The latest trend in American baby names isn't just adding Y's or X's in places you wouldn't expect. According to the Social Security Administration, baby names from the Marvel Cinematic Universe are officially the next big thing in the United States. The SSA released its data on 2017 early in May 2018, and the results prove that U.S. parents are seeking increasingly unique names — that's the best word for it, right? — for their precious little ones. Not just the names that are names of real people, gods, or mythological figures either. A few years from now, Kindergarten classes across the country could be filled with little Rockets, Peppers, and Hawkeyes. As in, "Ms. Smith, Hawkeye M. stole my red crayon!"
Nerdist looked at the data and uncovered some of the most newly popular names plucked right out of the MCU. A handful sound pretty average. According to the data, at least 5,833 babies last year were named Parker — at least some of which could be inspired by Peter Parker, AKA, Spider-Man. Additionally, the U.S. welcomed 355 Natashas (Black Widow's first name), and 128 Peppers. Meanwhile, Wade made a comeback with 899 babies bearing Deadpool's moniker.
While most of those names are pretty inconspicuous, a few of the heroes parents are naming their little ones after are... unusual, to say the least.
The SSA begins to track names that occur five or more times within a calendar year. They also have data on the 1,000 most popular names for a given time period, going as far back as the late 1800s. They release their data on the previous year every spring, which is how parents on Facebook discover the "Top 10 Most Popular U.S. Baby Names," and make the same joke to their kids about it every year. ("Aren't you glad I did/didn't name you one of these?") Per Nerdist, in addition to Parker, Wade, and Natasha, the next generation of names inspired by the MCU reportedly includes a more than a few monikers that kids will have to spell out slowly for their peers.
Yahoo reports that parents welcomed 96 Lokis into the world in 2017, along with 63 baby Valkyries, and a smaller number of Rockets, Quills, Draxes, Marvels, Nebulas, Cages, and Hawkeyes. (Or is the plural Hawks-eye?) If you named your kid something like "Nebula Jane," that would be amazing. Drax is a little harder to pull off, though it does open the door for a lot of chill nicknames. And, hey, no one can say the cheerful hero's name doesn't suggest some serious strength.
The Huffington Post also looked at this year's information and realized that Cersei made the list for the first time in history. Game of Thrones names like Arya, Daenerys, and Khaleesi — yes, even Khaleesi, which is not a name as much as it's a Dothraki title — have been steadily climbing the ranks since 2013, but now even the legit "bad guys" are making a mark with pop culture loving parents.
Since the data was only recently announced, it contains the most current figures for 2017. However, 2018 has already seen the release of Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, and Thor: Ragnarok was released with just a few weeks left into the baby-naming year. Next year's information could look totally different. Who wouldn't want to name their daughter after genius, witty, butt-kicking Princess Shuri? And why not bring back the name Bruce? It would cover Marvel (Dr. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk) and D.C. (Bruce Wayne/Batman). Considering the progression of popular names like Khaleesi and Arya to full-on Cersei, does this mean a generation of little Thanoses is already on the way? Possibly!
It will certainly be interesting to see which names catch on in popularity, and which ones subside with the franchise hype. After all, there are handfuls of Hermiones and Katnisses every year. If none of these names become real breakout stars in the future, they may at least become a consistent reminder of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's role in people's lives.