I’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?
- 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:
Babies are being named after “Game of Thrones” characters? What parents would name a baby after a sword wielding, mythological character?
— Conan O’Brien (@ConanOBrien) April 20, 2014
- Thoughts on how we’ll be naming our babies in the year 2098.
- Speaking of the future, are these the next wave word names?
- And is it a thing if your surname is a word name? Duana weighs in.
- Whoa! Can you imagine if Kim and Kanye had named their daughter … Grace? I would have been more shocked by Grace than by Chicago …
- A look at the history of the baby name Barbara. If it hadn’t been big back in the day, I can imagine it catching on now.
- Back to the movies for one more B name: in the upcoming release How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Nicole Kidman plays Queen Boadicea. I know, I know. It’s not going to catch on. But maybe we’ll spot just one or two? Fewer than five were born in all of 2016 …
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!