Browsing the top 1000 baby names that were chosen by U.S. parents in 2014, you will see a name in spot 957 that hasn't been there before: Anakin. And although there are scads of unique names on the baby name list every year when it comes out, this name is a little more unique than others because it was completely made up by George Lucas for use in his Star Wars franchise.
Anakin Skywalker, of course, is the original name of Darth Vader, but this name is only briefly used in Return of the Jedi, the last installment of the original trilogy that came out in the '80s. Anakin becomes a household name when the first film of the prequel trilogy hit the screens in the late '90s. This film, and the other two of this trilogy, focus on Anakin's early life and how he became Darth Vader.
Anakin is an attractive name to parents-to-be for a few reasons. It's easy to pronounce and relatively easy to spell, unlike some unique names that are so unique you can't spell or pronounce them. It has a catchy rhythm and ends with an "N" sound — a pretty typical formula for many popular boy names, such as Mason, Ethan and Benjamin, all top boy names from 2014. Anakin would also make a great complement to siblings who had similar names.
There is a concern that naming your kid Anakin will give him unwanted attention, simply because there really are no other strong cultural references aside from the Star Wars connection. And it's true that Anakin does join the Dark Side and go on a killing spree, including personally slicing up the sweet Padawan (Jedi-in-training) children.
And, yes, Anakin as Darth Vader is a major villain who gave children nightmares in the '80s. Naming a kid after one of the top bad guys of cinema might be a little bit of a head-scratcher.
However, at the end of Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader experiences a drastic change of heart and is forgiven by his son; if Luke's redemption of the man isn't good enough for you, then you probably shouldn't name your child Anakin.
People derive inspiration for baby names from many different sources, from their family trees to their favorite fandoms. Also, parents who don't even watch or like Star Wars are naming their kids Anakin. It's fascinating, regardless, to see an amazing made-up name finally reach the top 1000. What will be next?
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