Why George Lucas Had To Change Luke Skywalker's Name In Star Wars

If you're not entirely up on your Star Wars trivia, it may surprise you to know that Luke Skywalker wasn't actually the original name of the hero in the original 1977 film. Instead, writer/director George Lucas initially intended the character to be named Luke Starkiller - and that actually was his name up until a few months into production. So what happened? According to Lucas, it's all Charles Manson's fault.

This bit of Star Wars history was recently dug up thanks to Mark Hamill, who recently participated in a Q&A session on his personal Twitter account and brought up the subject of Luke Skywalker's original name. In response to this, Yahoo! dug up the answer as to why the character was changed, and found a quote from George Lucas on the subject:

That I did because I felt a lot of people were confusing him with someone like Charles Manson. It had very unpleasant connotations.

What Lucas was presumably referencing was the murder of actress Sharon Tate by Charles Manson and his followers in the late 1960s. The idea of a "star killer" had much different meaning in society as a result, which ultimately forced the filmmaker to change the iconic character's name to "Skywalker." Even though nearly 40 years have passed since then, it seems that Mark Hamill still isn't a big fan of this decision, writing on Twitter:

What probably puts a smile on the actor's face, however, is the fact that J.J. Abrams is doing his part to resurrect the name "Starkiller" within the Star Wars universe. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The First Order (the fascist group that has replaced the Galactic Empire) has constructed their own version of a Death Star that is called the Starkiller Base. This stronghold actually used to be an ice planet that was taken over and transformed to become a weapon that is capable of destroying entire star systems (hence the name). Our first look at it came last week, as it was prominently featured on the film's official poster.

If you had it your way, would you have preferred the Star Wars franchise to move forward with the name "Starkiller," or do you think George Lucas ultimately made the right choice changing it to Skywalker? Answer our poll below, and leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.