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Naming babies after Darth Vader is more common than you realize

Did Anakin Skywalker have to go to the dark side? Some parents seem to think they can raise happier kids with the same name.

Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.
Eric Mack
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When it comes to naming newborns, a surprising number of American parents don't seem to be afraid of their children turning to the "dark side" as adults.

In 2014 alone, the US Social Security Administration added 218 new males named Anakin to its master list of American citizens. Yes, that's the same spelling as Anakin Skywalker, the "Star Wars" character who becomes better known as Darth Vader later on in his fictional life.

On the list of the thousand most popular baby names for last year, that puts the young Jedi name ranked at 957, up from 1,234 in 2013.

What gives here? Perhaps these parents are eternal optimists hoping to rewrite the canon through their children? Do they believe young Anakin might never have turned to the dark side if given a more loving upbringing?

It's worth noting that SSA's names list, which only includes names given to a minimum of five people in a single year, does not include "Darth" or "Vader." So it appears that few, if any, American families are hoping to actually raise a supervillain.

Of course, young Anakin Skywalker isn't the only character superfans admire enough to name their kids after. A total of 605 girls named Leia were added to the rolls in 2014, making the royal name the 509th most popular girl's name of last year, up from 571st in 2013. Prequel fans also added 14 girls named Padme to the nation last year for good measure.

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Perhaps the most interesting "Star Wars" name stat comes in the number of kids named Han -- 20 boys and 13 girls. Admittedly, it's tough to say if that's a tribute to Han Solo or something else like, say, an important ancient dynasty.

And let us not forget the nine boys named Lando who joined the ranks of the American citzenry last year -- you guys just got a sweet head start on being awesome.

But really, there should be no doubt about who the real hero remains in our hearts, as "Lucas" rose to the 19th most popular boy's name overall, up from the No. 23 spot in 2013. The only question then, I suppose (with apologies to a certain apostle), is how many of those parents did so as a nod to a certain George Lucas, or to his whiner-turned-crack-pilot protagonist?

If you had to pick a "Star Wars" character to name a child after, which would you choose? Let us know in the comments.

(Via Mashable)