Childlike Empress:
Call my name! Bastian, please! Save us!
All right, I’ll do it. I’ll save you. I will do what I dream!
He climbs up to the window and opens it. He leans out into the storm and calls out the name he had chosen for her.
The Neverending Story, 1984

What’s in a name?

Is there true power in a name – one word – that shapes and defines a person’s life and destiny? In the case of Fantasia, the name Bastian chose for the Empress had the power to save a world…

I have heard it said many times that as soon as you attach a name to something – or someone – you attach a meaning and wealth of information to that entity, regardless of whether or not done intentionally.

When parents are expecting an unborn child, many will sometimes spend hours, or even days, painstakingly deciding on what to name their beloved bundle of joy. Will it be a family name? Will it be something plucked from the pages of a book or Web page, only after intense research into its meaning? How does the name sound out loud? Does it roll off the tongue easily, or does it sound awkward? Will other kids make fun of it?

Unless, of course, the parents are like those I remember in the news a few years back: they felt strongly that their daughter should be the one to choose her own name. So, the little three-year-old ended up choosing the name Dorothy, after her favorite character Dorothy Gale in the movie The Wizard of Oz. I can’t remember what they called her before that – “Baby,” maybe?

Most of the time, even pet owners chose their pet names with deliberate care and intent. Most cats do not go by the name “Kitty,” after all.

In other cultures, such as Native Americans, names are based largely on nature. Although traditions vary from tribe to tribe, there is a very traditional following to the way names are given, and may even change as a person emerges from childhood to adolescence, and finally arriving at adulthood.

For me, my “real” name is Joyce, and I use it for legal stuff, in my professional life, etc., but I prefer to go by Jay to my friends and family, and in my “fun life,” like here on CWK. I don’t really have any other nicknames, per se. I know some people that have what seems like an endless number of nicknames. I have one friend in particular who, unless I really stop and think about his real name, has always BEEN his nickname to me. His real name actually sounds kinda funky coming out of my mouth – like it doesn’t fit…!

“So, why all this focus on names, and what the heck does it have to do with Star Wars?” You may be asking! There are a couple of aspects of names that I have been thinking about; some just recently, some for a very long time.

Some quick little snippets of thought:

Anakin was very emphatic about making sure Padme knew his name, and that he was not “just a slave.”

In one of my past blogs, I discuss clones, and how they took on names for themselves instead of just being identified by their numbers, despite the fact that they were programmed to be identical to other clones and not have an “identity.”

Recently, I have been intrigued at how the creators of Star Wars Rebels arrived at the names for the new characters: Sabine, Ezra, Kanan, Hera…how did these creators decide on what to name these characters – and WHY? How do names get generated for a culture like that in Star Wars: is it driven by whether the character is Human, Twi’lek, Gran, Rodian, etc.? What about differences in culture among planets such as Coruscant, Mandalore, Tatooine…? I’m sure there is some sort of indigenous difference there as well, right? Always much to ponder.

Back in the Hyperspace days, I wrote a blog that addressed the naming systems in the GFFA (Galaxy Far, Far Away).

My main pondering was (and still is) the difference between Jedi and Sith in the way names are utilized.

As any Star Wars fan knows, the Sith utilize a naming system to allow their members the opportunity to take on a new identity, thereby in a sense leaving behind who they once were. It allows a sort of anonymity, yet at the same time affords one the opportunity to fully embrace their new culture. The names take on a darker meaning – Bane, Plagueis, Sidious, Caedous, Vader…

Although there is no definite answer to the origin of the title ‘Darth,’ it is generally believed that the naming system was developed in 3,956 BBY by a pair of Jedi – Revan and Malak – who took up the fallen banner of the dark side. There are many interpretations of the Sith Lord title, including a corruption of the word Darthia, the Rakatan word for ‘emperor’.” (Karpyshyn, Drew, “Heritage of the Sith,” Star Wars Insider Issue 88)

After reading novels such as Outbound Flight and Survivor’s Quest, and also after pondering the ways of the Old Jedi Order (OJO) in general, I have come to decide that the Sith had a really good idea in the naming department.

In the OJO, children were taken from their parents and brought to the Order as soon as they were identified as Force-sensitive, often in infancy. For most families, this was an honor. Parents willingly gave their children to be trained as Jedi, and severed all family bonds with them. These families continued to admire their children from afar, and kept track of them through Holo Net reports if possible, but contact was strictly forbidden. Some parents of Jedi Padawans even lost – or willingly gave up – their jobs if it meant they were in too-close contact with their relinquished children.

