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Have We All Been Calling Kylo Ren From ‘Star Wars’ The Wrong Name?

Rational people have no problem admitting we live in a patriarchal society, even if they disagree on the finer points of how that affects us. One major example is how — until recently — we expected women would take the name of their husband when they married. It’s still an exceptionally common practice, though statistically women keeping their maiden names is on the rise. The structure of our culture doesn’t even know what do to when a man wants to take his wife’s last name. These cultural norms are so ingrained they color our perception, connecting dots where their aren’t any. Like the nature of how the Organa name is passed down in Star Wars for instance.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, fans of True Love™ were dismayed to see Han Solo and Leia Organa had not made it for the long haul. Upon reintroduction to the Alderaanian royal, she is introduced as General Organa. Because of the way our culture handles last names, it would be reasonable to assume after she and Han separated, she reclaimed her maiden name. But as there’s not even any proof of space divorce (only space separation), I’d argue instead Leia never changed her last name, as Alderaan was a matriarchal society that passed leadership from Queen to Princess, instead of King to Prince. There was a reason Bail chose to take Leia over Luke. Alderaan needed an heir.

Based strictly off the new canon established since Disney took over Lucasfilm, it makes sense. The name of Leia’s mother was Breha Organa. She was the Queen of Alderaan while Bail was her consort, not the King. The royal family is the House of Organa. Why — in a culture that values the divine right of Queens — would the royal house name be patrilineal? It wouldn’t. Enter a throwaway line from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace that was originally meant to introduce an Alderaanian character that was cut from the final film (and thus the official canon).

At one point in The Phantom Menace, the name of Senator Bail Antilles is floated as a possible alternative to Sheev Palpatine being elected as Supreme Chancellor. But since the scene showcasing this character never saw the light of day, it cracked the door for other possibilities. Occam’s Razor would say Bail Antilles is the same Senator as Bail Organa, only prior to his marriage to Breha and elevation to Viceroy and consort. There’s no single canonical mention of a separate Bail Antilles, not a peep from either subsequent films, the cartoon television shows, or the Marvel comics. If Bail’s “maiden” name was Antilles, it would also explain the Senator’s trust in Captain Antilles in ferrying Leia to Obi-Wan on Tatooine, as blood is thicker than paychecks, as well as the inference that House Organa was related to House Antilles. Monarchies tend to be a tad incestuous when it comes to marriage.

So if House Organa is the house of Breha Organa and her daughter Leia, it stands to reason that even without Alderaan as a seat of power, Leia would want to embrace the traditions of her home world. Which is how we end up with General Leia Organa and her son, Ben Organa.

Yes, if you Google Ben Organa, you’re not going to pull as many results as Ben Solo (in fact, only a single Reddit thread seems to have put stock in this name). But that’s everything to do with to our own cultural assumptions and nothing to do with the character’s given name. Even Pablo Hidalgo has cautioned fans that “Any name beyond Ben hasn’t been revealed anywhere.”* We don’t yet know much of Han Solo’s new Disney-approved history (Is he a Corellian prince? Is Solo his real last name?) so there’s no way to know if he’d be partial to his own surname. But the mere fact the Star Wars story group is keeping Ben’s given name under wraps is indicative it probably isn’t straight forward. As the sole known heir to the Alderaan throne (even if he is a boy), it stands to reason Leia would want to legitimize her heir by bestowing him with the House name.

All hail, Ben Organa, first of his name.

*One could argue his name might also be Ben Skywalker as that is Leia’s birth surname, but the Bloodlines novel indicates Leia feels no familial desire to be connected to that name over the one of those she called parents.

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