Larry: Oh golly... Eh, what's your name?
They've never given me a name. I've been around since show one and I still don't have a name.
A major character is never referred to by their actual or full name, instead being addressed by a title
, or Only One Name
. Reasons for this vary, but it often serves the function of making a character seem more mysterious or eccentric.
In older (pre-1900 in North America; pre-1970 in the UK) fiction, a narrator may refer to a character (especially an older or more socially prominent character) by his or her surname
. This is because at that time first names were much less commonly used socially than they are now; a young character may not even know the first name of an older character he or she is not related to. It was also common in that time to blank out
the names of real people to avoid lawsuits and the like.
A common joke is to do The Un-Reveal
on the full name.
This trope can be somewhat justified
, however, due to Nominal Importance
: It's difficult enough for the writers to come up with good names for the main protagonists; it would be incredibly
painstaking to come up with equally good names for a cast of characters who exist solely as part of the setting and serve no further purpose to the narrative.
Another common variation is for a series where a child is the main character to have parents only referred to as Mom and Dad
Sometimes, a main protagonist will have no name to add to their mystique.
Or it may be because they can't be named
When this trope is applied to work titles themselves, not just character names, it's No Title
Compare The Trope without a Title
, You Know The One
, and I Know Your True Name
(which may be a reason for this). Contrast Only One Name
, Everyone Calls Him Barkeep
, and I Am Not Shazam
. Compare and contrast The Scottish Trope
, for where characters know a name, but actively avoid saying it. See also Nameless Narrative
. When a character genuinely has no name whatsoever (as opposed to it not being given in the work), then they are The Nameless
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Anime and Manga
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Played for laughs with Hokuto's lackey from Cromartie High School. The running gag throughout the whole series is that he gets cut off before he can say what it is. The background and author notes in the manga finally does reveal his name to the reader, but the whole cast of the series admits that it's better that he just continues to go by "Hokuto's Lackey" because they've built up their friendships and familiarities with him around it. Learning his name would be a rather jarring change to that relationship.
- From Shaman King: Horo-Horo's real name is Horokeu Usui (Horokeu is Ainu for "Japanese Wolf"). This is never ever mentioned on the anime, but had a whole special secret connotation in the manga.
- Haruhi Suzumiya:
- Kyon, the Computer Club President, and Kyon's sister - Kyon bemoans his stupid nickname but never says his real name (his school introduction is cut off). Even his sister's image song had to be titled as "Kyon no Imouto-san" or "Kyon's Little Sister". When Emiri Kimidori is about to say the president's name, it is covered up by a sudden cut-off to a random cat meowing.
- So far, the closest hint to what Kyon's real name might be was Sasaki from the 9th novel saying that it was distinguished and almost regal-sounding. Doesn't really help that much.
- Also in the ninth novel there is also another character, a rival time-traveler from the future, who seems to prefer this, actively showing disdain for even the existence of names. For the sake of reference, he suggests that they call him Fujiwara. Kyon prefers to just call him The Sneering Bastard.
- L in Death Note orders the police officers aiding him to call him Ryuzaki, but his real name is never shown. In a book of extras entitled "How to Read", his name is revealed to be L Lawliet. If you watch the live action movie L: change the WorLd you see his name written in the death note. Also, you can just barely catch that his first name is just "L" in the second movie.
- X-Men comics have several examples:
- Wolverine was known only as Logan (and he was around for several years before even that much was revealed). He had amnesia, and no one knew what his real name was. In his origin series, Wolverine's name was revealed to be James Howlett, having stolen the name 'Logan' from his family's groundskeeper, who turned out to Wolverine's biological father. This information is not used in most adaptations, although in X-Men Origins: Wolverine Sabretooth refers to him as 'Jimmy', and his full name is the same as it is in the comics.
- Rogue spent a large portion of her existence known only as that, but it was revealed in 2004 to be Anna Marie. She once used the alias Anna Raven, which consists of the first names of her and her foster mother, Mystique.
- Bishop's first name was revealed to be Lucas during the X-Treme X-Men series.
- Sage is yet another X-Man to not have a full name. Tessa is believed to be a part of her name, but it is unknown as to whether this is her first name, last name or even just an alias.
- Magneto's real name, Max Eisenhardt, was only "revealed" in 2008. For most of his existence, he has been known by the "aliases" Magnus or Erik Magnus Lehnsherr. Quotation marks because this is a retcon; "Erik Lehnsherr" was his real name when it was introduced, and continues to be in the film series (where we even see his parents calling him Erik as a child).
- X-23 wasn't named at all in her first comics appearance in NYX. This was actually invoked in-universe, as well: She didn't receive her "real" name, Laura, until Sarah Kinney names her in the very last pages of Innocence Lost #6. She was thirteen years old before she was given a name other than her Facility codename/designation.
- In The Dandy comic "Blinky", the titular character is only ever called Blinky; his real name is never revealed. In fact, the comic implies his name actually is Blinky.
- In the Transformers comic series "The War Within: The Dark Ages", a character is introduced who is only ever referred to as "the Fallen," as his name was taken away from him by his fellow Transformers after he betrayed Primus and sided with Unicron. This is especially significant since Transformer names are not only personal labels, but usually define their entire purpose, personality, and/or function. (In the novel "Transformers Exodus", his original name is given as "Megatronus Prime.")
- His archfoe The Joker may or may not be named Jack… or maybe Joe. However, not even he himself is sure, due in part to his Multiple-Choice Past.
- Ra's Al-Ghul left his real name behind centuries ago (as, presumably, did Vandal Savage), and is referred to only by his title. But Vandal Savage's real name was Vandar Adg, it's just eons out of date and used only in cave days.
- DCU character who embodies this trope: The Phantom Stranger. This is the title used for copyright purposes, and whenever he is listed as a guest star in someone else's book. In the stories themselves, he is almost always referred to as "The Stranger" when the speaker wishes to be specific, or "my friend" when brevity is in order (and he happens to be present). Neil Gaiman used "Brotherless One" or descriptives, such as "your friend in the white turtleneck" in The Books of Magic. In a single exception, Jan or Zayna expressed amazement that almost the entire Justice League of America attended a particularly momentous gathering, "... except the Phantom Stranger."
- In Dennis the Menace (UK) (as featured in The Beano), Dennis's parents are simply known as "Mum" and "Dad". The creators once claimed in response to a reader's letter that his parents were actually named "Dennis's Mum" and "Dennis's Dad" at birth. This is true for all parents in The Beano except for Les Pretend's dad called Des.
- Alter Tse'elon, the Israeli Defense Force Colonel Badass from Y: The Last Man. Her parents had already lost two children when she was born, so they followed an old Jewish superstition of keeping her real name a secret so that the Angel of Death couldn't find her. After Yorick realizes she's a Death Seeker, she announces her real name to the crowd. It's Yedida, by the way.
- Agent 355 from the same comic. She eventually whispers her name in Yorick's ear, but it's never revealed to the readers. Word of God says you can find it somewhere hidden in the book. The popular fan theory is that it's Peace, since that's written on her gravestone.
- V from V for Vendetta. (S)He states: "I do not have a name. You can call me V"
- In The Immortal Iron Fist, the ninja-servant girl who is Orson Randall's daughter was never named, due to rather restricted freedoms. According to her, she'll have made a name for herself by the time Danny sees her again.
- In Warren Ellis' breakout series Nextwave, a protagonist is named only "The Captain"; following his gaining powers, he discovered that almost every name which began with "Captain" had been used or was unusable; eventually, he settled for "The Captain", only to find that the name was also taken, and was forced to pay the original Captain for its use. Due to his abusive childhood, depression, and alcoholism, he refuses to divulge his real name; his teammates theorize that he may not even remember it. Ellis' original pitch also notes that the character "has been every crappy Marvel character with the word "Captain" in front of their name".