This following of offspring and relatives was possible mainly because although these children were totally cut off from their family, they still retained their birth name. Why? When children in our society are adopted, they usually assume their new family’s name, or even change names entirely, both first and last names.

I’m hung up on all of this for a couple of reasons:

1: What about the siblings that are “left behind;” those who were not Force-sensitive enough to become Jedi? One specific case to which I am referring is Dean Jinzler. Without giving away too many spoilers, let’s just say that Dean grew up with a “Jedi ghost sister,” whom his parents idolized from afar, leaving Dean to always feel jealous, angry, and essentially a second-rate child. Could you imagine having to live like that? It really gives “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” a much greater weight, wouldn’t we say? Had his sister been renamed and hidden within the Order, that scenario would not have happened.

2. Attachments. If the Jedi were so adamant about not having attachments, especially to their families, why didn’t they just rename the Younglings as they were taken into the Order? Possibly even allow a Padawan to choose his/her own name once the Jedi Trials were accomplished and he/she became a full-fledged member of the Order? Wouldn’t that make more sense? It would be much like the Native American naming practices mentioned earlier.

In the New Jedi Order, established by Luke Skywalker, attachments are encouraged and families are celebrated, so names are not as delicate an issue there.

Names. So… much… meaning.

German poet Christian Morgenstern, who was known for his nonsense poetry, wrote: “The seagulls by their looks suggest that Emma is their name…” This has also been translated into “All seagulls look as though their name were Emma.”

It’s a good thing we’re not all the same. No offense if your name is Emma!

In closing, I found a couple of fun websites that translate names and attempt to give their meanings.

Try them out and let me know what YOUR name means! I even tried out a few of the Star Wars Rebels names on the first website listed – very interesting, let me tell you!

I would also love to hear your thoughts and reactions in general. As always, May the Force Be With You, and thanks for reading! You can contact me directly at

This IS the Podcast you’re looking for!

Powered by
Please follow and like us:


  1. pambruchwalski
    June 18, 2014 at 07:20 Reply

    I had a cat named “Kitty” before I knew you. Just sayin’

    Love this entry, Jay. Names are very important to me, and I have much to say about names in the GFFA and elsewhere. Have to get to my laptop.

    More soon.

    Call me…

    1. Jay Krebs
      June 19, 2014 at 12:03 Reply

      Like I said to you, I just KNEW as soon as I wrote that, that someone would have a cat named Kitty at one point or another…and it was YOU! 😀

  2. Erica
    June 18, 2014 at 09:27 Reply

    I loved seeing the quotes from neverending story at the beginning of your post! I loved that movie as a child. I’ve also been interested in the names for the rebels characters. Hera in particular, since that is a Greek goddess, and I’m always interested in those connections.

    When it came to naming our daughter, we were very thoughtful about to the name. I wanted something our daughter turn to for guidance in the meaning behind her name. Perhaps it will be significant to her, perhaps not. But it’s there she wants to look.

    Thanks for a great post!

    1. Jay Krebs
      June 19, 2014 at 12:09 Reply

      I’ve always loved The Neverending Story as well! The names in that one are exquisite…Atrayu, Artax, Falcor…!

      It doesn’t surprise me that Hera – a Greek name – is in Star Wars. After all, there’s so many links to various forms of mythology in every layer of the saga. Good catch, there – I hadn’t thought of that one!

      Your daughter indeed has a beautiful name, and one that fits her SO well! 🙂

      You know, I actually was thinking of you as I was writing this blog. I remembered you’d said how carefully you chose the names for the characters in your book trilogy; to be sure the names were able to be kept track of by the reader, and not confuse one character for another. Brilliant, my dear!! (I’m LOVING the third book, btw!)

  3. Lisa
    June 18, 2014 at 12:48 Reply

    My name is very common – Lisa. Ugh. My best friend for most of my life was named Lisa (she still is – LOL – the friendship is over, though). I once went to an Elton John concert with four other girls – so 4/5 of us were named Lisa. My Mom wanted to name me Colleen, but I have a cousin named Colleen – so that settled that. Then, my Mom wanted to name me Jamie – but my Dad said it sounded too much like a boy’s name. Mind you, I was already born at this point! I was a sickly baby, so I was still in the hospital as ‘Baby Girl Dullard.’ Ugh again.

    How did my parents finally settle on the most common name from 1968? They were at a diner, and there were placemats on the table – the old paper kind that featured artwork or what-have-you. They liked the scene depicted on one of the placemats and, lucky for me (sarcasm), the artist’s name was Lisa. Oh boy. To this day, I wish my name was Jamie.

