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What Happened to All Those Kids Named After Luke Skywalker?

Luke, I am your father

Growing up, the only thing Luke knew about his father was that it was his idea to name him after Luke Skywalker. “My dad was never really in my life, so I don’t know much about him,” he tells me. “But I know that he’s into computers and video games, so you can assume he likes the Star Wars series as well.” 

Still, Luke had his doubts, thinking maybe he was named after the Biblical Luke. “I wasn’t sure until I was about 13 when I briefly reunited with my dad,” explains Luke, who is now 24 and living in Nevada. “The first thing he did was give me a box set of the first three movies and tell me that I was named for Luke Skywalker. I’m glad it was finally confirmed.” 

Ever since, Luke has embraced his name. After all, he argues, it has a good backstory and provides a special connection with his dad. Not that it’s perfect. “The ‘I am your father’ comments do get old, but that usually only happens when I meet a new person, which isn’t very often any more,” Luke explains. “And even then, I just pass it off or give them a slight eye roll and move on. Plus, if I can’t think of anything to talk about, I’ll bring it up in conversation and tell the story of my dad and the box set.” 

According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, the name Luke has remained among the top 50 boy names for the last 20 years. There are certainly enough of them to fuel r/Luke, the subreddit just for Lukes, where Skywalker is a topic of much discussion: 

What’s the consensus on Star Wars references here? from luke

And while there are plenty of Lukes who can’t take the barrage of Star Wars references, many have come to embrace the way of the Skywalker. “I can’t remember the specific age I learned I was named after Luke Skywalker, but I imagine I was around five, because by the time I was in school, I was thoroughly obsessed with Star Wars,” explains Luke, a 20-year-old in New York. “My parents let my older brother name me, and he wanted to name me after a Star Wars character. They like to joke that they’re lucky he didn’t choose Mace or Chewie.” 

Twenty-year-old Luke in Ontario has a similar story, though there are some inconsistencies. “I’ve asked both my parents on different occasions,” he says. “My mom told me I was named after my grandfather, Lucio. But when I asked my dad, he replied, ‘I really liked Star Wars.’”

Like Nevada Luke, both New York Luke and Ontario Luke love their names despite all the “I am your father,” and “Use the force” jokes. In fact, each Luke independently says it’s been far worse to have a name that rhymes with “puke.” And if anything, New York Luke’s Star Wars fandom has only grown stronger as a result. “Growing up, I had Luke Skywalker’s lightsabers, action figures, posters and even took on the ‘SkyGuy’ nickname although it never really stuck,” he says. “As I’ve gotten older, my obsession with the lore and facts of the Star Wars universe has shifted to an appreciation of the films and magic behind their storytelling. I still love the original trilogy, and feel a strong connection to the character of Luke Skywalker.” 

Visual representation of daily life from luke

As such, he says that even into adulthood, there’s a small part of him who still wants to be Luke Skywalker. “On a large, fantastical scale, I’d love to save the universe,” he explains. “More grounded in reality though, I’ve discovered other ways to draw inspiration from my namesake. The story of a lowly, bored farmer boy, who chooses to use his special abilities to fight for his family, friends and what he thinks is good, still holds a dear place in my heart. Luke Skywalker is a role model in that he shows weakness, but in the end, makes the right choice.” 

When someone makes a Luke Skywalker joke. from luke

To that end, whenever someone references Luke Skywalker in relation to his name, “it almost feels like how I imagine one would feel if they were named after a past relative — I’m proud of their achievements and hope to follow in their footsteps.” 

Nevada Luke, on the other hand, says, “I think Luke is a great name, but I’ve only really gone so far as to watch the movies. I’m not obsessed with them or anything.”

“I had mostly watched the prequels when I was a kid as I was born in 1999, so I didn’t really care about the original trilogy,” adds Ontario Luke. And while he does draw some inspiration from his namesake (at least according to his dad), he says he’s more thankful it’s a “normal name.” “People naming their kids Daenerys before the end of Game of Thrones are the ones who might regret it,” he tells me. “Also, now that certain names are being used for stereotypes like Karen or Chad, I’m very happy with my name.” 

With that in mind, just as every Luke experienced the same forced references, each pleads that future parents keep their kids in mind when naming them after a favorite movie character, particularly if that movie is a global phenomenon like Star Wars

Or as 15-year-old Luke in the U.K. tells me, “My brother is called Harry after Harry Potter, and I have a sister called Leia, also after Star Wars. It’s been easy for us to embrace our names, but to all the parents out there, if you wanna name your kid after Star Wars — or any show for that matter — make sure it’s a normal name like Luke or Rey. Don’t name them Kylo Ren or BB-8.”