- In the original Stanley and His Monster, Stanley called the monster "Spot" but his actual name was never revealed. In the Post-Crisis reboot by Phil Foglio (consisting of an origins issue and a miniseries), it was explicitly established that he didn't have a name.
- Garth Ennis seems to love this one, with characters like the Pilgrim, the Saint of Killers, the Female, the Frenchman, Arseface…
- The Hunter in The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael (and the Dead Left in his Wake).
- Frank Miller's Ronin.
- Star Trek: Crew is an IDW miniseries by John Byrne about the life of Majel Barrett's character from "The Cage," who was only referred to as "Number One." Byrne manages to go through the entire series (and a few guest appearances in his other Star Trek books) without ever once revealing the character's name. Indeed, for most of it, he couldn't even call her "Number One," as that was simply a nickname for her rank in "The Cage."
- Katy's younger sister in Katy Keene didn't have a name in the first run. The two revivals gave her different names, but neither was mentioned often.
- Ghost of the Thunderbolts erased all record of his original identity after he became Ghost. When he recounts his origin, every mention of his original name is blacked out.
- Doctor Strange's faithful servant is known only as Wong. Lampshaded in a comic Defenders series when Nightmare asked if 'Wong' were his first or last name — and followed up Strange's exasperated silence with "You don't know, do you?"
- In The Smurfs, both the comic books and the cartoon show, there are important characters in the stories that don't have any names.
- The Sage and The Minstrel in Groo the Wanderer have never been given proper names, to the point some speculate that those ARE their names and they are possibly magical spirits of some sort (Sage, even flashbacks, always seems to be an old man, and the head of Minstrel's lute changes panel to panel). Famously also, Sage's dog didn't have a name for much of the book's run, and after a running gag of persistent questions about it in the letter's page, Sergio and Mark gave him the name of ANOTHER running gag from the letter's page ("Mulch").
- In Kid Eternity, the protagonist was originally only known as "the Kid," and his grandfather was only referred to as "Gran'pa." This only changed years later when the series underwent Canon Welding with the Shazam series, and the Kid became Christopher "Kit" Freeman (Freddy's younger brother).
- Daredevil has a kid in his 50th Anniversary issue, which is set in a Distant Future. We never learn the identity of the kid's mother.
- In Raymond Briggs' The Man, the title character's real name is never revealed. He claims not to have one.
Eastern European Animation
- In Son of the White Horse, only the main character Fanyűvő and his brothers Kőmorzsoló and Vasgyúró get names. Everyone else just has to make do with nouns.
Films — Animated
- In Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora's father is named King Stefan, but her mother is never called anything but "the Queen". Some children's books published about the movie give her the name "Leah," which many fans have adopted. Weirdly, she doesn't even get listed in the credits of the film at all. In fact, the Disney archives have absolutely no record of the name of the actress who provided her voice, making her a really nameless entity!
- In The Polar Express, the main character goes on the train and makes friends with three other kids; of the group, only one is named, and even then only at a plot-crucial moment more than halfway through the movie. (It's the lonely boy, Billy.) The credits refer to the others as Hero Boy, Hero Girl and Know-It-All Kid. Meanwhile Hero Boy's little sister, Sarah, gets a name despite only appearing in two scenes at the beginning and end.
- In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Huntsman, the Queen, and the Prince do not have names. However, old press material lists the Queen's name as Queen Grimhilde and merchandise released over seventy years later finally gives the Prince's name as Florian.
- In the original story (the one Disney used to create his story), there were 100 dwarves, and none of them were given a name.
- The doll of Snow White's prince that can be bought at the Disney store is labeled "the Prince," Cinderella's is labeled "Prince Charming," and Belle's is labeled "Beast."
- In Beauty and the Beast, it's never revealed just what the Beast's name is. The fandom went and named him Adam anyway. That's because "Adam" is the name given by the creators.
- In An American Tail, Fievel's parents are only ever referred to as "Mama" and "Papa" Mousekewitz.
- In Fievel's American Tails, Papa's name is revealed to be Bernard, but Mama's is still not given. (Hopefully it's not Bianca.)
- The Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas (though some of the merch calls him Hizzonor). Most of the citizens also seem to not have names (The Clown With The-Tear-Away-Face, The Wolf Man, etc.).
- Jack Frost's sister in Rise of the Guardians is never named. This led to a lot of confusion within the fandom, because her actress also voiced another character named Pippa, who isn't named on-screen, so some viewers accidentally assigned the name to the wrong character.
- An Extremely Goofy Movie has "Beret Girl". One of the few original characters in the movie who appear at the dancing scene in the credits and the girlfriend of one of the main characters, the movie proves extremely shy about telling us what her name is. Even the credits list her as "Beret Girl".
- The BIONICLE Direct-To-DVD movies left a handful of characters unnamed, but these were revealed via credits, bonus features and the toy names. The third movie, however, decided to give an unnamed character a name: the high-ranking Keelerak spider that runs errands for Sidorak and Roodaka was suddenly called Kollorak. The name appears nowhere else in canon and probably wasn't even given a legal check, which is the standard with the official Bionicle names. But Word of God claims it's canon.
- In Mulan, Mulan's horse is never named until near the end of the movie.
- In Rio 2, the leader of the loggers razing the Amazon is only ever referred to as "Mr. Big".
- In The Book of Life, none of the Detention Kids are given names except Sasha, but in the supplementary material everyone but "Goth-kid" is given a name.
- Classified from Penguins of Madagascar. He tells Skipper that his real name is classified, but Skipper takes it literally and calls him Classified for the rest of the film.
Films — Live-Action
- In Field of Dreams we are never given the identity of the Voice - or the actor who played him. He is listed in the credits as "Himself".
- In The Big Lebowski Sam Elliot's cowboy narrator character is never given a name and is simply titled 'The Stranger' in the opening tumbleweed sequence. To be honest, nothing is revealed about him, leading fans to come up with some very interesting ideas
- In Closet Land, Alan Rickman and Madeleine Stowe are credited simply as "Interrogator" and "Victim".
- In Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger, co-star Maria Schneider is credited simply as "The Girl".
- In the indie romcom Good Dick the two main characters are never named, and are credited as "The Man" and "The Woman."
- The Spaniard in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
- In Martin Scorsese's feature debut Who's That Knocking At My Door, the love interest of Harvey Keitel is simply named "The Girl".
- In Feast, characters are given titles ("Hero", "Loser", etc) by caption, and never otherwise named.
- In John Woo's Broken Arrow, despite the trials and tribulations they faced together and the strong bond that grew between them, the two protagonists don't learn each other's names until the very last scene.
- Pinhead, the primary antagonist of the Hellraiser movies, had no real name originally. He was referred to as “Priest” in scripts and “Lead Cenobite” in the credits of the films. “Pinhead” was a Fan Nickname (and creator Clive Barker did not like it, saying that it was undignified). It wasn’t until the third film (when a backstory for the character was given) that it was revealed that the name he had when he was human was Elliott Spenser. Barker has stated that his actual name as a Cenobite will be revealed in the upcoming novel The Scarlet Gospels.
- The same came be said for the members of Pinhead's entourage that appeared in the first two films. None of them were referred to by name. (The credits billed them as “Butterball”, “Chatterer”, and “Female Cenobite”, which were more descriptions than names.)
- Daniel Craig's character in Layer Cake is never referred to by name, and he is identified only as "XXXX" in the credits. He hangs a bit of a lampshade on this at the end when, after listing the names of everyone whose death is either seen or referred to, looks at the camera and states, "My name? If you knew that you'd be as clever as me."
