Wait, what are Production Babies?
Back when the very first Pixar movie, Toy Story, debuted in 1995, the studio began a fascinating tradition.
They’ve listed the names of any babies born to the staff responsible for the movie in that film’s credits.
Those names appear at the very end, under the heading Production Babies. Because, well, these babies arrived during the movie’s creation.
Animated movies take years to go from concept to big screen debut. The team involved with the process is big – meaning there will certainly be a few new arrivals. If your family grows while you’re focused on a movie, well, inevitably you’ll think of Toy Story 4. or Frozen 2 as part of those memories.
Pixar Animation Studios officially became part of Walt Disney Studios in 2006. Disney now follows the same custom, as do several other animation shops.
Obviously, Snow White won’t have a list of Production Babies.
So it’s a new(ish) phenomenon, but still widespread.
Pixar alone has 27 lists of Production Babies under its belt – and counting. 2023‘s Elemental was the studio’s 27th feature film, meaning over 650 births have been celebrated this way.
Despite sharing the names, the end credits aren’t exactly birth announcements. They don’t share gender, date – or even year – of birth, or the parent’s role on the film. (Is that Ginnifer Goodwin’s son Oliver credited on the Zootopia list? Maybe.) A handful might note twins, including the Wish production babies list. Occasionally, if two Production Babies share a first name, the initial of their surname (presumably) is also included.
Readers have noted that parents are asked how to list their children’s names. So we only know what they choose to share. Which means CJ is probably short for something … but we just don’t know.
But that really doesn’t take away from the sheer delight of getting a peek at the creative names the studio’s international team chooses for their new arrivals.
ABOUT THE MOVIE WISH
Released in late 2023, Disney’s 62nd animated featured film Wish does two things. First, it’s a straight-up Disney adventure, complete with a brave young woman who saves the day, a power-hungry sorcerer, and an adorable, animated sidekick. Actually – two!
But it’s also the movie meant to celebrate Disney’s centennial. The company’s 100th anniversary inspired the story line: after all, we’ve been wishing up on a star with Disney forever. The movie is packed with call-outs. There’s the obvious: the title Wish, the Star character, the theme of following your dreams. Then there are the subtle: Asha’s name means wish. The movie begins by opening a storybook, a staple of classic Disney animation. Others are harder to pick up on. Asha’s friends mirror the Seven Dwarves from Snow White, the very first animated Disney movie. The villain refers to Mary Poppins and Peter Pan; Peter later cameos in the film. The list goes on.
So it’s both an absolutely typical Disney movie, where good triumphs over evil, and a deliberate shout-out to a century’s worth of cinematic history.
WISH PRODUCTION BABIES: THE LIST
- ADELINE and BISHOP
- LUKE C.
- LUKE N.
WISH PRODUCTION BABIES: THE NAMES
Benedict, Henry, two Lukes, and an Owen epitomize classic boy style that parents love right now. Linus fits the classic side of this equation, but has been mostly overlooked in recent generations.
On the girls’ side, Diana, Emilia, Lilly, Nora, and Sofia sound like sisters for those boys.
The Sanskrit unisex name Aarani carries several meaning, including sun. Aaran appears to be a masculine version, easy to wear in English thanks to the long popularity of Biblical name Aaron.
An international form of Anna, Anya might get a boost from actress Anya Taylor-Joy. It’s stylish, pan-global, and nicely under-the-radar.
Strictly speaking, Julien is the French form of Julian – though, of course, plenty of American parents might choose the ‘e’ version to stand out just a little from the Top 100 ‘a’ spelling.
Sorina appears to be a Romanian name meaning sun, though it might also be a respelling of names like Serena.
Somi likely comes from Korean. It’s a combination name, the first element meaning bright and the second meaning pretty or pleasing.
Sweet Adeline falls somewhere between classics and current favorites, but since it’s currently near an all-time popularity high, it’s listed here.
There’s always an Aiden, in nearly any group!
Modern invention Braelyn ranks in the US Top 1000, and while it’s not terribly common on its own, combine spellings and tally across genders, and it’s right up there with some of the Aiden variations. (Of course, Brayden – pick your spelling – is among them.)
Easton, Elijah, Elliott, Greyson, and Ronan round out this category for the boys, along with Gemma, Naomi, and Trinity for the girls.
Harlo and Kasey mostly fit in this category, too – even though Harlow is the more common spelling, and Kasey’s multiple spellings make it a little tough to pin down.
Kaizen debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2022. It might be an elaboration of favorite Kai; it could be inspired by a Japanese word meaning “change for the better” often used in business; or it might even be a mashup of Kai and Zen, another meaningful mini name.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Alyssa peaked in the US Top 20. It’s fallen dramatically in use since then, but this flowing form of Alice via Alicia still has plenty of charm.
Likewise, Jason was a long-time Top Ten staple, now faded. But it’s also the forerunner of popular names from Mason to Aiden to Grayson to Jayce, so it’s
Bidan is a mystery. Possible origins range from Chinese to Serbian, with everything in between.
As mentioned above, CJ is probably short for something longer. But it’s worth noting that just CJ appears in both the girls’ and boys’ popularity data beginning in the 1960s.
Sammi might be short for Samantha, or it could be given as an independent name.
In the movie, Amaya is the Queen of Rosas, wife to King Magnifico, the ruler who ultimately becomes power-mad. Amaya turns out to be one of the good guys. Interestingly, it’s also a Production Baby name. Was it inspired by the character?
STAND OUT CHOICES
Adeline’s twin brother is Bishop, a surname name that suggests a religious office. While Adeline is a Top 100 staple right now, together they sound like a pair of old family names, revived for a new generation.
It looks like a creative spin on Alex, but Alix is actually an old school version of Alice. (Which is a cousin to Adeline, too, actually!)
We know Leia, of course, as the princess-turned-general who routinely saved the day as a heroine in the Star Wars universe. It’s also an Old Testament form of Leah still used in some languages today. Still, because Disney also owns Star Wars, it’s tempting to imagine a Wish illustrator naming a daughter as a nod to one of the company’s enduring characters.
Magnus falls somewhere between modern Maverick and established August. It combines a big meaning – great – with plenty of history and a stylish sound.
Is Aravir a Tolkien name? It appears in The History of Middle-earth, which makes it fairly obscure. In Sindarin, the name means “royal jewel.” It’s a great sound, and an intriguing source for a child’s name.
On a similar note, Kirayuki is fascinating. It might be borrowed from Japanese anime. It also brings to mind Kira Yukimura from Teen Wolf fame. (She’s part kitsune – a type of mythological fox from Japanese folklore.) But that’s a wild guess. Yuki is a familiar Japanese given name. Depending on the exact kanji used to write it, Yuki might mean happiness or snow or reason … or something else. Kira, though, is less common in Japan, though it has some history and can mean glittering or shiny.