan of J names, especially in my family, so I kind of secretly hope I can convince my future wife that we name our children with Js. I think Jyn is such a cool girl’s name. I just hope a Star Wars connotation, especially from an only marginally Star Wars fan, doesn’t scar her. Hahah.

    Liked by 1 person

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