Cool Stuff & Geekery

Fun Facts About Some of the Most Popular Names in Geek Culture

By Bea

Is it just me or isn’t it so cool to learn some fun facts and trivia about random things? Let’s have etymology, the study of the origin of words, as an example. Wouldn’t it be interesting to learn the origins of some of the most popular geek culture names? I, for one, am curious as to how Spock, Yoda, The Doctor, and many more got their names. So keep on reading. Who knows, you might even end up reading about your favorite characters!


There is still no definite origin behind this beloved Star Trek character. One speculation is that it was named after the children’s book author Dr. Spock. Objectively, Spock is of Dutch origin. When asked about the origin of the name, series creator Gene Roddenberry said they just wanted a strong, alien-sounding word. Some of the names they were also considering included: Spook, Spikk, and Spork.

Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker & Princess Leia coin

Originally intended to be Luke Starkiller, the name was changed to Skywalker because of possible connotations to Charles Manson. I guess it was a pretty logical decision at the time. I mean, who would want to relate a serial killer to Star Wars’ hero, right?

Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor is one of the toughest heroines in pop culture history. In Hebrew, the name Sarah means “lady, princess, or noblewoman”, though the Terminator character is anything but lady-like. And I mean that as a good thing.

Assassin's Creed: The Ezio Collection | Switch Launch Trailer

Darth Vader

It must have come as a surprise when we found out that Darth Vader was Luke and Leia’s father. But if you knew the meaning behind his name, you would probably have already guessed it. The word vader actually means “father” in Dutch. I guess viewers were given a heads up all along, huh?

The Doctor

Calling the main character of Dr. Who “The Doctor” is basically a short-hand to saying that he is very educated and brilliant. It’s also the more subtle option compared to “Time Lord” if you know what I mean.


Who could ever forget the film’s most famous line, “E.T. phone home”? Well, our alien friend’s name is pretty basic since E.T. is also the shortcut for “extraterrestrial”.


Yoda’s name still remains a mystery, but there are two possible origins. First is the Sanskrit word yoddha which means “warrior”. Second is the Hebrew name yodea which means “one who knows”. I guess both apply to this awesome character, so let’s just leave it at that.

Daenerys Targaryen

Okay, this one has several interesting interpretations. Dae or day means “light” or “hope” , while nerys in Welsh means “lady”. Therefore, Daenerys could mean “lady of light or hope”. Another origin is somewhat the opposite of the first. Daen in Hebrew means “God is my judge”, while Eris is the Greek goddess of discord. Basically, her name could also mean “God is the judge of my destruction”. If you’ve seen Game of Thrones until the very end, you would know that the latter is a more fitting meaning.


Chewbacca comes from the Russian word ?????? (sobaka) which means “dog”. Funny enough, George Lucas’s dog was the inspiration behind this gentle, furry, non-English speaking co-pilot.


Who could forget Buffy the kick-ass Vampire Slayer? According to Joss Whedon, he intentionally chose Buffy because he couldn’t take the name seriously. And to juxtapose that with Vampire Slayer made things even more silly. In fact, people at the WB urged him to change the name, but he wouldn’t budge. He specifically wanted the name to feel like a B movie – but with a lot more going on.


According to a Star Wars encyclopedia released after the film, R2D2 stands for Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2. However, rumor has it that George Lucas and a co-worker were editing American Graffiti, when the co-worker asked Lucas for “Reel Two, Dialogue Two”. Lucas allegedly wrote down the abbreviation “R2D2”, and the rest is history.

Peter Parker

During the Spiderman era, Stan Lee had a “rule” that characters must have their first and last names start with the same letter – an alliteration to better put it. This was because of his bad memory. He figured that it would help him remember the names better. Aside from this, we also have Bruce Banner, Matt Murdock, Pepper Potts, Jessica Jones, and so on.

Han Solo

The origin of Han’s last name according to Solo: A Star Wars Story is pretty underwhelming. When Han enlists in the Imperial Army, the officer who recruits him gives him the name Solo because, well, he’s alone. He has no family. He’s just solo. Interestingly enough, Han never bothered to changed his name.

Dana Scully

Dana Scully is one half of The X-File’s popular duo. Chris Carter named Scully after his favorite sportscaster Vin Scully of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Moreover, John Doggett was named after Vin Scully’s longtime broadcasting partner, Jerry Doggett.

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