    I agonized over what to name my Pug. It had to be different, it had to mean something, and it had to fit! At first, I wanted Luke – but it just wasn’t right for my tiny Pug puppy. So, he went nameless for about two weeks. I tried on names here and there – none worked. Finally, during an episode of Xena, it hit me. There was a character on the show who served partly as comic relief, but he was a warrior at heart – albeit mostly inept in practice. He called himself ‘Joxer the Mighty.’ He even had his own theme song! At the time, my puppy was tackling a stuffed bunny three times his size. I looked from him to the TV screen and it hit me – Joxer! The warrior wanna-be with a true heart of gold!

    Names are very important indeed!

    1. pambruchwalski
      June 19, 2014 at 11:09 Reply

      I WISHED my parents had named me Lisa for the longest time!

      1. Jay Krebs
        June 19, 2014 at 13:04 Reply


        I wanted to be named Danielle!

        Even in French class in high school, my teacher just translated our first names into something French before we began the class. We had little name-cards on our desks when we walked in Freshman year. I haaaated it. I was Joie….

        *zzzzhhhhwwaaaahhhh*…..! 🙁

        Sounds like water down a pipe.

        She wouldn’t let me change it to Danielle, but she DID let me hypehenate it. So, I was Joie-Danielle, which I actually LOVED! 😀

    2. Jay Krebs
      June 19, 2014 at 12:21 Reply

      You had me smiling and nodding at this the whole time I read it 🙂 So glad you shared your stories! I love knowing how you got your name, and how you arrived at Joxer’s as well!

      I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with my first name. I was named after my Mom. As the youngest of five, and the second of two girls (my oldest sister being the other, with three boys in-between), my Father insisted that I be named after his wife – he wanted to name the first girl Joyce. So, I became “Joyce Junior,” or J.J., as I was called by my family for most of my life (and still am). My Mom wanted to call me Sara. If I was a boy, I was going to be Steven. But I digress…

      I liked “Joyce” in high school – I was the one-and-only Joyce, so unlike my comrades, most of which needed a last name to fully identify them, I was simply “Joyce.” In the 80’s, that was cool. I felt like the other celebrity one-namers of that age: Prince…Madonna…Sting…you only needed one name for people to know who you were!

      Now, for the most part, J.J. has been shortened to just Jay, which I love.

      That’s me – Just Jay…! 😉

  4. Becca Benjamin
    June 18, 2014 at 18:19 Reply

    “The Name Game”, or “The Banana Song” 😉
    Awesome entry, Jay….Joyce…MO2YP…Mammadala 😉 Speaking of names, lol!

    Choosing a name, for any reason at all, is NOT an easy task. As I’m sure those creative people in the SW and Disney scene know all too well. In the movie or book circuit, a name could “make or break” a character.

    Totally love your idea regarding the Jedi to pick a name for themselves once the rank of Knight is reached. It seems almost…..rewarding….if it had been that way.

    Great blog! 🙂
    Angel B. ;P

    1. Jay Krebs
      June 19, 2014 at 12:57 Reply

      Ha ha ha…the Name Game Song! Love it!!

      It’s ironic that you list all of my “other names” – I guess I’ve forgotten how many nicknames I actually have! I even thought of another one as I was typing the comment to Lisa – “Jay Bird,” which is what my hubby sometimes calls me, and is also the “handle” I used to use when I was little and my Dad introduced me to CB radio!

      “10-4, good buddy!” 😀

      I actually found a JEDI NAME GENERATOR online after reading your response – you’ll have to try it out and let me know what you get!

      Mine was KREJA JOSTR of the planet VICODIN lol!!

      …you’ll have to try it to understand!

      What about YOUR Sith name? I tried a few Sith/Darth name generators, but didn’t really like them. I decided to come up with one myself and go with…


      whaddaya think?! 😀 LOL!

  5. pambruchwalski
    June 19, 2014 at 11:32 Reply

    I thought long and hard about my Hyperspace name. amidalooine not only identified who I was to the blogosphere, it has come to represent who *I* am. I know it’s way more than simply choosing a screen name that did this, but nine years ago, when I named that part of myself that connected to Star Wars, I began to find the strength to do things that “just Pam” never could.

    I’ve also discovered strength in my given name, Pamela. Short but with three syllables, three facets. Solitary, no middle name. There’s something to it that has value, even though I didn’t appreciate it until I was adult.

    Makes me think of Anakin, with whom I identify so closely. It also has six letters, three syllables, and to our knowledge, without a middle name. I can’t find a meaning for Anakin, which I find fascinating. Giving a name to the sinister Darth Vader had to be a huge decision. Why choose a name with no known meaning…unless that was the point? Anakin stood alone in the GFFA.

