Whereas “Starkiller” has an innately violent ring to it, “Skywalker” is much more ethereal. It’s also very much the sort of thing you would expect a Chosen One to be called in a prototypical hero’s journey narrative, like that of “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
Interestingly, thanks to the release of George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, the name “Skywalker” has come to take on a much more complicated connotation. Indeed, for all their faults, those movies played a key role in reframing the Skywalker Saga at large as a familial epic marred in tragedy, in which one generation after another are left to “fix the sins of the last generation,” as Lucas put it in his Rolling Stone interview. It’s part of what has allowed “Star Wars” to function as a mirror for the real-world, where we ourselves are constantly forced to fight the same battles as those who came before us (in slightly different forms), over and over.
As Lucas pointed out, however, this was all the more reason for Luke and, naturally, his sister Leia to have an uplifting surname:
“[…] The first three episodes are a tragedy, and the second three go slightly goofy, but they’re inspirational: Even the worst, most evil people find compassion. Darth Vader has compassion for his children, and that’s ultimately what children are for.”
As for “Starkiller,” well, it’s not a bad “Star Wars” name — it’s just not fitting for Luke and Leia. Heck, it was good enough for J.J. Abrams to make it the name of the First Order’s planetary base nearly 40 years after “A New Hope” hit theaters. Perhaps /Film’s Bryan Young put it best: “No good idea goes wasted in the halls of Lucasfilm.” Lucas would definitely know something about that.