- The Captain in Meet Dave is only ever known by his rank and is never given any other name. However, in the track listing for the movie's soundtrack, he is referred to as "Mini Dave" due to his appearance being near-identical to his humanoid starship's.
- In That Thing You Do!, the name of the Fake Band's bassist (played by Ethan Embry) is never spoken on screen; the end credits refer to him as "T.B. Player" and "the Bass Player."
- In Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns, Clint Eastwood's character's name is never given — rather, the other characters in the films refer to him by nicknames such as Joe or Blondie. Eastwood's character may be regarded as one of the archetypical examples of unnamed heroes, to the extent that his character is widely known as "The Man With No Name." In fact, his character is so ambiguous that people continue to debate whether he was portraying the same character in all three films to this day. This is a reference to Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, which A Fistful of Dollars is a remake of. In Yojimbo, the main character is asked for his name and responds with what he sees out of the nearest window and his age: "Mulberry Field Thirtysomething"
- In another Clint Eastwood movie, High Plains Drifter, you also don't know his name. Sometimes referred to as the Stranger, you do figure out who it is at the end, though what you figure might not be the same as the person next to you figures.
- Also, in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West, Charles Bronson's character is only referred to as "The Man with the Harmonica" (or just simply "Harmonica" in the end credits).
- Speaking of Sergio Leone, Nobody in My Name Is Nobody doesn't go by any other name either.
- In Paint Your Wagon, Eastwood's character (which wasn't in the original show) is known only as "Pardner"...until the final scene, wherein he identifies himself as Sylvester Newel. ("Just one 'l'.")
- And in Pale Rider he is simply known as Preacher. Seeing a pattern yet?
- In The Matrix films, many of the programs are referred to by title rather than name. These include the Oracle, the Keymaker, the Trainman, the Merovingian, the Architect and the Twins. As they are programs rather than people, those probably are actually their names. The names that all of the human protagonists had while plugged in the Matrix aren't fully revealed. Only their hacker nickname/unplugged name (Morpheus, Trinity, etc...). Neo used to be Thomas A. Anderson, Cypher's surname is Reagan. Even the "freeborn" humans of Zion only go by their first (nick?) names (Tank, Dozer, and Zee). That's because those are their real names. The names they have in the Matrix could be considered to be no more real to them then anything else in the Matrix.
- In Withnail & I, the 'I' of the title is never named onscreen, although the screenplay refers to him as 'Marwood'. In the credits, he appears right after "Withnail...", listed as "...And I"
- The Mayor of the City of Frank in Osmosis Jones is only ever referred to as 'Mayor Phleghmming'; a first name is never given. He does have a Fan Nickname, though: Charles.
- Edward Norton's character in Fight Club is never given a name. Only his alternate personality gets one, and Narrator explicitly states at one point that it's not * his* name. The DVD chapters call him "Jack" based off a scene involving Reader's Digest, which fans sometimes use as well, and the HBO closed captions used "Rupert".
- "Rupert" being one of the unlikely names that he would give while surfing support groups.
- His name may actually be Tyler Durden after all. At the very least, he was able to book plane tickets under that name.
- Doubtful. When someone called him that, he was genuinely surprised, and it started him toward realizing that he and Tyler are the same person. He flat out asked Tyler "Why do people think I'm you?".
- In The Film of the Book Rebecca: the main character is never called anything but "Mrs. DeWinter" on screen.
- Likewise in the book it's based on: that character is the narrator, and is never named. She mentions that her name is unusual, and people rarely spell it correctly, but doesn't tell what it is.
- In the James Bond films, the name of Bond's boss M is never revealed (he has been called "Miles"). M is the character's codename. James Bond teases the audience with The Unreveal in Casino Royale, being cut off by M just as he's about to speak her name. In the novels, the first M's name is given as Admiral Sir Miles Messervy and the second M (the current one) as Barbara Mawdsley. Miss Moneypenny's first name has not been revealed.
- It's been stated (whether by Word of God is uncertain) that the reason Bond's boss is called M is in honor of the first person to have ever held the position: Mycroft Holmes.
- Also 007-related, the main Bond Girl in You Only Live Twice (if you define "Main Bond Girl" as the one he's having sex with at the end of the movie and not the one who's more significant to the plot) is not even given a name during the film's duration. It's not until the credits that's she's listed as Kissy Suzuki.
- There's also a fan theory floating around that James Bond is not an actual name, but a codename, and the Bonds played by different actors, are in fact different agents.
- Which is part of the plot of Casino Royale (1967): When Sir James Bond retired, the name was passed on to a new agent as a code name. In the course of the film, Sir James, called out of retirement, orders all active agents to be known henceforward as "James Bond 007" in order to confuse the enemy (also, the audience). In the absurdist climax to the film, we see this includes a seal (the animal), an Indian chief, etc.
- In an easily missed line of dialogue from Skyfall, Gareth Mallory addresses M by her real name: Eleanor.
- The tire is never named in Rubber but the actors call it a "him". The American trailer named him Robert.
- None of the character names in 12 Angry Men are revealed until right at the end - even then, only 2 of the 12 main characters are named (and then only surnames are given). In the play the film is based on, no names are ever revealed for any of them.
- In Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, all of the thieves are given colors as aliases: Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Brown, Mr. Blue, Mr. Blonde and Mr. Pink. We only learn the real names of Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, and Mr. Orange.
- Kill Bill - Part I included a ridiculous amount of obfuscation around the Bride's name, to the point of bleeping it when it was spoken (however, her name is still visible on her driver's license at one point on her airplane ticket). In Part II we find out that Bill calls her "Kiddo" because that actually is her surname, and that her first name is "Beatrix"...which makes the "silly rabbit" bit in Part I make slightly more sense.
- Roddy Piper's character in They Live! is never referred to by name. According to the credits, his name is "Nada", which is Spanish for "nothing".
- The viewpoint character of Hero, played by Jet Li, goes by "Nameless".
- There's an Actor Allusion of sorts in Rogue Assassin (titled War in the U.S.) where he plays a hitman known only as Rogue. It's not even his own alias, but that of the hitman that killed his family - he killed the real Rogue, faked his own death and assumed that identity to track down those responsible.
- The antagonists of The People Under the Stairs are never named. In the credits they are listed simply as "Man" and "woman".
- Lampshaded in the credits to Eraserhead.
- In Sullivan's Travels, the heroine is never given a name and appears in the credits as "the girl".
- In The Seven Year Itch, the name of Marilyn Monroe's character is never revealed. In the credits, she is called The Girl.
- The mysterious "student" in The Ninth Gate is only called The Girl in the credits. She's (probably) Satan
- Shoot 'em Up. 'Smith' is obviously not the protagonists' real name; the Big Bad even lampshades him as The Man With No Name who rides into town on a pale horse. The Dragon thinks he's worked out who Smith is, but isn't completely sure right up to the end.
- The Mysterious Woman in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). Although Since she's a robot, she may not even have a name
- In Almost Famous, the female lead goes by the name of "Penny Lane". At the end of the movie, she reveals that her name is Lady Goodman
- The two main characters of Once are never named; they are listed in the cast as "the Guy" and "the Girl."
- In the novel and film Birdy, Birdy's real name is never given.
- In the film version of Never Cry Wolf, the main character (based on Farley Mowat) is named Tyler. It is never revealed if Tyler is his first name or his last.
