Kylo grabbed headlines as the latest Star Wars villain, and a white hot baby name trend.
Thanks to B for suggesting our Baby Nme with complex, much-debated histories, like Anakin.
But all of the names instantly bring to mind a character. That’s because Star Wars transcends popular film franchises to become part of our common cultural language. Even if you’ve never seen a movie, odds are that you recognize the John Williams score, the howl of a Wookie, the clash of a light saber.
And so Kylo immediately makes us think of Kylo Ren. I’ll keep his backstory spoiler-light: born to two of our favorite heroes, Han Solo and Princess Leia Organa, his birth name was Ben. His Uncle Luke trained him as a Jedi, but at some point, Ben turned to the Dark Side. After all, Darth Vader is his grandfather.
Ben changed his allegiances, and took a new name to match.
We know Ren refers to The Knights of Ren, an elite military order commanded by the former Jedi.
But the first name? That remains a mystery.
Kylo: Surname Name
This question came up at Nameberry back in early 2016; a mom had always planned to use a family surname that sounds just like Kylo.
A handful of similar surnames do appear in the US Census records. And yet, the origins and meaning remain obscure. The metric system borrowed kilo from the Greek, to refer to one thousand. A very few Keilos appear in the records, too.
So perhaps a very few families find a form of this name on their family trees.
Credit sound for this name’s success.
Kyle has appeared in the US Top 1000 every year since 1914 – and a great many before that, too. The Scottish surname comes from a word meaning channel or strait.
During the 1990s, with Kyle MacLachlan starring in runaway hit Twin Peaks, the name climbed into the Top 25.
Parents have been reinventing Kyle ever since.
Kyler, Kyson, Kyrie and Kyree, and Kylan all rank in the current US Top 1000. So do Kai and Kye. They’re not all necessarily related, but the sound has become commonplace.
Factor in our new affection for -o ending boy names, and Kylo feels even more familiar. Milo entered the US Top 250 in 2016.
Kylo: Star Wars
It’s tempting to insist Kylo’s roots begin before Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The numbers suggest otherwise.
Five were recorded in 1979, another six in 1994, and six in 2012. Creative spins on Kyle, maybe? Typos? Or those handful of families with the surname showing up in the data?
Kylo starts to rise in 2014, as buzz built for the movie. Adam Driver’s casting was announced in 2014 – and remember, the trailer already had fans excited before the end of that year. In 2015, 35 boys received the name, even though the movie debuted in mid-December. That’s why it took until 2016 for the impact to be fully realized, with 238 newborn Kylos, debuting at #901.
Kylo: The New Luke?
Odds are that Kylo will never approach the mainstream popularity of Kyle, or even Milo. After all, plenty of parents will hesitate to use a name so linked to a villain.
But then again, we don’t know what the next movie or two will hold. A sequel tarnished Atticus. But what if future installments of the Star Wars series bring redemption for Han and Leia’s son?
Then the stars are the limit for Kylo.
Would you consider this name for a son?
Brooke Cussans says
I read somewhere that the name Kylo was invented as a combination of S-KY-walker and Han So-LO.
So I guess if you can look past the fact that a current villain wears it, it’s a nice homage to two of the legendary heroes of the series 🙂
Brooke, that is awesome! Love the idea that Kylo is a Skywalker-Solo mashup.