Name Spotlight: Rey (girl)


From the Star Wars universe comes a traditionally masculine-sounding name used by the female scavenger.


Originally, the female scavenger character that would be played by Daisy Ridley in ‘The Force Awakens’ movie was called Kira in the early stages of development¹. However, when the auditions that Ridley attended came about, the character was referred to as “Rachel.”¹ This might be the only clue into how the name evolved to Rey, though we may never know the true origin of how the scavenger came to be known as Rey. Perhaps, seeing as if the director, JJ Abrams, didn’t go much into the meaning of Rey², it’s all the more likely that the name is, pretty much, made up and the link to “Rachel” is pure speculation.


With ‘The Force Awakens’ raking lots and lots AND LOTS of cash and the fact that Star Wars is well known in the popular culture scene, it can only mean that we would see rises in names from the movie. After all, in a post where I outlined 6 names that would most likely jump in popularity in the US in 2016, two of the names are from that movie, the first being Kylo (from Kylo Ren) and the other being Rey.

My data-driven predictions seem to pay off for now, given the flurry of name data from other countries that seem to follow the track. Paying attention specifically to Rey for this post:

  • In Scotland, it entered the list for the first time when 3 girls were given the name in 2016³.
  • Likewise, in the Netherlands, it was also given to 3 girls in 2016⁴. It most likely also entered the Dutch list for the first time.

We’re only 4 months into 2017, but according to the latest Baby Center data, Rey is still rising for girls and with the return of Rey in the new Star Wars film titled ‘The Last Jedi’ (set for release in December like the last 2 films), chances are it might end up rising further. However, we would have to wait for another 2 years to know exactly the kind of impact the character will have on the name Rey for a girl.
As to whether Rey might appear on this year’s list of names most likely to jump in the US, based on the BC data, it doesn’t look as if it’s going to happen (the number of babies per million for 2017, in the case for Rey, needs to be over 80 for it to make it into the first stage, which accounts for a lot more names than the final list). However, official data keeping for this purpose doesn’t start for another 4 months, so anything could happen.

What do you think of the name Rey for a girl? Do you think that, given the character will be back in ‘The Last Jedi,’ the name will rise further (and possibly enter the top 1000 in a couple of years)? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below the sources.

Star Wars Wikia on Rey –¹
Slash Film’s Peter Sciretta on the explanation of some of the character names –²
National Records of Scotland –³
Sociale Verzekeringsbank –⁴


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