The Original Names of 10 Famous Fictional Characters

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

There are plenty of classic novels that underwent well-known title changes during the writing process, but there are just as many examples of famous characters that got their names changed before release, too. Here are 10 of them!

1. Scarlett O’Hara

The iconic Gone with the Wind heroine went by the name Pansy O'Hara right up until the book went to print in 1936. During this time, the novel itself was known under the working title Tomorrow Is Another Day.

2. Holly Golightly

In early drafts of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly Golightly was named Connie Gustafson. Side note: Truman Capote is thought to have based Holly on several different women, including Gloria Vanderbilt, Oona Chaplin, and Walter Matthau's wife, Carol Grace. His own mother was probably also an inspiration.

3. Count Dracula

Bram Stoker’s notes on Dracula reveal that he had been referring to his famous vampire as Count Wampyr. During his research, Stoker came across Vlad II of Wallachia, who went by the name Vlad Dracul. He was intrigued enough to change his character’s name.

4. Sherlock Holmes

Similarly, Arthur Conan Doyle made notes that indicated he had been considering the name Sherringford for Detective Holmes.

5. John H. Watson

If that doesn’t throw you for enough of a loop, consider this: Holmes’s assistant was originally going to be known as Ormond Sacker. Arthur Conan Doyle decided the name was a bit too bizarre and changed it to the decidedly duller John H. Watson.

6. Bruce Wayne

Batman’s alter ego was named for Mad Anthony Wayne because co-creator Bill Finger was looking for sturdy, historical names that suggested gentry and entitlement. Before the name Wayne was determined, Bruce Adams and Bruce Hancock were considered. Bruce, by the way, came from Scottish patriot Robert Bruce.

7. Nancy Drew

Before Nancy Drew got her name, Stella Strong, Diana Drew, Diana Dare, Nan Nelson, Helen Hale, and Nan Drew were all considered.

8. Tiny Tim

Small Sam, Little Larry, and Puny Pete were all in the running before Charles Dickens settled on Tiny Tim for the sickly sad sack in A Christmas Carol.

9. Little Orphan Annie

Little Orphan Annie was nearly Little Orphan Otto, until Harold Gray’s publisher at the newspaper syndicate suggested his character looked more female than male and told him to stick a skirt on it.

10. Luke Skywalker

It might have been a much different galaxy if George Lucas had gone the name Luke Starkiller over Luke Skywalker like he originally intended. Although Skywalker prevailed, the name Starkiller has since been used for other characters in the Star Wars universe.