Star Wars: The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams explains origins of character names |


Star Wars: The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams explains what's in a name


Star Wars names are their own kind of art form.

Yeah, they may sound a little like John Travolta announcing people at the Oscars, but that’s their magic. They have the cadence of real names, but they’re like nothing we’ve ever heard.

They also tend to have deeper meaning that pushes subconscious buttons in our heads. Luke Skywalker is an obvious one: The last name is a bit on the nose for a tale about space adventure, but “Luke” also comes from the Latin lucere, which means light (although, remember, the devil started out as Lucifer).

Darth Vader, famously, comes from a variation on “dark” and the Dutch word for “father.” Han Solo, well… It suggested a roguish, loner quality, even if the smuggler was kind of a gadabout.

During Entertainment Weekly’s interview with Star Wars: The Force Awakens director and co-writer J.J. Abrams, we ended up talking about names a lot. At the start, he revealed something unexpected about the new villain played by Adam Driver – Kylo Ren is a name the character “came to” when he joined an order called the Knights of Ren.

I asked how he came to some of the other new names joining the Star Wars universe, and here’s what Abrams had to say …

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