The Marvel Universe doesn’t just dominate at the box office. Its superhero characters and stories also have a hold on pop culture as a whole – inspiring wedding themes, clothing lines, restaurants and more.
Given that parents draw baby name ideas from countless sources, it’s no surprise that the Marvel world is now one of them.
The US Social Security Administration tracks the baby names given to five or more girls or boys in a given year. Looking at the agency’s data, there are lots of Marvel character names, and when you compare the 2020 list to previous years, a clear upward trend emerges for many of them. While it’s hard to link Marvel’s influence to the popularity of top-10 names like James and Ava, others seem more likely to be connected to the hit films and comic books.
Peter Jason Quill (aka Star-Lord) is the lead character in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, the first of which premiered in 2014. From that year on, the name Quill has risen in popularity – from five baby boys named Quill in 2014 to 42 boys and five girls in 2020.
Loki, a fan-favourite character in the Marvel canon, seems to have had a popularity boost in the baby-naming world as well. While the name appeared consistently in SSA data starting in 2001, the Thor and Avengers films likely upped its numbers. In 2010 (the year before the first Thor movie’s release), 55 baby boys were named Loki, but that number increased to 71 boys in 2011. In 2020, there were 130 newborn boys named Loki – as well as five baby girls.
Tessa Thompson’s character Valkyrie first appeared in Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. That year, 63 baby girls were named Valkyrie, but that the following year, the number rose to 75, and by 2020, it was 128.
In 2020, nine baby boys were named Bucky – a name that has only appeared in the list a handful of times. But Bucky is also the name of Captain America’s best friend, who has appeared in seven Marvel films, including the 2018 and 2019 Avengers movies, so it seems natural the movies might have contributed to the bump.
The name of Marvel supervillain Thanos has also seen a boost in popularity in recent years. Thanos never appeared in the SSA data until a few one-off years in 2004 and 2007, but once the Marvel Cinematic Universe films started dominating theaters, it was in there every year in increasing numbers. In 2019, 18 baby boys were named Thanos. (The number decreased to nine in 2020, but it’s worth noting the number of babies born in the US last year was down 4%.)
Some of the more traditional names in the Marvel world – like Bruce, Carol and Tony – have fallen down the list in recent years, but the decreases in popularity have been consistent with a general pattern of decline that started before the films. And in the meantime, more pointed choices like Banner and even the name Marvel itself are rising.
If you’re looking to add a little Marvel flair to your baby name choices but don’t want to go too far outside the box, you can look at the names parents are already choosing. We’ve rounded up 60 Marvel character names that appear in the SSA data, along with the number of US newborns given each name in 2020.
The top 60 Marvel-inspired baby names
Anthony ― 6,966 boys, nine girls
Ava ― 13,084 girls, 11 boys
Ayo ― nine boys, six girls
Darcy ― 194 girls, nine boys
Happy ― 10 boys, five girls
James ― 12,250 boys, 63 girls
Jasper ― 2,604 boys, 64 girls
Loki ― 130 boys, five girls
Maria ― 2,460 girls, 10 boys
Marvel ― 39 girls, 23 boys
Morgan ― 1,483 girls, 363 boys
Parker ― 3,797 boys, 2,131 girls
Quill ― 42 boys, five girls
Rhodes ― 123 boys, 11 girls
Ronan ― 1,255 boys, 19 girls
Sam ― 401 boys, 12 girls
Samuel ― 8,488 boys, 14 girls
Soren ― 555 boys, 33 girls
Vision ― 11 boys, 10 girls
Zuri ― 1,254 girls, 24 boys