- Despite being one of the most popular characters and occasionally playing the Mr. Exposition role in Repo! The Genetic Opera is never actually given a name. He's called Graverobber by fans because he digs up graves to extract black-market Zydrate from corpses. Amber refers to him as "Graverobber" during "Zydrate Anatomy"
- In Space Jam the Nerdlucks/Monstars are never given names in the film, although their names are given in the closing credit; they are according to merchandise Pound (the orange one), Blanko (the purple one), Bang (the green one), Bupkis (the blue one) and Nawt (the red one).
- Bill Paxton's character in Frailty is only ever referred to as "Dad" or "Mr. Meiks", even in the credits.
- In Zombieland, the main characters insist on anonymity to avoid emotional attachment, instead referring to themselves and each other by their respective hometowns: Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock.
- Wichita's name is revealed to be Christa at the end of the movie.
- Even before they realize it's a Zombie Apocalypse, the narrator and his neighbor address each other by their apartment numbers.
- The serial killer in the first Dirty Harry movie is only ever referred to as the Scorpio Killer, with no real name. In the credits he is called "Killer". In the novelization, however, he's named Charles Davis.
- In Lars Von Trier's Antichrist, the protagonists are only known as He and She. They torture each other in their woodland cabin, "Eden".
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina Kyle's friend Jen is never referred to by first name on-screen.
- In Top Gun, Goose's actual name is never mentioned onscreen. Everyone, even his wife, just calls him Goose. His real name, which is seen on a box, was Nick Bradshaw.
- In Labyrinth, Sarah's stepmother is never given a first name. Fans eventually dubbed her Karen until the spin-off Manga series Return to Labyrinth revealed her name to be Irene. Some people still use Karen though.
- In the 1971 film Vanishing Point, the main character, played by Barry Newman, is only referred to as Kowalski.
- In Valhalla Rising, Mads Mikkelsen's mute character is dubbed "One Eye" (because he has, you guessed it, one eye) by a young boy who becomes his companion. (It is never explained whether he cannot speak or chooses not to, but at any rate, he never refutes this title.)
- For most of the three films of the Mexico Trilogy, the main character is referred to as "El Mariachi". Even in Desperado, where he faces off against his brother, we only hear him called "Manito", which more-or-less translates as "little brother".
- In Osama—the first film to come out of post-Talib Afghanistan—no character in the movie is named, except the main character's male friend, who is probably-not-coincidentally the one who gives "Osama" her famous alias.
- In the classic silent film Sunrise the archetypal characters are known only as The Man, The Wife, and The Woman from the City.
- In In the Line of Fire, the President of the United States is only referred to as "the President" or by his Secret Service-given codename "Traveler". The First Lady is also unnamed.
- In the Spaghetti Western My Name Is Nobody, the main character's name is never revealed, he is in fact referred to as "Nobody" throughout the whole film.
- Although the main character is called by dozens of nicknames throughout The Perfect Sleep, the Narrator's name is never given. At the end, Porphyria barely audibly whispers "Lyovshka", which is the diminutive for Lyov, the Russian form of Leon.
- In The Mummy Trilogy, Ardeth Bey's name isn't revealed until the sequel. (It is sort of All There in the Manual though, because various articles as well as the director's commentary use his name.)
- The father in A Christmas Story is referred to as The Old Man, even in the credits.
- In 44 Inch Chest, the kidnapped French lover is referred to only as "Loverboy" by his kidnappers. The main character tells the story of how he beat the man's name out of his cheating wife, but it's never revealed.
- In The Pillow Book, only Nagiko, Jerome and Hoki have names. All other characters have "functional" titles: The Publisher, The Father etc.
- Deadgirl: The titular zombie's name and back story remain a mystery throughout the film.
- The love interest(s?) in Cemetery Man (all three of her), only called "She" in the credits.
- Tommy Chong's character in Up In Smoke is referred to only as "Man" for most of the movie, in the credits, and in track titles from subsequent Cheech and Chong albums. (His parents do call him Anthony in the opening scene, though.)
- Three of the four major characters in Faster (Driver, Killer and Cop) are never referred to by name. Cop's real name shows up briefly on a report Cicero (the fourth major character) prints out, but no one on-screen uses it.
- The protagonist in Bunraku is simply known as "The Drifter".
- The main character in Waterworld has no name, being credited as The Mariner. This is the subject of a Badass Boast by the small girl who informs us that "He has no name so death can't find him".
- The Driver from Drive, played by Ryan Gosling. Likewise in the original, The Driver, in which no one is named, not even in the credits.
- V from V for Vendetta never reveals his name, even V he only claims as V is something one may call him.
- In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Dr. Dealgood introduces Max into The Thunderdome arena as "The Man with No Name" given that he's arrived in Bartertown out of the wasteland, and so no-one knows who he is. This is a lampshading how Max (while having a name) has a similar role as the Man With No Name (at least in the second and third movies).
- The Everlasting Secret Family doesn't name anybody in the film except for the chauffeur (Eric).
- Sleeping Dogs main character is referred to with his last name Smith, or "Smithy" for a nickname, while major characters Bullen and Jesperson are never referred to by first names either. Though in a Blink And Youll Miss It moment when Smith's police file appears, it shows that his first name is Martin.
- In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Toht is named in the ending credits, but his name is never mentioned within the actual film.
- In Forrest Gump, the first name of Forrest's mother is never mentioned. She's identified as "Mrs. Gump" in the credits. Her first name is not mentioned in the original novel either.
- In Canadian Bacon, the president of America, despite being a pretty important character, is never named. Escape from New York did this as well, with the president being simply referred to both by the characters and in the credits as "the President".
- Sucker Punch: Most of the characters only have nick names to go upon, even the doctor.
- X-Men: First Class:
- The government agent sent to liase with Xavier's team is only ever known as the Man in Black and is never given a name, not even in the credits.
- Riptide's real name and mutant name are never mentioned in the film.
- In No Country for Old Men, the man who hires Wells and who is implied to be the mastermind behind the drug deal that drives the plot is never named and is credited simply as "The Man who hires Wells."
- In the wuxia film Soul of the Sword, the protagonist refers to himself as a "Swordsman With No Name." He later abandons the plan to triumphantly reveal his name to the world after his girlfriend points out he has a very common, plebian name.
- The Tall Thug in Last Train to Freo, who is only referred to as such once. Everyone else gets a first name only.
- The President from G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Even in the credits, he's simply listed as "President".
- None of the cyborgs in the Terminator franchise have names. The Sarah Connor Chronicles subverted this by naming the lead T-888 "Cromartie" and the unknown-model female "Cameron."
- The 2007 horror film Wind Chill never reveals the two main characters' names; their actors are even credited as playing "Girl" and "Guy" at the end.
- Max's foreman at the factory in Elysium.
- The Lady in The Quick and the Dead is a gender-flipped Man With No Name. A flashback to when she was a child reveals her first name is Ellen.
- The main characters from Blonde in Black Leather.
- The Mutos from Godzilla (2014) aren't given specific names, but are just referred to as "the male" and "the female" of their species.
- To underline the fantasy object status of The Sure Thing, she's never once referred to by her real name (even in the credits her character's called "The Sure Thing").
- The last name of Lucy is never revealed - even in the scene where we see her passport (which would obviously have her surname) that information's hidden.
- In I Bought a Vampire Motorcycle, the priest who joins the main characters to destroy the titular beast is never named, despite being a major character.
- The Crow: Top Dollar (played by Michael Wincott), Myca (played by Bai Ling) and Grange (played by Tony Todd) are never named in the film. Similarly, the gang members who kill Eric and Shelly are known only by their nicknames (Tin-Tin, T-Bird, Funboy and Skank).
- Nearly everyone in Eagles Gathered, with the exception of Bob the (maybe) angel.
- Indiana Jones is an example; we find out at the end of the third film that his real name is Henry Jones, Jr., and that he got his nickname Indiana from the dog.
