Called “eternally popular” by Forbes, the “Star Wars” franchise is among the most beloved, recognizable, successful and enduring movie series in the history of film. The now seven-movie series (five more are planned) boasts the third-highest franchise box office gross revenue on record, but that doesn’t begin to account for the brand’s success.
From phone cases to action figures, bed sheets, stationery and lunch boxes, Star Wars is arguably the most universally merchandised film series of all time. Although today’s children are just as fascinated as their parents and grandparents with the saga, those that were kids for the original films are now somewhere close to 50 years old. According to the New York Times, Star Wars has managed to connect middle-aged fans to their childhoods like no other film series in history.
With legions of loyal fans — from toddlers to the elderly — obsessing over the tiniest fragments of Star Wars minutia, the films have actually had a measurable impact on our country’s culture, including how people name their children. MooseRoots used Social Security Administration data to find out the popularity of names used in the Star Wars franchise among new parents.
Here are how the top characters in this latest Installment, Episode VII, The Force Awakens stack up historically,
Poe Dameron is an ace pilot who takes on the Empire from the cockpit of an X-Wing Fighter. Although he is a popular character, the same can not be said for his name. The last time more than four boys were born with the name Poe was when five joined the Force in 2012.
Maz #23 Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o will portray space pirate Maz Kanata in “The Force Awakens.” Only five baby boys were born with the name Maz in 2013, the last year more than four were recorded. The name may remain so unusual, in part, because her character was called “Rose” on set to prevent film spoilers. Although the character is a woman, fewer than five girls have been born with the name Maz in any given year.
Aggressive and strong with the Force, Kylo Ren is known for his unique lightsaber and quick temper. “The Force Awakens” was announced in 2012, by 2014 eight boys were born with the name Kylo.
Rey #7 Although the tough survivor from the deserts of Jakku is female in “The Force Awakens,” the name Rey is steadily rising in popularity among boys in the United States. Over 240 were born in 2014, up from just 46 in 1980.
Finn is a warrior with a conscience struggling to escape his past. Although the traditional Nordic name briefly fell out of favor around 1990, it has seen an extraordinary rise in popularity in recent years. Over 770 boys named Finn were born in 2014, making it the the 234th most popular boys name in the country.