What’s in a name? In the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, nothing short of an entire galaxy.
The Force Awakens’ director J.J. Abrams recently revealed the secret meaning behind the names of his Star Wars cast, offering a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming movie while also sharing some fun trivia. Below, Abrams explains (via Entertainment Weekly) the names to major Force Awakens’ characters including Finn, Rey, Poe Dameron, BB-8, General Hux, and Captain Phasma.
Finn and Rey
While most of The Force Awakens’ named characters sported full names, Finn and Rey still only have first names. Many took this to mean that their last names carried significance to the story, and were being held to avoid spoilers. As Abrams pointed out, those theorists aren’t wrong. ““I will only say about that that it is completely intentional that their last names aren’t public record,” he told EW.
For Oscar Issac’s X-Wing pilot, Abrams said that “Dameron” came from the name of his assistant, Morgan Dameron. ““Dameron came out because it was, obviously, a name that I know, and it just musically felt right,” Abrams revealed. “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.”
As for Poe, Abrams can’t recall exactly where the inspiration came from. “We went through a bunch of different names, and Poe ultimately felt like the right name,” he said. “Someone reminded me recently that my daughter had had a polar bear named Poe [or Po’ — short for “polar”], and that might’ve been why it felt right. There was a kind of sweetness to, and a charm to that name.”
For the Star Wars Universe’s latest Droid, Abrams chose its name based on its bouncy, figure-8 shaped design. “I named him BB-8 because it was almost onomatopoeia,” Abrams said. “It was sort of how he looked to me, with the 8, obviously, and then the 2 B’s.”
Domhnall Gleeson’s character from The First Order, General Hux, has a much more ethereal origin. While Abrams can’t pinpoint Hux’s exact origin, he thinks it came from a tombstone he’d walk by while having long discussion with co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (who also penned The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi).
“Larry and I would walk all over the place when we were breaking the story, and we would record our conversations,” Abrams says. “We were walking through a cemetery that’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 don’t believe that Hux came from there, but it may have.”
The decorated First Order soldier, played by Gwendolie Christie, is Abrams’ direct homage to Phantasm, a 1979 horror film. The film featured a silver weapon (much like Phasma’s armor) that drilled into its victims’ bodies.
“Phasma I named because of the amazing chrome design that came from Michael Kaplan’s wardrobe team,” Abrams said. “It reminded me of the ball in Phantasm, and I just thought, Phasma sounds really cool.”
So, what do you think of Abrams’ Star Wars inspirations? Let us know in the comments!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18.