The Mandalorian is here and we are hoping it will turn out to be great TV. It’s hard to believe it’s taken 42 years for a live-action Star Wars series to make it to the small screen. The Mandalorian would not have happened if not for the “cool” factor of historic fan favorite Boba Fett, the most well-known bounty hunter in the sci-fi universe. If you just take his name, “Boba” on its own is a little goofy, but the “Fett” is somehow badass (and you can’t beat the name of his ship – Slave 1). When DJ and I were playing the Decipher CCG card game years ago, we learned a whole trove of background and insignificant character, ship, location names – some good, some hilarious, and some just dumb. As we are about to get introduced to more names in the SW universe, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the good and bad names for characters, ships, planets, etc.
I said I wouldn’t do it, but I did – I’m signed-up for Disney + so I can watch The Mandalorian (the first episode is well-made and promising). George Lucas took his SW names from a lot of different sources: historic, biblical, and some just non-sensical mashing of extra vowels and consonants. I miss the days when the humanoid aliens were just named after their appearance (Hammerhead, Walrus Man, Squid Head), but over the years they all got backstories and “official” SW names (Momow Nadon, Ponda Baba, and Tessek, respectively). Deepening the SW universe is fine, but sometimes it has gone too far and everything doesn’t need a funky name. I have the three-volume Star Wars encyclopedia and it is chock full of craziness. I’m a pretty die-hard fan, and some of the entry descriptions read like gibberish due to all the weird names. Here are five favorites and five stinkers:
- Darth Maul: The prequels had a lot of crappy names, but Darth Maul was a menacing moniker for a great saga character. It’s a shame this character was not utilized to his potential in the films.
- Mos Eisley: An exotic name for this wretched hive of scum and villainy. I liked the format of using “Mos” like “San” or “Las” is used in the west for cities and towns.
- AT-AT: You could argue the “snow walkers” didn’t need another name, but All-Terrain-Armored-Transport seems appropriately militaristic. Unfortunately, it spawned too many other AT-… vehicles in the prequels.
- Lando Calrissian: Something about this name fits a well-dressed, gambling scoundrel. I also loved the way Vader punctuated the double “ss” in “Calrissian”, almost like he was implying he was a snake.
- The Rancor: Pretty good use of a lesser-known real English word whose actual definition was appropriate to the beasts’ temperament. Fun fact: “Rancor” was a vocab word on my SATs – and I would not have known what it meant if not for SW.
Bonus: Yoda: Finally – simplicity! Another example of less is more. It’s a name that feels balanced and calm – reminiscent, perhaps intentionally, of Buddha.
DJ: Yeah Darth Maul is a great name, the whole Darth anything is cool and a character to match. The choices here are good.
- Sleazebaggano: Just outright ridiculous. Can’t he just be “Death Stick dealer”? I would have preferred Douchebaggano.
- Yuzzum: A lazy name for an awful CGI character that was added to Jabba’s palace in the special editions. The close-up on his epiglottis is now the low-point of Jedi.
- Wicket W. Warrick: Seriously? An Ewok needs to have a middle initial? Yes, I know the name was an homage to the actor who played him, Warwick Davis, but do Ewoks really need names? Can’t they just be Ewok Medicine Man, Ewok Bowman, etc? This was the start of Lucas going too far with the nonsense.
- Boss Nass: Might as well just be Boss ASS! Another lazy name for possibly one of the worst characters in the SW universe. The blobbish character design, idiotic spitting, and grating voice make this a CGI abomination.
- Count Dooku: For an evil leader, a name that rhymes with poopoo is not badass in the least. Was Lucas making up all the names at this point, or some assistant? I just don’t get the inspiration for this name or why anyone would think this sounds like a good villain name.
Bonus: UroRRuR’R’R: If you know who this is, you are a true SW geek. This is the name of the Tusken Raider that attacked Luke. This is SW naming at it’s most absurd.