- Literature:/The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Charlie's parents and siblings are never named. Could also count for Charlie as well, as it's implied his name is made up with the other names as well. The Film of the Book gives his sister's name as Candace though.
- The 1995 novel Blindness, by José Saramago, does not reveal the names of any characters, main or otherwise. Instead they each receive a distinctive appellation: "The doctor's wife", "The Girl with Dark Glasses", etc.
- The protagonists of Animorphs never revealed their last names, ostensibly for security reasons; they occasionally said in narration that they might not even be using their real first names. In book 53, the Yeerks already know who they are, so Jake just reveals that his last name (and presumably Rachel's) is Berenson, that's he's 16, and that he's had his powers for three years.
- In #23, a bit of dialogue gives Tobias' name as "Tobias _____." Information about Tobias' father given later in the book leads to Fanon that his surname is Fangor, but given the involvement of both a Sufficiently Advanced Alien and a human stepfather, it's still open to question.
- In Loyal Enemies neither of Big Bad's two Co-Dragons is ever named, and so isn't the student of one of them. After killing master and apprentice, Shelena admits that she doesn't really want to find out, and the last one fails his attempted Karma Houdini before the heroes have the opportunity to ask him what he's called.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it's mentioned several times that Bartemius Crouch had a son who went to jail for supporting Voldemort; however, the son is never given a first name until the end of the story. It's also "Bartemius," and he's the one Harry saw earlier on the Marauder's Map.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: most of the villains - the bald man with the long nose, wart-faced man, the person of indeterminate gender, two white-faced women, man with a beard but no hair and the woman with hair but no beard - are consistently referred to by these descriptions. An exception is the hook-handed man, who after switching sides, gives his name as Fernald.
- Dragon Queen: the old man claims to have many names, but he's always referred to as the old man.
- In The Lord of the Rings many of the villains are nameless (or have only the names given to them by their enemies). The Nazgűl have no names in the text itselfnote , though their leader is identified as "the Witch-king of Angmar" or "Lord of the Nazgűl". The Mouth of Sauron is said to have forgotten his own name long before. Even "Sauron" is a name given to the enemy by the Elves (it means "Abhorred"); we never learn what he was called before he fell. (Iron Crown Enterprises' Middle-earth RPG gave all the Ringwraiths names.)
- In Mary, Bloody Mary, the titular princess eavesdrops on a conversation between three ladies of the court; we never learn their names and Mary refers to them by what they're wearing - Yellow Satin, Green Silk and Midnight Blue.
- Bill Pronzini has a long running series of novels about a character known only as "The Nameless Detective".
- In the Artemis Fowl series,
- Bodyguards trained under Madam Ko are taught never to tell their clients their first names because they might become friends, and a bodyguard should be more detached.
- Thus, Artemis only knew his bodyguard by his last name, Butler. When Butler was dying, he decided it didn't matter anymore if Artemis knew his name and told it to him.
- Butler's little sister Juliet is a bodyguard-in-training for the first three books; at one point when she and Butler are discussing her future, Butler says, "Of course, it's completely against protocol for you to have Artemis as your Principal. He already knows your first name, and truth be told I think he's a little fond of you."
- Telling one's principal your first name is such a big deal that Artemis' knowledge of Butler's first name is all it takes to convince him that all the LEP business really happened after their memories are wiped.
- In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the major villain is referred to only as "the gentleman with thistle-down hair". Some efforts are made to find out his name, but when speaking with the gentleman people always forget to ask.
- The author also said she wanted the Raven King to be nameless, but over the course of the book he acquired about seventeen different names and titles.
- Also, a major plot point develops around the fact that no one knows Stephen Black's true name, not even him. ("Stephen Black" is a slave name.) It's safe to say Susanna Clarke likes this trope.
- Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op goes mostly by his job description and an occasional fake name or two.
- H. G. Wells was terrible about this. Many of his characters are named after what they do, such as "the Time Traveller", or are referred to only in the first person, such as "I" or "Me".
- In an early draft the Traveller was Dr. Moses Nebogipfel. Wells made the right decision.
- In Stephen Baxter's official sequel The Time Ships, his first name is revealed to be Moses (although the name is only ever used to refer to his younger self), however the book still goes out if its way to avoid giving a surname, even covering it with dashes at one point. As a Shout-Out to the early draft, one of the main characters is a Morlock called Nebogipfel.
- Roald Dahl's The Witches is narrated in first person, and the protagonist's name is never revealed. This also occurs in many of his more adult short stories.
- Curley's wife from Of Mice and Men Curley's wife is the most obvious, but really none of the other characters apart from George & Lenny have actual names either: Boss, Slim, Curley, Crooks, etc.
- A number of Len Deighton's spy novels have a protagonist who is an English spy. His real name is never mentioned, although he is often referred to by his various cover names. He became "Harry Palmer" in the films.
- In The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth, The Jackal is never named. A name attributed to him, "Charles Henry Duggan", turns out to be false. His corpse is buried in an anonymous grave.
- None of the Pirates in Gideon Defoe's Pirates! in an Adventure with? books is ever referred by name. They're referred to as "the pirate with a red scarf" or "the pirate with a wooden leg". He's remarkably consistent with the pirate descriptions and characterization. The pirate with the scarf is the second in command, the pirate in red is grumpy and often backtalks. The albino pirate only shows up in the beginning of each book. At the end of the first book they do get one named member of their pirate crew, Jennifer.
- Late in Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora it is revealed that 'Locke Lamora' is an assumed name.
- Which is relevant, because the man trying to magically torture him attempts to use his name as a key, and is brutally surprised when it doesn't work.
- Locke does have a real name, and knows what it is. However, it has yet to be revealed, and the only other character who knows it is Jean, because he talked Locke into telling him what it was. After hearing it, Jean remarks that he would have gone with Locke instead of that, too.
- The only clue so far is that Locke's real name is five syllables.
- Shadow, the main character of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, is referred to only by his nickname throughout the book, although his wife Laura's last name is given as Moon (and Mr. Gaiman once revealed at a press conference that Shadow's real name is Balder Moon).
- Which is relevant, since he is in fact the god Baldr.
- Similarly, other characters go through the book without revealing their true name, or in the case of "The Fat Kid", any name at all.
- Another of the new gods introduces himself to several characters, but they immediately forget. His name and description are both left indeterminate to the reader, but he's later described as a god of currency and commerce.
- The Man in the Yellow Hat from the Curious George books is never mentioned by name, though he is called "Ted" in the 2006 film adaptation.
- The Callahans Cross Time Saloon stories have Mickey Finn, whose real name is unpronounceable. His self-selected nickname becomes a minor plot point, and much later, half of the basis for a pun.
- His real name is revealed to be Txffu Mpwfs, but only the Callahans can pronounce it.
- It turns out that even Mike Callahan's name isn't the one he was born with — and the one he was born with gets wrapped in what may be the most appalling pun the series has yet seen.
- There's all William Williams in the Callahan's books, he's generally called "Double Bill", but one character calls him BBill, and nobody know how she says it.
- In The Dresden Files books,
- The repository of all human knowledge is called The Archive—who, when Harry first meets her in Death Masks, is a little girl of seven. Harry, who sees her as a very smart little girl rather than as her function, nicknames her Ivy.
- Harry names the Air Spirit trapped in a skull 'Bob' and a xerox copy of a Fallen Angel inside his head 'Lash'. This habit of his is significant as names have power in the Dresdenverse.
- In Lord of the Flies Piggy's real name is never revealed.
- Rudyard Kipling seems quite fond of this one, particularly in The Jungle Books.
