“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” In Star Wars, we’ve come across many interesting names, much of them having some sort of symbolism attached. Luke Skywalker wasn’t too subtle. Neither was Han Solo. But in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we see that J.J. Abrams didn’t attach any meanings to his character names like Finn, Dey, or Poe Dameron, General Hux, Captain Phasma, and BB-8. So like the trailers that have been released so far, we don’t know much about these new characters, other than Kylo Ren.
EW’s Star Wars coverage blitz isn’t quite done yet, and with the D23 Expo just days away, expect more news on the highly anticipated sequel to come out. In their latest report, Abrams explains the meanings behind the character names, some of which may actually surprise you. More on this below.
John Boyega plays Finn, who is only described as a runaway stormtrooper. Daisy Ridley plays Dey, a scavenger of the desert planet Jakku. They do have last names, but Abrams is intentionally withholding them, saying that “their last names arenâ€™t public record.â€ So does that mean either one of them has some sort of connection to an already established character? We won’t know for sure until the names are released, and when they are, you can be sure it will be a big deal.
When it comes to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), some suggested the notion that his name was a nod to Edgar Allan Poe. Others theorized it had something to do with Cameron Poe, the Nic Cage character from Con Air. But it wasn’t as sophisticated as you might thing. Turns out, Morgan Dameron is the name of Abrams’ assistant! Per Abrams:
â€œDameron came out because it was, obviously, a name that I know, and it just musically felt right. There was no sort of deep reasoning behind it, and I also knew it would make Morgan blush if we named a character that. So she had this giant smile on her face.â€ As for Poe, well, someone close to Abrams reminded him that his daughter had a stuffed polar bear named Poe.
As for BB-8, well, he wasn’t named after Abrams’ close friend and frequent collaborator (and co-founder with Abrams on co-founded Bad Robot productions) Bryan Burk:
â€œI named him BB-8 because it was almost onomatopoeia. It was sort of how he looked to me, with the 8, obviously, and then the 2 Bâ€™s.â€
General Hux (Domnall Gleeson) came about in a different way. According to Abrams, he and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan may have come up with it during storytelling conversations:
â€œWe were walking through a cemetery thatâ€™s near the Bad Robot offices, and we would often, as we were talking about characters, sort of just be glancing at names to see if any of them stuck. I donâ€™t believe that Hux came from there, but it may have.â€
Abrams does have a simpler explanation when it comes to coming up with the name for Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). According to him:
â€œPhasma I named because of the amazing chrome design that came from Michael Kaplanâ€™s wardrobe team. It reminded me of the ball in Phantasm, and I just thought, Phasma sounds really cool.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters on December 18, 2015.