The (completely unofficial) Star Wars style guide: Terms every fan should know how to use correctly

Every time I see someone use the term ‘Jedis,’ I sigh.

Maybe it’s petty, but few things drive me battier than glaring Star Wars typos, particularly when they come from professional and semi-professional news outlets. Here are a few Star Wars terms and spellings every fan (and entertainment journalist) ought to know and use correctly in the years ahead.

Lucaswhat?
Lucasfilm, or Lucasfilm Ltd., is the parent company that makes Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and other films. LucasArts is their gaming division. LucasArts does not make movies – they make and oversee games. Other divisions of Lucasfilm: Industrial Light & Magic (special effects,) Lucasfilm Animation, Lucas Licensing and Skywalker Sound.

And no, it’s not LucasFilm, Lucasfilms, LucasFilms or Lucas Films. Lucasfilm.

How many Jedi?
The plural of Jedi is Jedi. The term is both singular and plural, like ‘fish.’ Sith is the same way.

Extended or Expanded?
They may indeed extend the Star Wars galaxy, but the official umbrella term for Star Wars books and comics is Expanded Universe.

Know your hyphens
There’s no hyphen in Jar Jar, but there is one in Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, X-wing, R2-D2, and C-3PO. (The phonetic spellings of Artoo and Threepio are perfectly acceptable, though.)

Other things that are frequently misspelled/punctuated:

  • The Force is capitalized. (And it’s the Force, but the the isn’t capitalized, generally.) The dark side is not capitalized. At least for the moment.
  • Anakin has two a’s and only one i.
  • There are two e’s in Wookiee. And when referring to the mighty Chewbacca by his nickname, it’s spelled Chewie, not Chewy.
  • There are no u’s in Padawan.
  • It’s Han Solo, not Hans. Princess Leia, not Leah.
  • Stormtrooper is one word.
  • Death Star is two words. Capitalized.
  • Sorry Brits, but it’s lightsaber, not lightsabre.
  • It’s Rogue Squadron, not Rouge Squadron. (Unless you’re a Club Jader deploying Attack Pattern Clinique, that is.)
  • Ahsoka is the character on The Clone Wars. Ashoka was an Indian emperor who reigned 269 to 232 BCE.
  • It’s a TIE Fighter, not a Tie Fighter. TIE stands for Twin Ion Engines. In the same vein, there’s AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport) and AT-ST (All Terrain Scout Transport.) There will not be a test, so just remember the capitalization. (h/t @JalenJade)
  • The animals Luke and Han ride in the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back are tauntauns, not taun tauns or ton tons.
  • It’s okay if you have to Google Kashyyyk. I mean, look at that thing. (Pretty much any Star Wars planet can – and probably should – be Googled to make sure it’s correct, and praise Wookieepedia for having such a high ranking.)
  • I won’t ding you for this one (and I don’t even do it myself most of the time,) but do note the accent mark in Padmé.

Obviously this isn’t everything – how on Earth people manage to misspell Zahn is beyond me – but they are the most glaring. What typos drive you batty?

59 thoughts on “The (completely unofficial) Star Wars style guide: Terms every fan should know how to use correctly

  1. Dunc Post author

    Mark: We’ve been here before. I recognize that tree.

    Aluminum is a real world thing. Lightsaber isn’t. ;)

    Did you know that American fanfic writers in British fandoms (Harry Potter, etc.) often have ‘Britpickers’ to make sure all their terms and spellings and cultural detritus are correct? But alas, I will never stop Ameripicking ‘lightsabre.’ ;)

    Reply
  2. Nancy K

    Tatooine only has two t’s, not three. It’s somewhat disappointing that a book like Ready Player One that revels in 80’s pop culture and geekery would get it wrong.

    The “Hans Solo” typo makes me twitch every time.

    Reply
  3. Ewan

    Would like to add whilst Stormtrooper(s) is one word with capitalized S, clone trooper(s) is two words without capitalization or a hyphen. Similarly for scout trooper(s) (two words, no capitalization) but I’m looking for official styling for snowtrooper(s) – one or two words (SW.com has it as one word)?

    Also, probably not part of any style guide but me being pedantic and looking for any official word – the Clone Wars (note no capitalization of ‘t’ in the ‘the’ and the ‘the’ is optional and used in terms of being the definite article) generally refers to material published pre-2008, particularly that released between 2002 and 2007 from Del Rey, Dark Horse & Cartoon Network’s micro-series. While The Clone Wars (capitalized T) refers to post-2008 material, from the film and TV series to books and comics.

    Reply
  4. Dan Wallace

    I love this list, Dunc, but you’ve gone and made a Muphry’s Law (any online complaint about spelling errors will inevitably contain a spelling error).