- Messua's husband, Mowgli's adoptive father, is never given a name, despite being the richest man in the village. (This likely reflects the fact that he and Mowgli, the point-of-view character, never really connect.) By contrast, Kipling gives names to a couple of minor characters who are never seen again.
- In "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", Teddy's father isn't named, although Teddy's mother's name is Alice, as given in dialogue.
- In the Inuit story "Quiquern", there's a girl from a tribe whose womenfolk are rescued after their men die on a hunt. Despite accompanying the hero Kotuko on a dangerous mission, and eventually marrying him, she's only ever called "the girl".
- In James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, the 'flock' is only referred to by nicknames. Even Max- the only average name- is an alias, being short for "Maximum". Nudge and Iggy both have their first names revealed, but Max, Fang, Angel and Gasman never state theirs.
- Taken to an extreme in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Only two characters are ever given a name, the rest are called by their job title.
- In Erich Maria Remarque's Arch of Triumph, the main character is only called Ravic, which is only the last of his several aliases. At the end of the novel, his real name is revealed.
- In another Remarque novel, Spark of Life, the main character is called 509, his serial number in the concentration camp, where the story sets (though he casually mentions his real name once).
- In Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, if a complex character is introduced before their personality is fully explained, they're often not given a full name until we learn their true nature. Some characters go without a name throughout, most notably the narrator, who doesn't quite understand himself; even the assumed name the Brotherhood gives him is deliberately withheld. This is also used with such characters as the Founder to show that No Celebrities Were Harmed.
- Captain Nemo of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, whose pseudonym means "nobody".
- The King, in James Clavell's King Rat. (At the end of the book, he gives "King" as his surname.)
- In Amy Hempel's story "In the Cemetary Where Al Jolson Is Buried," the main characters are referred to as "I" and "she."
- The narrator of Denis Johnson's Jesus's Son is only addressed by his nickname, "Fuckhead."
- In Franz Kafka's The Castle the protagonist is known only as 'K.' Notes indicate that the novel was originally narrated in the first-person. At some point Kafka, who died before finishing the novel, decided to change each reference to the protagonist from 'I' to 'K.'
- The same thing happens in The Trial by the same author.
- The first person narrator of Tanith Lee's Biting the Sun duology, Don't Bite the Sun and Drinking Sapphire Wine.
- The title character of Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera gives his first name as "Erik," although he later claims he got the name "by accident" so it's entirely possible that's another alias.
- The Persian is a more straightforward example of this trope. Even Erik, who knows him personally, refers to him by his title, "Daroga" (meaning chief of police).
- Very few human characters in C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters have any name given; the main one is known only as the Patient. This both shows the devils' lack of personal concern, and helps establish the Patient as a sort of Everyman.
- Paul Theroux wrote two novels starring Spencer Savage—called that on the back covers, but in the text, he is unnamed until the second-to-last page of the second book, The London Embassy. His name is revealed when he is asked, "Do you, Spencer Michael Savage, take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife?
- The protagonist of Anita Amirrezvani's novel The Blood of Flowers has no name. Word of God says that it was a tribute to the nameless artisans of Iran, where the story takes place.
- In Geoffrey Storey's The Colonial Boy, the main character is known only as "The Boy" and becomes The Youth, The Student, and finally The Commando as the story progresses.
- The narrator and protagonist of Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. series has yet to reveal his full name. We know his mother's pet name for him ("Wart") and the nickname he went by in the Marines ("Wrecker"), and it's been implied that he was named after some long-dead relative, but Cook's still being coy about his given name.
- In the same series, Garrett's Loghyr partner is known only as "the Dead Man". It's yet to be established if members of the Loghyr race have names at all, or if the Dead Man simply prefers to remain anonymous.
- None of the characters in Surfacing by Margaret Atwood have full names. The narrator is never named, and her three companions are only known by their first names. The narrator refers to people in her past only as "my father", "my mother", "my brother", etc.
- Similarly, in The Handmaid's Tale we only learn the narrator's real name by implication (the women being trained as handmaids whisper their names to each other: there are five, and by the book's end we hear later news of all but one). Similarly, we never learn the Commander's surname, and only know his first name because the narrator is called Offred.
- Major _____ de Coverly of Catch-22, along with many characters known solely by descriptions, such as Nately's Whore and Nately's Whore's Kid Sister.
- The rulers of the foremost riding in Armada, from The Scar, are known only as the Lovers.
- The main character of the Montmorency novels is known only by "Montmorency" in his upper-class persona (the brand of satchel he was carrying when arrested), or "Scarper" in his lower-class one (the last word his accomplice had yelled to him before his capture). His childhood name is eventually revealed in the fourth book, but even this is just the one he'd been assigned at the orphanage.
- Dozen Black Roses'' by Nancy A. Collins. The main character Sonja Blue is referred to as "the stranger" throughout the whole book, when asked for her name, she either refuses to give it, or is cut off. She finally reveals it at the end to one of the few surviving characters. If you read the back of the book her name is given (and there were three previous novels plus several short stories about Sonja as well).
- In The Last Black Cat by Eugene Trivizas, the name of the main character (who's narrating the story) is never revealed. The most we get is him being casually referred to as 'mate' (in the context of friend).
- One minor character in Joan Hess's Maggody mystery series, who keeps house for Mrs. Jim Bob, is known only as "Perkins' eldest". Considering the kinds of cockamamie names people in Maggody stick on their kids, it may be just as well.
- Both the main character and his son in Cormac McCarthy's The Road are referred to only as "The Man/The Father" and "The Boy/The Son"
- Played with in the story The Blacklist. The lead character's name is Ivan G. Nemone. Three guesses what that's an anagram for.
- His name is the only one that is pointed out as a fake name. It's left to the reader's interpretation whether or not the other characters' names are their own, as they are all anagrams for things like "He is the bad guy" and "She is a traitor."
- In Great Expectations, Pip's sister is always referred to as Mrs. Joe. It isn't until the penultimate chapter, long after she's died, that it's revealed she was named after their mother, Georgiana.
- In Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, the protagonist (no, it's not Rebecca) is never given a name. Interestingly, her future husband comments that she has a very beautiful and uncommon name. She is the narrator of the story, and it might be argued that the writer purposefully emphasizes this role, while Rebecca is the true protagonist after all, since she practically arranges the mood and plotline in this novel despite the fact that she's dead.
- The first name of Robert B. Parker's P.I. Spenser is never revealed. And seeing as his author is now dead, it probably never will be. Although it's doubtful Parker would ever have given him a first name anyway.
- Dracula's first name is never given in the novel Dracula, although the film Bram Stoker's Dracula makes him the vampirized corpse of the historical figure Vlad the Impaler in its Back Story prologue.
- The only name given to the main character in H. G. Wells's The Time Machine is "The Time Traveler".
- No name is given to the narrator in Andrew M. Greeley's "God Game". One third of the way into the book, Greeley interjects an author's note where he denies that the narrator is either himself or Bishop "Blackie" Ryan, the lead character in a detective series that Greeley writes.
- The Commissaris in Janwillem van de Wetering's Grijpstra and de Gier mysteries, even though he's a fairly prominent character.
- In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, the animated drawing of a nymph doesn't have a name at first; Roger dubs her Elsie after some discussion.
- In Eragon, it is stated that the names of the dragons of the Forsworn have been erased so that no one can remember them.
- The Narrator in The Gargoyle never tells us his name, not even when another character carves it into her chest with a chisel.
- There are only six or seven named characters total in ''The Tiger's Wife; characters who never get names include the title character and the narrator Natalia's grandfather, who is central to two of the three main plotlines.
