Where did the baby name Cindel come from in the 1980s?

Cindel, 1984
Cindel Towani and an Ewok

While we wait to see whether or not the new Star Wars names Rey and Kylo become as trendy as Luke and Leia became in the ’70s, let’s check out Cindel — the Star Wars name that everyone seems to have forgotten about!

Cindel debuted in the SSA’s baby name data in 1984 and saw peak usage in 1986:

  • 1988: 10 baby girls named Cindel
  • 1987: 11 baby girls named Cindel
  • 1986: 25 baby girls named Cindel [peak]
  • 1985: 18 baby girls named Cindel
  • 1984: 7 baby girls named Cindel [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

Variant spellings Cyndel and Cyndal debuted in 1985, while Cindal, Cyndil, and Cindell — all one-hit wonders — appeared over the next couple of years.

What’s the source of “Cindel”?

A pair of made-for-TV movies based on stories by George Lucas.

Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure aired on ABC in November of 1984. The sequel, Ewoks: The Battle for Endor, aired on the same station one year later.

Both films feature a young human character named Cindel Towani (played by actress Aubree Miller).

In the first film, her family is shipwrecked on the forest moon of Endor, home of the Ewoks. Her parents, Jeremitt and Catrine Towani, are promptly kidnapped. Cindel and her older brother, Mace, must locate and rescue them, with the Ewoks’ help.

In the second film, a group of marauders kills everyone in the Towani family except for Cindel. She and several friends fight the marauders, and, in doing so, obtain the starcruiser energy cell that Cindel needs to finally leave Endor.

In his book A Brief Guide to Star Wars, author Brian J. Robb notes that Mace is “a name from Lucas’s earliest Star Wars drafts later used for Samuel L. Jackson’s Jedi character in the prequels.” I can’t find any clues about how Lucas came up with the character name Cindel, though.

What are your thoughts on “Cindel”?


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