In G-Canon, it is not revealed that Padme is pregnant with twins until she is in the medical bay ready to give birth. When asked what they should be named, she immediately responds without much thought.

From the script:

OBI-WAN: Don't give up, Padme.

PADME winces from the pain. The MEDICAL DROID is holding the BABY.

MEDICAL DROID: It's a boy.

PADME: Luke . . .

PADME can only offer up a faint smile. She struggles to touch the baby on the forehead.

MEDICAL DROID: ... and a girl.

PADME: . . . Leia.

Is there an EU in-universe explanation as to why she chose these names? Were they possible names that she and Anakin had agreed upon or did the names have some sort of significance to her/them?

  • 18
    Those are the names that Yoda had written on flash cards in the observation room.
    – Xantec
    Feb 21, 2013 at 21:31
  • 52
    Because that's what they were named in Episode IV
    – Kevin
    Feb 21, 2013 at 21:32
  • 3
    In the earliest draft he was named "Lucas Starkiller".
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2014 at 12:25
  • 3
    @Richard: Given how he killed the Star Wars franchise, that name is very apt. Jul 29, 2014 at 10:19
  • 1
    @Kevin: It's an ontological paradox! Nov 25, 2014 at 10:36

4 Answers 4


TL;DR, there is no information that could give a particular significance to the name of Luke and Leia.

I made a word search in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith novel, and neither the word "Luke" nor "Leia" appear before their birth. Remember that it's during the events of Revenge of the Sith that Anakin learns about Padmé's pregnancy. AFAIK, there is also no EU material that takes place during those events.

So, if there is any dialogue about the names of the kids, it's done off screen.

But, is there any occurrence of people using the name Luke or Leia in their lives? I don't think so. If Anakin had chosen a significant name for his kids, he would probably have chosen something like Shmi for a girl and Obi-Wan or Palpatine for a boy. It's less clear for Padmé, but a scan of her Wookieepedia article don't reveal any occurrence of those names that is not referring to her offspring.

The Star Wars Expanded Universe is vast, but I'm not aware of even a mention of those names before the birth of the twins.

  • 1
    Palpatine is a surname, and I really doubt that Anakin would name his kid after a Sith Lord.
    – Sandun
    Apr 27, 2021 at 4:52

In this case the simplest explanation appears to be the one, and we don't even need to go near the EU.

Throughout the movies both Anakin and Padme constantly refer to "the baby" - so it's clear that despite whatever technical level prenatal care may have been at, they did not know that they were going to be having twins (and that's confirmed by Vader not being aware that Luke had a sister in Episode VI - "so, you have a twin sister ... Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me"). So it's perfectly reasonable to have chosen two names in advance ("if it's a boy we'll call him Luke, if it's a girl Leia"), and end up using both when two babies popped out.

  • 6
    Production-wise: Not worth another answer, but perhaps worth incorporating? - 'Luke' was George Lucas' nickname in school. 'Lucas' = 'Luke S'. Also, in the initial draft, he was to be non-farmboy 'Annikkin Starkiller'. Leia Organa was initially 'Leia Antilles'
    – Solemnity
    Feb 22, 2013 at 3:13
  • 1
    So, I just suppose she was really lucky she didn't end up with twins of the same gender as each other.
    – Iszi
    Feb 22, 2013 at 14:46
  • 4
    @Iszi: The second twin was lucky. "It's a boy." "Luke..." "And another boy" "...Leia". (Replacing my previous comment, which made no sense.) Feb 23, 2013 at 19:40
  • I have a friend named Leia, He is Tongan, maybe it wouldn't have been a big deal there, like Chris, Pat, Sam...
    – BillyNair
    Feb 24, 2013 at 3:23
  • 1
    @user11521 - Hmm - think they need another brother for that to sound right.
    – RDFozz
    Jan 9, 2019 at 16:25

As others have said, there's no canon information on where she got the names.

However, it's worth noting that Anakin probably hadn't agreed upon those names at any point--by the end of TESB he's aware that Luke's his son, but (in the special edition) the Emperor says he has no doubt that Luke is "the son of Anakin Skywalker", and Vader asks how it's possible. It's a strange line to begin with, but it's even stranger if he didn't put two and two together the moment he first heard of someone with his last name and the first name he came up with, who's roughly as old as the last time he saw Padme alive. Add in the fact that Luke is a known associate of Leia, who is publicly known to be adopted and (under the theory) has the first name he chose, and it gets even less plausible that he'd take so long to figure it out if he had any input on the names.

Even in the (now-Legends) Expanded Universe, when Vader finds out the identity of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star from multiple sources (one of which is in the comic miniseries Vader's Quest, from a captured Rebel), it's the "Skywalker" part he's paying most attention to, implying that the "Luke" part isn't particularly meaningful. (Yes, some of these sources came out before the prequels, but The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader came out afterward and referenced most of the sources, still without mentioning any significance to "Luke" throughout.)

Personally, I like the idea that they're traditional Naboo names that Padme never got the chance to ask Anakin about, but that's just speculation/fanon.

  • The "how is it possible?" line is more a complaint than a question. It's like "dude, you told me she died before giving birth. How is it possible?" Vader/Anakin knew Luke was his sone the minute he heard his full name. Well, that's how I see it anyway.
    – tilley31
    May 30, 2022 at 18:42

I think Padme picked Luke because it means light, maybe she thought the baby would ground Anakin in the light. I think she picked Leia because Anakin always thought of Padme as an Angel, and Leia means heavenly child.

  • 4
    Do you have any sources to support this?
    – Null
    Nov 25, 2014 at 6:21
  • 1
    'Leia' means 'heavenly child' in Hawaiian, but it's also the Greek spelling (Λεια) of the Hebrew name 'Leah', which means 'weary'. We need a source that verifies Lucas actually was aware of the Hawaiian meaning of the name, and that he knowingly provided a retroactive explanation for Padme's choosing that name because she was called an 'angel'.
    – user33616
    Nov 25, 2014 at 7:23
  • 7
    I'm not interested (for the purposes of this question) why Lucas personally chose the names, I'm asking about any in-universe reason. Given that the story takes place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it's highly improbable that Padme knew anything about Hawaiian, Greek or Hebrew names and their translated meanings.
    – phantom42
    Nov 25, 2014 at 11:48
  • 3
    Names have derivations, not meanings. Just saying.
    – Martha
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:38

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