If you’re planning on adopting a dog this holiday season — and here’s hoping you are — why not scoop the crowd by naming your pooch after a character from the long-awaited, much-anticipated new film Star Wars: The Force Awakens? You’re almost guaranteed to gain instant cool-nerd cred. Plus, there are some great-sounding monikers in this latest saga.
But before we hit hyperdrive with the newest, hottest name list, here’s a little backstory on how and why I compiled it in the first place.
A long time ago, in a galaxy not far, far away, I was a dog-obsessed girl of 12 undergoing a life-changing cinematic experience while attending a first-run showing of the movie Star Wars. It was 1977, and it was instantly apparent to me and most everyone else in the theater that we were witnessing the birth of a phenomenon that would quite literally change the world.
See, Star Wars wasn’t just any old movie. It was unlike anything pop culture had produced before or has since — the creation of an entirely new sci-fi universe, with its own religion and world order, populated with all kinds of amazing characters, technologies, and creatures. Some of these amazing beings even resembled my beloved dogs, and all of them came with cool, magical-sounding names. So as the dog/word nerd who went on to become the creator of DoggieNames.com, I was more than invested. In fact, I became such a devotee of the Force that I’m kinda surprised my own dogs aren’t named Luke and Leia — although they’ve sported plenty of Star Wars costumes on Halloween.
And the more I learned about the creator/genius/visionary George Lucas, the more I knew I had chosen to fangirl wisely. It turns out that Lucas also loves both names and dogs, and took both into consideration when he was writing the scripts for the original trilogy.
He told The New York Times how he developed the names for the characters: ”I obviously wanted to telegraph a bit of the character in the name. The names needed to sound unusual but not spacey. I wanted to stay away from the kind of science fiction names like Zenon and Zorba. They had to sound indigenous and have consistency between their names and their culture.” So that’s how he ended up with cool monikers like Obi-Wan Kenobi (note the Japanese/Zen master influence) and Han Solo (the cool loner).
And then there was Chewbacca the Wookiee. Chewy (as his friends and fans call him) was actually inspired by Lucas’ own much-loved pet: “I had an Alaskan Malamute when I was writing the film. A very sweet dog, she would always sit next to me when I was writing. And when I’d drive around, she’d sit in the front seat. A Malamute is a very large dog — like 130 pounds and bigger than a human being and very long-haired. Having her with me all the time inspired me to give Han Solo a sidekick who was like a big, furry dog,” Lucas said in Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 13. By the way, that Malamute happened to be called Indy, who then became the namesake of another Lucas hero. But that’s another story.
Lucas also created another group of smaller, shaggier creatures for the third film of the original trilogy, Return of the Jedi. Though the Ewoks may most resemble Shih Tzus, they’re said to have been modeled after another one of the Lucas family dogs, a Brussels Griffon. The most famous member of the Ewoks’ tribe is Wicket W. Warrick, and that name currently resides in the top five most popular Star Wars-related names, according to Petplan Pet Insurance. Not surprisingly, Chewbacca is No. 1 on its list, which is culled from more than 370,000 of the company’s insured cats and dogs. Also landing in the top 10 are Yoda, Lando, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Anakin, and Jabba the Hutt.
And now, we’re on the verge of an all-new chapter in the series, and the excitement is rightfully reaching a fever pitch. After much research and consideration — and a little help from the Force — I’ve come up with what I think are the hottest dog names inspired by The Force Awakens. (Please be aware that there are also some mild spoilers here, but nothing that hasn’t already been revealed.)
Most of these monikers fit the trainer-approved recommendation of giving a name that has one or two syllables, with a strong consonant at the beginning and a vowel sound at the end. That combo’s been proven to aid in training, making it easier for your dog to recognize his or her name and respond to it.
This ex-Stormtrooper, played by John Boyega, is described by the official StarWars.com site as “a trained warrior desperate to escape his past … plunged into adventure as his conscience drives him down a heroic, but dangerous, path.” Sounds like a perfectly noble name for any member of the canine species. Actually, Finn has already proven to be pretty popular for dogs. Actors Emily Blunt and John Krasinski have a dog by that name, as does actress Amanda Seyfried, whose beloved Australian Shepherd mix Finn — full name Finley Cooper Seyfried — even has his own Instagram account at Finnsite.
This cute ball-shaped droid is already a huge star in the toy world. So how adorable would this name be for a little round ball of white and/or orange fur like a Pom, Poodle, Papillon, or Cavalier King Charles Spaniel?
The capable young scavenger who gets swept up into the action and looks to be the cinema’s next kick-ass heroine, Rey is played by Daisy Ridley (actually both Daisy and Ridley are great dog names, too). Rey (pronounced Ray) is a strong, regal moniker that works for both male and female canines.
Portrayed by Adam Driver, this guy is slated to be the new big bad, as evidenced by his three-pronged red lightsaber and “fiery temper.” With his spookily distinctive mask and long black robes, Kylo Ren could be a great match for a dog with a long, dark silky coat, like an Afghan Hound, Belgian Malinois, Bouvier des Flandres, or Cocker Spaniel.
You may not have heard much about this new creature, but Entertainment Weekly IDs him/it as a peddler on the planet of Jakku. Bobbajo has kind of a nice Southern ring to it, which gets me thinking hound dog. And speaking of the planet …
Jack’s been one of the most popular dog names for many years. Adding the “u” to the end gives it that little bit of extra Star Wars swagger you and your droids may be looking for.
A female warrior decked out in serious armor, Captain Phasma may just be the perfect name for the bad-ass female (or male) dog in your household. The word itself comes from the Latin, meaning ghost or spirit, so it would fit a white or grey-coated dog quite well.
Not much is known as yet about this diminutive bar owner and former pirate, portrayed through motion capture by Lupita Nyong’o. But director J.J. Abrams has talked about the importance of the characters’ eyes, and from early indications, she wears goggles, so this might be a good choice for a small dog with distinctive markings around the eyes. Plus, this name just sounds cool, as does …
This guy’s a hotshot X-wing pilot for the Resistance, played by Oscar Isaac. I like the way this one rolls off the tongue, though a name that rhymes with “no” is not usually recommended for dogs since they’re liable to get the sounds confused. But taken together, Poe Dameron could be a winner.
This small, brutish scavenger roams Jakku’s vast wasteland on his semi-machine-like creature. I’m sensing that Teedo may be the perfect name for a tough little Pug, Frenchie, or Bulldog, and Luggabeast fairly screams Mastiff or St. Bernard.
So now you’re ready to be the coolest kid on the block, with your great new pup and his cutting-edge name. Which of these are your favorites?
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About the author: Atlanta’s own Toni Perling writes mostly about dogs — hence her blogger name, Doggienista, and her two beautiful rescues, Daisy Jo and Bud Earl. She tweets for them at DaisyJoBudEarl and covers all the latest Hollywood dog scoop at her Celebrity Dog Blog. She’s also a longtime supporter of spay/neuter/rescue, and adopted her first dog, a sweet lovable mutt named Sophie, from an L.A. County shelter. Toni started out in Hollywood as a TV writer, with credits ranging from network drama to informational, including a boatload of episodes of a little Discovery Networks show named I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, before transitioning to the Web.