J.J. Abrams Plays The Force Awakens Name Game

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One of the Star Wars saga’s defining traits has always been George Lucas’ knack for coming up with unforgettable names. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca—every one is essential to the Star Wars mythos. In fact, even the franchise’s peripheral characters have distinctive names. But these names don’t just sound cool. They also have carefully thought out meanings, some of which contain crucial plot details. For example, the name Darth Vader combines a variation on “dark” and the Dutch word for “father.”


Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director and co-writer J.J. Abrams explained the inspiration for his characters’ names—and it turns out their history is a little less complicated. For example, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) brings together the names of Abrams’ assistant’s Morgan Dameron and his daughter’s stuffed animal Po (short for “polar”).


Other name inspirations include onomatopoeia (BB-8), long walks in a cemetery (General Hux), and the 1979 horror classic Phantasm (Phasma). “Phasma I named because of the amazing chrome design that came from Michael Kaplan’s wardrobe team,” Abrams explains. “It reminded me of the ball in Phantasm, and I just thought, Phasma sounds really cool.”


As for Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), their last names have been withheld thus far, and Abrams has no intention of changing that. “I will only say about that that it is completely intentional that their last names aren’t public record.”