Before you proceed: Mild Spoilers Warning!
I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last night. I absolutely loved the first movie – the pacing, the soundtrack, and OMG did I mention the soundtrack? This sequel was good too, but it just didn’t have the same charm for me as the first one. Don’t get me wrong – the soundtrack (Awesome Mix Vol. 2) is fantastic! Hopefully they’ll release it on vinyl…
When I go to movie theaters now, it’s not just about entertainment. Collecting character names has become a significant part of my movie-going experience. So…here’s my post about the influence of Guardians of the Galaxy on baby names! I’ve checked these names against the most up-to-date birth data from the Social Security Administration.
Peter – Peter left the top 100 in 1997, but he’s always been popular. This name stabilized in wake of Guardians Vol. 1, and although rank decreased slightly between 2014 and 2015, raw usage increased. I can’t see Peter returning to the top 100 any time soon, but he’s not going south, either. 2015 rank: #206, with 1913 uses. For extra context, the 2013 (pre-GotG) rank was also #206, but with 1849 uses.
Quill – Peter‘s surname shot up from 5 uses in 2014 to 21 uses in 2015.
Gamora – It honestly surprised me to learn that this hasn’t appeared in the data. Awesome lady warrior in a major movie with a feminine-sounding name, and nobody thinks to name their daughters after her? Something’s fishy here. Then I realized…her name sounds a lot like Gomorrah. Would that do it?
Nebula – Only appeared once, in 2011. Astronomy names are somewhat trendy now, so I think we will see a few more in the near future.
Rocket – Well we can’t say that this name rocketed upwards after the first movie, but the usage almost doubled between 2014 and 2015. 13 boys and 7 girls were named Rocket in 2014 (the first time that Rocket was used for girls), and 25 boys and 11 girls were named Rocket in 2015.
Drax – 6 boys in 2015. Drax is probably my favorite (and a lot of people’s favorite) character in both movies due to his sense of humor. That, and the “ax” ending give this baby name potential. I think the surprising thing for me is that the name Drax debuted the year after the movie.
Groot – No debut yet. Expecting parents might be too concerned about “I am Groot” jokes to go ahead with this tree name.
Yondu – Not in the data yet.
Kraglin – Not in the data, but Kraglin sounds fairly name-y.
Howard – Howard the Duck cameos in both movies. The name Howard left the top 1000 in 2013 and again in 2015. The best way to describe this name’s current status is “touch-and-go.”
Ronan – The popularity of Ronan had been rising for several years already, but an argument could be made that Guardians of the Galaxy accelerated it. 667 boys were named Ronan in 2013 (the year before GotG V.1), up from 593 in 2012. In 2014, there were 864 male Ronans and 1024 in 2015.
Korath – Hasn’t appeared in the data.
Nova – Like Ronan, this name was growing more popular at a fairly steady pace but then accelerated after Guardians of the Galaxy. However, I can’t tell for sure whether GotG is the definite cause or if this name became super trendy for another reason. I can say that Nova is increasingly popular for boys. In 2015, 1511 girls and 127 boys were named Nova.
Thanos – While Thanos didn’t debut in 2014 or 2015, the movie did return the name to the data and boosted it. 12 boys were named Thanos in 2015, up from 5 in 2014. You can read more about this name here.
Mantis – Maybe this sounds a little too much like “Praying Mantis,” but the character was adorable and I could see a few parents using the name.
Ego – I hope I don’t see any birth announcements for Ego or data debuts. Let’s just say that the character’s name was apt.
Meredith – Peter Quill’s mom. The name Meredith has started to rise again, but I don’t think Meredith Quill is the reason because I don’t remember her first name being mentioned in the first GotG (even though the character appeared). That said, 507 girls (rank #590) were named Meredith in 2015, up from 475 (#609) in 2014 and 431 (#660) in 2013.
Brandy – There’s no character named Brandy in the movie, but the 1970s song Brandy was a major motif. 65 girls and 11 boys were named Brandy in 2015, and I wonder if we’ll see the name rise in 2017 and 2018 because of the soundtrack. However, Brandy is both outdated (peak was 1979) and an alcoholic beverage, probably tempering this name’s ability to make a major comeback at this time.
Ayesha – 151 girls were named Ayesha in 2015; the name is a variation of the Arabic name Aisha.
Taserface – Yeah, you probably shouldn’t name your kid Taserface. They made fun of this one so badly in the movie…and Taserface just thought he was being cool and intimidating. 😦
Stakar – played by Sylvester Stallone. That was awesome. To my knowledge, not in the data.
The thing I’ve generally found with these names is that the first movie positively influenced names that already existed, but didn’t really proliferate new names. Drax is an exception, but his name has a trendy sound.
What are your favorite names from Guardians of the Galaxy?