DJ: Sleazebaggano is probably the number one terrible Star Wars name ever, just awful and his first name is Elan. Count Dooku was going to be on my list, it’s just silly and what are Counts in the SW universe? Boss Nass, despite the name, I have a slight soft spot for since we wrote a post where I included a Boss Nass solo project, which can be read here.
Hopefully, by the time we post this, I will have watched The Mandalorian too, Disney suckered me in as well. At least after I watch it I can also watch That Darn Cat! and many other Disney properties, sarcasm intended. Star Wars names are interesting like you said a lot of good ones, but a lot of lazy ones. Look at Luke Skywalker, even that is kind of lazy. I loved the name Han Solo until Solo: A Star Wars Story ruined it for me. The king of all names; Darth Vader, it’s awesome, both parts. It’s just a bad-ass name.
- Star Destroyer: The Empire’s giant space vessels are awesome, the name says it all, and the names of them are great, we have the Devastator, the Avenger, the biggest the Executor and many more.
- Chewbacca: One of the coolest names that also has a fantastic nickname. He could be the most lovable character outside of maybe R2-D2. The full name is great it fits what he is and Chewie takes the edge off.
- The Wampa: Killer creature, great name. I know he is technically not a one-off, the creatures are called Wampa, we know from the EU (Legacy) that there were more, so that begs the question, what was the real name of this Wampa?
- Doctor Evazan: This is the guy that harasses Luke in the cantina. He is a former disgraced surgeon going by the nickname of Doctor Death, that’s pretty cool. The name tantalizes me, I want to know more about his exploits as a bad doctor.
- Asajj Ventress: The Clone Wars dark Jedi, she is bald, cold and wields two lightsabers. But if you think that is bad-ass – her name contains two “J”‘s together. So fun and this is what the best SW names are, can’t be rhymed with anything stupid but yet it’s unique and original.
Bonus: Sorry had to do a bonus: The characters from Shadows of the Empire: Dash Rendar, Mara Jade, and Prince Xizor are pretty damn cool.
MG: Chewie is such a great name we named our dog after him. I also almost picked both Wampa and Dr. Evazan. Most of the Cantina denizens are named well – except a bartender called Wuher is rather mediocre. You are right, I’m surprised the Wampa that attacked Luke didn’t get it’s own name – missed opportunity (why not name all the Mynocks in the Space Slug cave?) I agree that Asajj Ventress is good, but must there be the extra “j”? I feel like Lucas & the other writers think adding a double consonant makes something exotic.
- Jek Porkins: Lucas: “So let’s get this overweight guy make him a pilot and call him Jek Porkins, you know because he is overweight”. This guy is destined to be fat with a name like Porkins. Your parents come into space Ellis Island, change that last name. Lazy, Lazy name.
- Salacious Crumb: No way do I dig “adjective” names. The whole character is stupid from his name to his laugh. Some characters do not need a name, he is one of them.
- Snoke: Not that we ever got a back story on this waste of a character but the name is generic and plain crap. I keep calling him Snope because I get it confused with the online myth-busting site snopes.com. Probably for the best he is gone.
- Jar Jar Binks: It goes without saying one of the most hated characters of all time. Even his name blows. I guess Lucas didn’t realize we could say Jar Jar Stinks or Jar Jar Dinks – plain dumb.
- Dexter Jettster: He just sounds like an overweight alien diner owner with lots of knowledge that a Jedi would need to crack a case in a film noir. Terrible name especially the Jettster part. Rhyming name, garbage.
Bonus: Malla, Itchy and Lumpy: The Star Wars Holiday Special introduced us to Chewie’s family and they also have nicknames and they are horrible.
MG: Ha, I thought about Jek Porkins too. His name should be altered in the next update as that would now be considered fat shaming. Snoke is terrible, sounds like a drug snorting term: “Hey dude, wanna do a snoke?”. My 6th pick would have been Dexter Jettster – again useless extra “t”! One departure – I have to confess to liking Salacious Crumb, even though you are right there is no need for him to be given a name.