Our friends at Mental Floss published an article yesterday revealing a list of literary characters that almost had entirely different names. We agree that J.R.R. Tolkien’s Bladorthin the Grey wouldn’t have rolled off the tongue as nicely as Gandalf the Grey does and felt relieved that J.K. Rowling, Raymond Chandler, and other writing giants had the good sense to wise up.
The list left us wondering about the original names of film characters. The best fictional heroes and villains aren’t remembered solely for their names, but a creative and original moniker can make an otherwise forgettable figure truly stand out. It’s also a great way to shed an interesting light on a character’s backstory. Click through to find out what disastrous, cinematic names directors and screenwriters evaded throughout film history. If you know of a particular lemon we didn’t cover, drop it in the comments below.
George Lucas culled the name of his space hero in Star Wars from a variety of sources — including his own name — but in the early drafts of the 1977 movie, Luke was originally a girl named Starkiller. Later, Lucas swapped genders and used Starkiller as Luke’s surname, but execs at 20th Century Fox weren’t fond of it. The director also toyed with making Luke a 65-year-old General rather than an inexperienced Jedi, which probably would have warranted another name change from the filmmaker.