    [adjusts glasses, clears throat]
    The “w” in X-wing isn’t capitalized, unless you’re specifically referring to the titles of the X-Wing novels.

    Reply
  5. Dan Wallace

    Also, because I don’t know how to make the accent mark in Microsoft Word, whenever I’m writing and need to use the name Padme I write “cliche” so the accent is auto-added, then change that word into Padme. There is some sort of meta-commentary going on there.

    Reply
  6. Nancy K

    Ha! I was going to ask about X-Wing vs. X-wing because I’ve used both indiscriminately and I wondered if there was an actual rule. Thanks for that, Dan! :)

    Reply
  7. anison

    “Ton-ton” for “tauntaun” is one I feel like I’ve seen distressingly often and never fails to make me cringe.

    Reply
  8. jawajames

    Dan: neat tip for the accent on Padmé. when writing a blog post, i cut and paste from the web (google padme to get the word with the accent) during the final edit to make sure all those accents are on.

    And bonus: Nien Nunb. We don’t really have the NB letter combination in English, but the Sullustan co-pilot has it in his name. However, the Sullustan B-wing pilot at Endor is Ten Numb. (that’s MB)

    Reply
  9. Aaron Goins

    I don’t know why but the mispronunciation of Ben Quadinaros has always bothered me. There is no “r” after the “d” people. It’s Qua-di-nar-os.

    I’m such a nerd.

    Reply
  10. Mark Newbold

    Fair point. Don’t agree, but fair point :-p
    Love Dan’s idea regarding Padme, I’ll have to remember that one!
    What people forget is that English and American English aren’t the same language. American is a dialect of English with different grammer, lots of different spellings and plenty of different words. Great point about Potter fiction being ‘Britpicked’. Can’t have enough ‘Cor blimey guvnors’ can we?
    http://www.jedinews.co.uk/news/news.aspx?newsID=9514

    Reply
  11. Mark Newbold

    Yeah it is a great post because we all either blog or write for websites and when trawling the media for quotes see these hideous errors all over the place. I have to say that Lucas Film and Hans Solo are the most common over here.
    Then again, the Trekkies get Doctor Spock so we’re not the only ones…

    Reply
  12. Dunc Post author

    Ewan: Yeah, The Clone Wars thing vs Clone Wars is rather obscure, but I thought it only applies to the two TV shows?

    Emily: I added Leia/Leah! And Rogue/Rouge, which I make myself, though I’ve tried to be better about it… Problem of being a contextual reader, I guess.

    anison: Added tauntaun! I’ve not run into that one much, but I’m sure I’ve added a space in it a few times.

    For accent marks – and any other random gobbledygook – I have the XHTML Character Entity Reference bookmarked on every single computer I use. It comes in handy more often than you’d think.

    Reply
  13. Coop

    Wampa, not wompa.

    Yuuzhan Vong, not Yuuzahn, Yuzzan or Yuzzem (which, yes, I have seen).

    Maybe something about TTT not having an actual trilogy title.

    Reply
  14. Dunc Post author

    True confession: I cannot spell ‘Millennium’ to save my damn life. Or ‘Christensen,’ for that matter. I always Google it.

    Actually, I can’t spell a lot of standard stuff, too. So thankful for the invention of built-in browser spell check.

    Reply
  15. Fred Herman

    Not debating it, but it strikes me as weird for “dark side” *not* to be capitalized. It’s the name of a specific entity, rather than either one dark side among many or some randomly-chosen side that happens to be dark. There are many nations, and many companies have presidents, but as President I would vow to serve the Nation.

    Reply
  16. mark newbold

    Jawa James, I would LOVE to be able to use ‘grammer’ and ‘grammar’ as the perfect example of the difference between English and American English, but sadly I can’t as grammar is the correct spelling all across the planet and ‘grammer’ is clearly a fake world I invented to describe a free trader or smuggler who transports things in REALLY small amounts…

    Reply
  17. WFDT

    There actually is a Rouge Squadron, but it’s fan-based: a sub-group of The Rebel Legion made up of female pilot cosplayers.

    Reply
  18. Dr. Gina

    I am taking this link and posting it on the Star Wars Performance University FB page. What bothers me the most on social media by very few fans is blatant disregard toward ANY CANON of Star Wars, George Lucas or any of the official authors. The most egregious offenders are the ones indoctrinating new fans and fraudulently passing themselves off as employees of Lucasfilm, when no contract or connection exists. It is fraud and hurts fans.

    Reply
  19. Lin

    “I don’t know how to make the accent mark in Microsoft Word” – Dan Wallace

    Here’s how: Padmé 0233
    Learned that in French class.

    Great list and concept. Thanks for gathering it all in one spot.

