Sunday Summary 5.6.18I’ll keep this spoiler-free, but I just saw Avengers: Infinity War, and it’s got me thinking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s influence on – what else?! – baby naming.

Here’s my best guess for what we’ll see when the new baby names data comes out later in May 2017 – and, more importantly, a year from now:

  • The alter egos of our favorite heroes are often the names of another era. We first met The Incredible Hulk back in 1962, when Bruce still ranked in the Top 50. (The name peaked in the 1950s.) In fact, two of the Avengers: Infinity War heroes share names: Doctor Stephen Strange and Steve Rogers, and Peter Parker and Peter Quill. (Doctor Strange debuted in 1963; Captain American in 1941; Spider-Man in 1962 and Guardians of the Galaxy in 1969.) They can still wear well today – Peter is a particular favorite of mine – but no one is discovering them fresh thanks to the blockbuster movies.
  • The women’s names are equally unlikely to inspire parents – at least right now. I cannot wait to see Brie Larson as Captain Marvel next year, but her character’s alter ego? Carol. A 1940s favorite, Carol feels relatively unlikely to influence parents today. (Though all of the kids who will grow up with this version of the hero? Maybe they’ll revive the name in another dozen years.) Wanda is also a non-starter from the 1930s, and Natasha – as in Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow – peaked in the 1980s.
  • On the other hand, we might fall hard for Wakandan baby names. Shuri, especially, seems like one to watch. The character is so very appealing – whipsmart and stylish, courageous and loyal. You can imagine wanting your daughter to grow up just like her.
  • Another potentially influential category: the Asgardians. Loki has climbed. So has Valkyrie, as well as Odin and Thor. (Though perhaps Odin and Thor feel slightly more rooted in Norse legend and lore, and owe something to the rise of mythological-inspired names, rather than strictly the MCU.)

Shuri won’t show up in the data until May 2019, since Black Panther debuted in February. Since Thor: Ragnarok was a late 2017 release, we might find Valkyrie rising in use sooner.

A non-MCU superhero movie – summer 2017’s Wonder Woman – could spark renewed interest in Diana.

Still, it’s fascinating – a relatively small movie, one that we quickly forget, can launch a new favorite name. But a massive, box office-dominating mega-series might not inspire any new Top 1000 hits.

Or have I missed the best MCU baby names? Do you have a favorite?

Elsewhere online:

  • The question I’m dying to ask on social: what “girl” names to do you like better for boys? Jordin Sparks’ birth announcement for son Dana reminded me that there are so many, including this one. (Sparks’ son is a junior, and they’re calling him DJ.) But I’m going to need to clear my calendar and sit on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that entire day because I suspect it will be a wild conversation!
  • I think I like Edwin better than Edward. Is that crazy talk? Read Elea’s write-up and see if you don’t find yourself liking the name at least a little more …
  • Tweets that sum up the difficulty of choosing a name. Have I shared this before? Some are cruel, others are funny, and it’s all worth it for this gem from Conan O’Brien circa 2014:

That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!

Boy Names 5.6.18 Girl Names 5.6.18

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. I prefer the name Avery as a boy name, although now it’s more frequently heard for girls.

  2. I know a Boadicea! Well, hers has a slightly different spelling but still. Known as “Boux” (!!)

    And I too feel the pain of a noun-esque surname. Ivo, Iona, and most if not all nature names are our for us, sadly.

  3. My last name is very common mode of transportation. That ruled out all color names for us.

  4. I saw Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs today and wondered if Atari would spike because of it. It also made me want to start calling my son Chief

  5. I like Hank from MCU. (The name of the original Ant-Man, and also X-Men’s Beast). Husband gave it a hard no but it’s appealing to me. For girls – Black Cat hasn’t got her movie yet but I wonder if Felicia could come back? Or is it too “bye Felicia”

    I like May as in May Parker.

    I know a family with a Logan named after Wolverine.

    My favourite Ed- is definitely Edmund.

    1. Felicia Hardy/Black Cat showed up as a minor character in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 with Andrew Garfield. I think her character was supposed to become more prominent in the sequel, but then it imploded behind the scenes (as revealed in the Sony e-mail hacks). She was played by Felicity Jones.

    2. I know a Logan named for Wolverine, too – by his older brother! (As the dad told the story, they really hadn’t agreed on anything, and when their son suggested it, it just seemed right.)

      And yes – how awesome is May!? I love Hank, too – though I really only know the character from Michael Douglas’ version of him as the mentor to the new Ant-Man.

  6. Starting the conversation early. 🙂 I had a great uncle Kaye. (My middle name is Kay both for him and for my ‘Grandma Kay’ on the other side.) Kaye had brothers Preston and Wesley. All are very handsome to me.
    I also like Lorn (pronounced like Lauren) for a boy. Does that count?

  7. My last name is a type of lettuce very similar to Romaine. I very much wanted to name my daughter Georgia in honor of my Alma Mater and my father, George.
    I just simply couldn’t get over the idea of my daughter the new type of lettuce, Georgia Romaine.
    I was so sad. :(. Lol.
    Georgina and Georgiana just didn’t do it for me and we went another direction. Alas.
    An opportunity forever lost.