- Peter David's Tigerheart, arguably the best of many published Peter Pan fan fiction novels, changes the names of everything and everyone involved — consistent with Barrie's statement that everyone experiences the Neverland differently. The one person who is never named is Peter himself. He's "The Boy".
- A minor character in To Kill a Mockingbird is Mr. X Billups. Jem explains to Dill that X really is his name, not an initial.
- Although Holly refers to the narrator as Fred for the first half of Breakfast at Tiffany's, he is never properly introduced.
- In Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World, the protagonist never receives a name, because Gonzo forgot to give him one. The whole book is in first person, so it's never really brought to your attention until the point where the protagonist is giving a rousing speech to inspire the Haulage Co. to go rescue Gonzo and he tries to introduce himself. This leads to an uncomfortable Beat while he realizes he doesn't actually have a name.
- Henry James seemed to like creating heroines without names in his short stories — such as the heroine of "In The Cage" and the governess of The Turn of the Screw — despite naming other major characters such as their co-workers and family.
- The Dresden Files: John Marcone is an alias, albeit one he's adopted so permanently he says he rarely thinks of his real name.
- In Jasper Fforde's Lost In A Good Book, Thursday's father. She Lamp Shades it after his death.
- Used twice in Hodgson's The House on the Borderland, in which neither the fisherman from the Framing Device nor the writer of the journal are named. A footnote refers to the latter only as "The Recluse".
- In The Nanny Diaries, hardly any of the main characters get a real name: the titular nanny's name is Nanny, the last name of the family for whom she works is X, and her love interest who lives in the building is merely nicknamed "Harvard Hottie" or "H.H.," even once they enter a relationship. (This changes in the sequel, Nanny Returns.)
- This is a plot point in The Book of Three, the first book of the Chronicles of Prydain. The Horned King can only be defeated by one who knows his true name. The reader never finds out what that name is; when Princess Eilonwy asks Prince Gwydion what it was, he says that it will have to remain a secret, "but I assure you it was not half as pretty as your own."
- In Dreams Of Joy, Joy's mother-in-law is referred to by her mother as "Joy's Mother-in-Law", because she had no name outside of her husband's surname. She went by Fu-shee when she got married. This was Truth in Television for poor Chinese women, who often weren't given names or given names like "hope for a son".
- Serena Mackesy's 'The Temp' has a first person narrator, and since everyone she works for is to much of a wazzock to ask for her name, you don't get it until the end of the sixty-fifth chapter.
- Gene Stratton Porter was strange about names. Her self-insert in a couple of her books is called, in both narrative and dialogue, "the Bird Woman". In Freckles the title character gives his name as only that, claiming that as an orphan and (he believes) a bastard he has no right to any other. By the last chapter he and we learn his real name, but we never do learn names for his love-interest, the Swamp Angel, or her father, the Man of Affairs.
- In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Oskar's mother and grandmother are never named, and he refers to them only in those terms.
- Barry Pain's Eliza stories are narrated by her husband, who unlike Eliza remains unnamed.
- You are never referred to by name in Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City (which, like the Choose Your Own Adventure books, is written in the second person), although in the film version you get called Jamie Conway.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Three men with gold shields who answer only to the President of the United States and Charles Martin show up in the book Payback. The names of these three men are never given, and this is commented on by a number of characters. Even their replacement, Chuck Nevins, in Sweet Revenge either doesn't know their names or is unwilling to divulge such information.
- While the calico cat in The Underneath apparently has a name, it is never revealed throughout the book.
- The Consul in Dan Simmons's Hyperion Cantos.
- F. Paul Wilson deftly avoids revealing Repairman Jack's last name, even in novels where other members of his family appear.
- The Stand has the character The Kid. We also never learn the real name or the real name of Randall Flagg, here or in The Dark Tower books. He's gone by quite a few over the years.
- Possibly applies to Moby-Dick, given the first line. "Call me Ishmael".
- The Supreme Custodian in Septimus Heap doesn't get an actual name.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss never learns the name of the female tribute she refers to as "Foxface".
- Her parents aren't given first names, either.
- Nor are any of Peeta's family members.
- In the 74th Games and the Quarter Quell, Katniss never learns all the tributes' names, so she mostly refers to the unknown ones as the girl/boy/female/male from District whatever. Or the "morphlings" from District 6.
- The exploits of one of the protagonists in the Dance of the Gods series is narrated in a first-person "noir" style instead of the regular third-person style of the other protagonists, and he is never addressed by name. At the end of the book it turns out that he's under a "spell of namelessness".
- Brown Girl in the Ring: Ti-Jeanne's child is named only 'Baby'
- Many, if not most, of the characters in Someone Else's War are known by first name or nickname. Not counting the main character and his family, a grand total of three characters ever get a full name.
- The protagonist from Countdown to Kindergarten and Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth, a worrywart little girl.
- None of the human characters in William Armstrong's young-adult novel Sounder are ever named (the eponymous "Sounder" is a dog), although the subsequent film adaptation gave them names.
- Almost no names are given in The Little Mermaid, only titles.
- One of the main characters in Neal Stephenson's book Snow Crash is known only as Y.T., which stands for Yours Truly. Her full name is never revealed.
- The old lady in Candide.
- In Darkness at Noon, No. 402 refuses to give his name when Rubashov asks. The real name of No. 406, whom No. 402 calls "Rip Van Winkle," is also never divulged.
- None of the characters in Redfern Jon Barrett's short story Transaction are ever mentioned by name, instead featuring childish descriptions such as 'the woman with the lopsided grin' and 'the girl with nine years'.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has a lot of minor characters who go exclusively by their nicknames, such as Hot Pie and Old Nan. There's also the people at the House of Black and White, as they gave up their names along with the rest of their identities when they joined; Arya calls them the kindly man and the waif. The High Septon gives up his first name (in addition to his last, which is already dropped for all septons) when taking up the position.
- The mother and Old Nick never receive names in Room. On occasion, the mother's name will simply be referred to as those two words, sometimes right in the middle of otherwise uninterrupted dialogue.
- A Goddess in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is referred to only as The Lady. It's made pretty clear that she's Lady Luck, but she disappears if you name her.
- Most of the faculty of Unseen University are only known by their academic titles. Exceptions include the Archchancellors, Ponder Stibbons (who was originally introduced as a student) and Rincewind (originally introduced as not a wizard at all). In The Truth, the Bursar identified himself as Dr A. A. Dinwiddie, and Unseen Academicals revealed the Dean's first name as Henry. According to The Discworld Companion, the Librarian was probably called Dr Horace Worblehat when he was a human, but has put a lot of effort into keeping that quiet.
- In Fred Saberhagen's Dominion there is an old man who goes by Talisman, an even older man who is a skid-row wino known variously as Feathers, Hawk ("Mr. Hawk to you"), and then Falcon, and a MacGuffin known as the Sword. The reader is never told outright who (or what) these are, but one can make a good guess. Feathers is a wino due to a curse put on him a long time ago by a certain Nimue (who is the villainess of the work), the Sword was once carried by a chieftian named Artos, and Talisman is introduced to Nimue at the end as "the Prince of Wallachia."
- Legacy of the Dragokin: 'Man in Shadow' is not his name; he is only called this because he sounds like a man and always stands in the shadows.
- Black Crown gives no name to the maid in 'Solace', nor any name to the land where the stories take place; other than referring to the 'North' and the 'Milvian Kingdom'. The Map on the series' website does little to clear this up.
- In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, the Woodsman and the Goodwife.
- The hero of Mr Blank never reveals his real name, instead going by a dizzying array of aliases.
- In The Laundry Series, every name given is a pseudonym, because Names Have Power.
- The King and Queen of The Secret of Platform 13. Their son, likewise, is only ever called "the Prince" until he is abducted and raised by someone else, and apparently keeps that name even after being returned to his birth parents.