    Reply
  20. Lin

    whoops – for some reason the first part of the instruction did not appear – you have to hold down the ALT key at the same time – pressing 0233

    Reply
  21. Dr. Gina

    To add: why we are seeing pet peeve misspellings and bad reference may have to do with some fans creating fake impostor accounts on social media outlets. To them I say, “I am sorry that you are NOT the first ‘Derthe Vaadaar’ or ‘O Bee Juaan Key’kno B’, but making another account misleading people does not validate your fandom.”

    Reply
  22. Paula

    I can confirm that Dark Vador is the French name for Darth Vader. That probably contributes to many misspellings when international fans interact.

    Reply
  23. Pingback: The cold hard truth about midi-clorians

  24. Mark Newbold

    Well I hit the motherlode of mis-pronounced names yesterday. Here in the UK everyone I know pronounces Vaders Super Star Destroyer the Executor as Exey-Cute-er (as in, something that executes things). The metal VHS box set of 1995 was and is known in the UK as the Exey-Cute-er box set.
    I found out last night via Pablo that it’s actually pronounced Eggs-eck-u-tor, which isn’t a word that’s heard much over here (an executor oversees a will, but that’s about the only common usage I can think of).

    Anyway, it’ll always be the Exey-Cute-er over here because it sounds bad-ass, and I can’t see that changing after 33 years!

    But Dunc, you’ll be glad to know I’ve bowed to convention and started typing lightsaber instead of lightsabre (even though it feels TOTALLY wrong!)

    Reply
    1. Dunc Post author

      Mike: I’ve been seeing a LOT of ‘Chewy’ lately. Ugh. I think I’ll add that one.

      Mark: VICTORY!

      Pronunciation is a whole different post, and I’m honestly not going to go there, if only because I honestly don’t care, for the most part. ;)

      Though I will say one thing we hammered out in the early days of CJ, with input from Tim Zahn: When you say the name Mara it’s said as mar-uh.

      Reply
  25. Mark Newbold

    Yes consider that a win! Yeah, I guess pronunciations are a different thing entirely although in this case we were thinking of entirely different words and meanings. And agree on Mah-ra!

    Reply
    1. Dunc Post author

      Plus with everyone having different accents, pronunciation can be a pretty fluid thing, far more so than spelling. Basically it’s an area where I’m happy to roll with it.

      Reply
  26. Jake

    I’d like to reiterate Ozzel’s point:

    C-3PO (oh), not C-3P0 (zero).

    Also, all capitalized, and hyphen after “C,” not “3.”

    Reply
  27. Zannah Jade

    I _hate_ “Chewy.” It drives me insane.

    People actually call her Leah? That is beyond wrong.

    And you have just shattered my soul in clarifying that it’s Mah-ra not Ma-ra. Literally.

    Reply
  28. Darth Misium

    @Zannah Jade, I’m reading “mah-ra” and “Ma-ra” exactly the same way, so I’m lost.

    @People with trouble typing Padmé, if you’re on a PC, open the start menu, go to “Run…”, type in “charmap” and hit okay. Set the font to something normal, like Arial, and now you can easily copy and paste any special character you want. You can also find it in All Programs>Accessories>System Tools as “Character Map”

    The capitalization stuff throws me a lot. I find myself wondering /why/ things are capitalized. Why is the X in X-wing capitalized? Why is Stormtrooper capitalized? Are these things that get capitalized in the real world? It’s unfamiliar territory for me.

    I always assumed it was “Eggs-ec-u-tor”. Executor, as in executioner, just sounds weird as a name.

    And lastly, I’m kind of amazed people would write “Hans”.

    Okay, I’m done now.

    Reply
    1. Dunc Post author

      Wookiee is so easy to get wrong, so I can understand. Plus, it’s not like they spell it in the movies…

      Xizor is, I think, something like ‘she-zor.’ But don’t hold me to that. I’m sure it’s said out loud officially at some point in all the extra Shadows of the Empire stuff that I happily ignore.

      Reply
  29. Jude

    The é can be typed by holting Alt and pressing 0233 on the number pad (on Windows at least). I feel like such a nerd for knowing that one for years. :/

    I agree that wookiee is an easy one to miss. “Hans” Solo drives me nuts, because he’s such a major character… I feel like people REALLY have to not pay attention to miss that one.

    And yes, Xizor is pronounced “shee-zor”.

    If we’re getting into pronunciations, I always struggle with Vergere – and Wookieepedia’s explanation of (pronounced /vɚ’ʒɪɹ/) really doesn’t help me that much. :)

    Reply
    1. Dunc Post author

      I don’t see that one too often – it’s usually “Anikin,” probably as a symptom of the Ani/Annie nickname. (Which I THINK is supposed to be spelled “Annie”? But I’m not sure. I’d go “Ani” myself.)

      Reply

Leave a Reply