'Star Wars' Babies: Kylo Is Fastest-Rising Name for American Boys

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. (Photo: Disney/Lucasfilm)

The popularity of baby names rises and falls due to any number of reasons. One of those factors, as we’ve learned over the last few years, is Star Wars. In 2015 we wrote about the relative popularity of Anakin, which was making its debut on the Social Security Administration’s list of top 1,000 baby names for 2014. A moniker that was likely invented in 1977’s Star Wars by George Lucas for his future Darth Vader, Anakin had bobbed along in popularity over the years since the first movie before spiking again in the run-up to 2015’s The Force Awakens. We couldn’t help but ask: Why would parents name their baby after one of the galaxy’s greatest bad guys?

Well, the franchise has done it again, in equally villainous fashion.

The Social Security Administration just released its list for 2016, and the male baby name that rose the most in the rankings — a whopping 2,368 spots, to No. 901 — was Kylo. As in The Force Awakens’ Kylo Ren, murderous First Order baddie and patricidal son of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia. Why anyone would want to name a child after a sniveling, insecure madman — whose name, let me repeat, is Kylo — is a question best left to the parents. Nonetheless, in this Associated Press piece, BabynameWizard.com founder Laura Wattenberg says it’s not quite as unlikely as you might think, since the names of villains are often more popular than those of their heroic counterparts these days.

While we’re apt to agree with the older focus-group participant who told Wattenberg that Kylo “sounds like a brand of laundry detergent or toothpaste,” there’s no denying that the name’s popularity further proves the enduring Force of the Star Wars franchise. With any luck, next year’s list will be awash in Wattos

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