- «Chiss names are difficult for many species to properly pronounce. I suggest you address me by my core name: Thrawn.»
- ―Mitth'raw'nuruodo to Anakin Skywalker
A core name was a shortened name used by Chiss. Members of the Chiss species used their core names rather than their full names for at least two reasons. Among Chiss, core names were used in all but the most formal settings. Chiss also gave their core names to members of other species, as non-Chiss had difficulties pronouncing full Chiss names.
- "Aristocra Mitth'urf'ianico?"
"I am he. General Ba'kif?"
"I am he."
- ―General Ba'kif and Aristocra Thurfian introduced themselves formally with their full names; after which they could call each-other by their core names
Core names were abbreviated forms of the full names of Chiss. Most Chiss names were multi-syllabic and consisted of three distinct parts, as in "Mitth'raw'nuruodo". The first part, before the first apostrophe, represented the Chiss family to which the name's bearer belonged. The second part, between the two apostrophes, was the person's given name. The third part of the name, after the final apostrophe, represented other social factors.
|Family name||Given name||Social factor suffix||Full name|
Chiss used their core names when speaking to individuals of other species, who were often unable to pronounce the full Chiss name. When meeting Jedi General Anakin Skywalker on Batuu, Mitth'raw'nuruodo of the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet suggested using his core name of Thrawn. Core names were also used among Chiss in all but the most formal settings, and were even used in some formal settings after initial introductions with one's full name.
Core names were composed of the final part of one's family name, all of one's given name, and the beginning of one's social factor suffix, without interleaved apostrophes. Because a Chiss' family name formed part of their core name, individuals' core names would change upon their rematching into a new family. The sky-walker navigators and flag officers of the Chiss Defense Force did not belong to any one Chiss family, but rather to the "family" of the Chiss Ascendancy. In those cases, the names were two-part and were not abbreviated to core names.
Name changes over time
When Chiss joined a new family, their full names and core names changed as well. This could occur during rematching, military promotion, or adoption.
Changes from rematching
- "Start getting used to the name Mitth'raw'nuru."
- ―Aristocra Thurfian tells the Chiss formerly named Kivu'raw'nuru to get used to his new name during his rematching ceremony to the Mitth family. Thereafter, Vurawn no longer existed, and in his place stood Thrawn
An example of a name that changed over time is Mitth'raw'nuruodo, born as Kivu'raw'nuru "Vurawn". Vurawn was made a merit adoptive of the Mitth family, thus changing his name to "Mitth'raw'nuru" and his core name to "Thrawn". Some time after being promoted to Senior Commander in the Chiss Expansionary Defense Fleet, Mitth'raw'nuru became Mitth'raw'nuruodo, but his core name of "Thrawn" was unchanged. Similarly, the sky-walker Al'iastov was adopted into the Mitth family, thus becoming Mitth'ali'astov and gaining the core name "Thalias".
Promotion to flag officer
- "Senior Captain Irizi'ar'alani is no more. In her place now stands Commodore Ar'alani."
- ―Supreme Admiral Ja'fosk promotes Senior Captain Ziara to Commodore Ar'alani, leaving the woman with no core name
Another Chiss whose name changed over time was Admiral Ar'alani, born Irizi'ar'alani "Ziara". Ziara was a Blood member of the Irizi family. Upon her promotion to commodore, Supreme Admiral Ja'fosk declared that Senior Captain Irizi'ar'alani was no more, and in her place arose Admiral Ar'alani. Ar'alani reflected that the same had once happened to Ja'fosk, and Patriarch Mitth'oor'akiord told Caregiver Thalias of a time when Ba'kif was known as "Labaki".
- Khresh: "This is Lieutenant Eli'van'to. He will speak with you."
- Eli Vanto: "Hello, Navigator Un'hee. As First Officer Khresh said, I'm Lieutenant Eli. I understand you wanted to talk to me?"
- Un'hee: "Yes. Do they also call you Ivant?"
- Vanto: "That's my core name. Or it would be if I were a Chiss. Obviously, I'm not. In my culture, my friends and family would call me Eli."
- Un'hee: "Eli. So just the first part? […] Strange."
- ―Lieutenant Eli Vanto is introduced to Navigator Un'hee by the Steadfast's first officer Khresh. The two then discuss Chiss core names and humans' different name conventions.
Some examples of core name derivation from an individual's full name follow.
|Full name||Core name||Citation|
Notably, the human Eli Vanto, a rare human alien in the service of the Chiss Ascendancy, did not belong to any Chiss family. Instead, his given name "Eli" was treated as the equivalent of a Chiss family within his name, and he was thus given the core name "Ivant". At first, Vanto disliked the core name he had been assigned by his Chiss colleagues, preferring they address him as "Eli" as other humans would. However, he eventually came to see his core name as a sign that he had truly been accepted as a member of the Chiss Ascendancy.
Names without a family component
Upon promotion to flag rank (commodore and higher), Chiss officers were stripped of their family ties and name, being officially recognized as "The Ascendancy is your family". Similarly, Force-sensitive Chiss children were taken from their families of birth to serve as "sky-walkers", and were likewise treated as having no specific family. Those individuals' names were two-part instead of three, and were not abbreviated to a core name.
Behind the scenes
Core names first appeared in the revivified canon in the 2016 television movie Star Wars Rebels: Steps Into Shadow. They were first identified as core names in the 2018 novel Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn.
Core names first appeared in the Star Wars Legends continuity in the 1991 novel Heir to the Empire, also by Timothy Zahn. They were first identified as core names within Star Wars Legends in Zahn's August 1995 short story Mist Encounter, which portrayed Thrawn's first contact with the Galactic Empire.