    I could go on for a long time about names. One of my earlier blogs in Hyperspace, “What Did You Call Me?” was subtitled with the same Shakespeare reference as this one.

    Great minds name alike…

  6. Jay Krebs
    June 19, 2014 at 13:19 Reply

    I love your name in any shape, form or style! 😀 (I think you’ve forgotten Belladalloine in this list my dear… 😉 )

    This may sound freakishly weird, but I remember when I was first getting into Hyperspace (I may have told you this story), I repeated “Amidalooine” in my head over and over to the point that I couldn’t get it out of my brain! Ever do that with a word?! …and this was before I’d even met you and gotten to know you for the amazing friend that you are! 🙂 Maybe the Force was pushing us to be friends!

    I remember seeing somewhere that George Lucas took Anakin’s name from some type of mythological entity (big surprise), so I did a little research and found an article that I KNOW you’d love, and I think other readers will, too…it actually includes an iterview with GL about HOW he came up with the names in Star Wars!! Here’s a little excerpt (that I chose just for you…)

    “Anakin is a variation on a race of giants in Genesis, and Skywalker is an appellation for Loki, the Norse god of fire and mischief.”

    LOKI !!!!! 😀 😀 😀 !!!

    The rest of the article is here:

    …I think we need another “Hyperspace Blog Reading Circle”… I’d love to listen to you read that blog you mentioned!

  7. pambruchwalski
    June 20, 2014 at 15:06 Reply

    Belladalooine! The ULTIMATE me!

    I love that I got stuck in your head! Hoping I’ve carved a niche out for myself there. <3

    You have no idea…no wait, OF COURSE YOU DO…how excited I am to see the tie between Darth Vader and Loki, my two all-time favorite villains. Well…are they villains, really?…

    Ah, the things that get my mind going.

    Love that article! Thank you for posting. Names really do have SO much meaning.

    Now that I've taken a class in reading my own work, I should be a pro at reading blogs, lol!! We DO have to do that again sometime. I pulled out my printed blogs and reminisced for a while the other days. Sigh…

    Thanks for a great entry as always!

  8. Melinda
    June 22, 2014 at 14:48 Reply

    Wonderful read, Jay! 🙂

    One of my favorite Star Wars names is Obi-Wan Kenobi. An obi is a belt or sash used in Japanese garb (the Japanese influence on Star Wars is not lost on any of us! 😉 ), and I always interpreted this to infer that Obi-Wan was a (maybe THE?) Jedi who enveloped everything Jedi … just as an obi is wrapped around one’s torso to keep everything in its proper place. Does that make sense? 😉

    I never liked my name when I was growing up. I didn’t hate it … I just didn’t like it much. Not when my 3 younger siblings all had “normal” names. What possessed my parents to name me “Melinda”? I always wondered — and asked! “I just liked the name; I thought it was pretty,” my mom responded each time. But people never got it right! Still rarely do. Folks just “remember” Melanie or Melissa — fine names, but not mine. Since I detest the nickname “Mindy”, I have come to accept my moniker.

    Per some translations, “Melinda” means “gentle” … which I try to be … most of the time.

    Our names give us some individuality. Then there are cases like the children of famed boxer George Foreman whose sons all are named George, and a couple of his daughters have a form of “George” in their names as well. Maybe “Melinda” isn’t so bad after all. 😉

    MTFBWY 🙂

    1. Jay
      June 23, 2014 at 06:29 Reply

      Nice to see you Melinda!
      I did know about Obi’s name origin, only because it has come up as a vocabulary piece in my Fashion and Textiles class when we study global influences. I agree that Obi-Wan had certainly “held together” the Jedi! As usual, GL is always great at making those subtle connections.
      I LOVE your name. It really is beautiful, and I agree that “gentle” fits you very well. You are certainly a proponent of the Light side of the Force, and are always very gracious and kind 🙂
      Thanks so much for stopping in with your thoughts!

  9. YHOP
    August 13, 2014 at 03:27 Reply

    My son’s name is Sebastian and my wife’s family calls him Bastian for short. That makes me giddy because I love The Neverending Story.

  10. Star Wars and the Name Game | Coffee With Kenobi
    August 18, 2016 at 08:00 Reply

    […] that this subject sounds familiar to you. You’re correct: I spoke about this topic in one of my very first blog entries for Coffee With Kenobi. However, because I’m so enamored with the psyche, power, and philosophy […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: