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The DC Comics superhero Starfire is a Tamaranian princess who joins the Teen Titans after escaping her home planet of Tamaran. The most baffling part of her origin story is her real name: Koriand'r. For those that aren't familiar, coriander, also known as cilantro, is an herb that tastes like dish soap for about 25% of people. Is it just an unusual coincidence that the beloved hero Starfire shares her name with a plant, or is there a reason behind that choice?

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    Well, I mean, compared to names like Darkseid or Scott Free, being named after an herb is positively mundane.
    – Adamant
    Jun 12 at 6:19
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    In fairness you could note that for 75% of people it's a pleasant spicy herb Jun 12 at 6:30
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    How does such a large fraction of the population even know what dish soap tastes like?
    – user14111
    Jun 12 at 8:55
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    @user14111; In my case, I had an older brother.
    – JohnHunt
    Jun 12 at 18:40
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    And cilantro is the thing tasting like soap (I tried to brush my teeth with soap as a kid, so I'd know) while coriander is not.
    – Tim
    Jun 13 at 9:16

2 Answers 2

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One of Starfire's co-creators -- comicbook writer, Marv Wolfman -- stated the following in the introduction to New Teen Titans Archives Vol. 4:

Before I go too far, a brief digression. I love puns, and as far as I'm concerned, the worse the better. Hence, our spicy Starfire is named Koriand'r, after the spice, coriander. Her father, who can never make up his mind what to do and keeps going off in the wrong direction, is named Myand'r, or meander (so you know how to pronounce it). And of course, her ruthless sister the military leader is named Komand'r, or commander. Oddly, this final name was not my pun but that of colorist Anthony Tollin. Credit where credit is due.

enter image description here

enter image description here

New Teen Titans Archives Vol. 4 (November, 2008)

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  • This makes me wonder about when the name debuted, as it reminds me of Dragon Ball's use of vegetables for space aliens. I just kinda wonder if either one was aware of the other.
    – trlkly
    Jun 12 at 21:45
  • That's easy enough to answer: Starfire/Koriand'r first appeared in 1980. The Dragon Ball franchise started in 1984. Jun 13 at 15:39
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According to the show's creator, this pun was intentional.

I love puns and as far as I'm concerned, the worse the better. Hence, our spicy Starfire is named Koriand'r, after the spice, coriander.

New Teen Titans Archives Vol. 4

In-universe, it would appear to be a coincidence. Her sister is Komand'r (which sounds like commander) and her father is Myand'r (which sounds like meander) but her brother and mother are Ryand'r and Luand'r respectively, which don't sound like English words.


It does not go unnoticed that her name is funny, which presumably is why she shortens it.

enter image description here Starfire vol.2 #1

enter image description here Starfire vol.2 #2

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    And as Terry Pratchett pointed out, there's "only so many syllables in the world, when you think about it"
    – Valorum
    Jun 12 at 7:11
  • I wonder if the author of the first comic you posted ever that Vega is a star only 25 light years from Earth, within the Milky Way Galaxy like Earth, and not in a distant galaxy. Vega was only about the second or third star whose distance was measured, in the 1830s, so I guess that there isn't enough time for its distance to become generally known. Or maybe the name of Vega is just another coincidence between unrelated languages, like Koriand'r itself. Jun 12 at 18:08
  • @M.A.Golding - She is telling it as a story. I don't think she's aiming for realism and accuracy
    – Valorum
    Jun 12 at 18:36

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