- Decision Of Fate has both the protagonist student and his professor both unnamed.
- The FBI agents in Donald Westlake's The Spy in the Ointment were never named. The protagonist mentally referred to them as Agent A, B, C, etc.
- In The Underland Chronicles, we never learn Gregor and Boots’ father's name.
- Kindling Ashes: Giselle doesn't know the name of her dragon initially, so she calls him "Voice".
- The narrator of the Simon Ark stories never mentions what his own name is.
- In Robert Littell's The Sisters, the name of the man the assassin is supposed to target is never given, and is only referred to as "the Prince of the Realm". It becomes clear as the novel goes on, however, that the target is John F. Kennedy.
- In The Southern Reach Trilogy, expedition members are explicitly forbidden from telling each other their names. None of the characters in Annihilation are named, referring to each other only by their job titles: the biologist, the psychologist, the anthropologist, and the surveyor. Most of their names are revealed over the course of the next two novels, but the biologist refuses to ever give her real name, insisting that she be called by the nickname "Ghost Bird".
- Pinkie's third, older sister in Pinkie Pie and the Rockin' Ponypalooza Party. The series proper reveals it's Maud.
- The main character in Green Eggs and Ham.
- In Blood Promise, Rose has a dramatic fight with two Strigoi working together. None of the two are named.
- Journey To Chaos: The king of Ataidar during A Mage's Power is never named. He's only known as Kasile's father and the husband of the late queen.
Live Action TV
- On Angel, "The Host of Caritas" was not given an official name (even to the other characters) until late into the second season. His full name is "Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan." As noted before, he's not fond of it:
Host (who is a green-skinned demon): It's Lorne. I don't like to mention it because, well...
Angel: Lorne Greene!
(Cordelia and Gunn stare blankly)
Angel: Bonanza? Fourteen years on the air doesn't mean anything?
(They are still blank)
Angel: Okay, now I feel old.
- One might wonder why he didn't shorten it to Krev instead of Lorne, so that he could say it's short for Crčvecśur (heartbreaker). Okay, maybe that's too recherché.
- Darla's human name is not known - she was named Darla by the Master, and being a whore, she probably wouldn't have used it anyway. We learn this when she is revived as human; by this time she does not remember having a name before "Darla". By the time she sired Angel she had been Darla for over a century, and in over a century with him she never mentioned her original name.
- It's a while before we find out Angel's real name is "Liam".
- Faith's surname was not revealed as Lehane (probably a Shout-Out to the crime writer Dennis Lehane) until after the TV shows ended. It was first used in the support material for the official role-playing game.
- While we know that Spike's real name is "William", only after the shows ended did Joss Whedon reveal his last name is "Pratt".
- Who was he before he was Adam? Did Maggie name him that? Not a man among us can remember.
- The dancing demon in "Once More With Feeling" is never named in dialogue, though he is known to fans as "Sweet" because of a credit for "Sweet makeup". This violates the typical formula for a Buffy episode: Weird Stuff Happens/People Die/stuff gets stolen → the gang researches → they learn the threat's name and weaknesses → they vanquish said threat. But in this episode Sweet simply leaves without actually engaging in violence (aside from people bursting into flames).
- The human members of the Circle of the Black Thorn are unnamed.
- Get Smart has, er, a number of examples:
- Mr. Big on Sex and the City. His first name was revealed in the last episode of the series. He gets a full name and e-mail address in The Movie.
- Fez, That '70s Show. Fez is short for Foreign Exchange Student. At one point, someone asks his real name and he is drowned out by a school-bell while seen saying an incredibly long name. (In that scene, actor Wilmer Valderrama was actually saying the first names of all the cast members.) His friends call him Fez because his real name is too long to easily remember or pronounce.
- Number Six and many other residents of The Village in The Prisoner. (It is officially denied that Six is John Drake, a spy previously played by the same actor – because that character is owned by another company.)
- On Star Trek: Voyager, The Doctor (the Emergency Medical Hologram, not that one) went seven years without getting a name that stuck. In the last episode, he's portrayed as finally having settled on "Joe," but that was in a future that got erased. note
- On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, none of the Changelings have names, and the 'leader' only goes by 'female Changeling' or 'Founder'. Odo and Laas only have names because they have interacted with 'solids' and we like to place names on things.
- Played with in Odo's case. His name comes from what was written on his jar when he was first studied at a Bajoran science facility: the Cardassian word odo'ital ("nothing"), a mistranslation of the Bajoran "unknown sample".
- This trope turns up in mainstream shows too: British nostalgic hospital drama The Royal has a major character known only as Matron.
- Mac Taylor on CSI: NY. Mac *can* be a full name, but we've never found out for sure. Gary Sinise has said his name is McCanna (after Gary's son), but they've never said it onscreen.
- The Doctor on Doctor Who, as well as Arch-Enemy Time Lord the Master and minor Time Lord enemies the Rani, the War Chief, and the Monk. The latter four have had their names revealed in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe ( The Master - Koschei, the Rani - Ushas, the War Chief - Magnus, the Monk - Mortimus), but not the Doctor. The series initially implied that Time Lords did not have personal names, but this later got forgotten. (In any case, the Doctor's granddaughter did have a name, though, oddly, an ordinary-sounding human one.)
- Apparently the Doctor has one but never uses it. (The novels go into the reasons why.) An old schoolmate of the Doctor's in the episode "The Armageddon Factor" calls him Theta Sigma — Thete for short — but a later episode establishes that this is a nickname.
- The Ninth Doctor boasts to invading Daleks that his name translates to "Oncoming Storm" in certain languages but no one has ever called him that.
- River Song whispers his name in the Doctor's ear in Forest of the Dead. The Doctor confirms it towards the end of the episode, though naturally the audience never hears it. Other episodes have alluded to his name being hidden in some dark secret ("The Girl in the Fireplace"; "The Shakespeare Code"; "The Fires of Pompeii"). The end of series 6 reveals there is one time and place where he can be asked who he is and must answer truthfully - and that there are those willing to do anything to kill him and stop him ever answering, making the running gag below deadly serious.
- This is, in fact, where the name of the series comes from. While even in the credits the actor is often credited as playing "Doctor Who", the character's name is simply "the Doctor". The show's name comes from characters' tendency to emphatically ask "Doctor who!?" — stemming from the very first episode: "Eh? Doctor who? What's he talking about?" — when he is introduced as just "the Doctor". A running gag in the new series has been for characters to ask questions similar to "Doctor who?", but not quite, ranging from "Doctor what," to "But what's his name?". It gets played straight again in a trailer for the 2010 series.
- The Doctor does, however, seem to like making "Doctor Who" allusions: one of his pseudonyms is 'Doctor von Wer' ("wer" being German for "Who"), and he uses "WHO" on his car's registration plates.
- In fact, it seems that "The Doctor" is his real name now. When the Lord President of the Time Lords meets the Doctor and the Master, he calls them "Lord Doctor" and "Lord Master." Apparently, picking your own name is a Time Lord 'thing', and you can be a The Something or a Susan. We know that the Doctor used to be Theta Sigma, but what it was before that... actually seems less important nowadays. At least, until we learn that the universe could be destroyed when the Question "Doctor Who?" is finally answered.
- "Aliens of London/World War Three" subverts this. Here it was discovered that the alien enemies were not of a species named Slitheen; the word 'Slitheen' was in fact their crime family's surname, similar to 'The Sopranos'. Their species name later turned out to be the extremely difficult to pronounce Raxacoricofallapatorians. As such, they were primarily known as the Slitheen, ever after.
- Also used with the character of the Hostess in "Midnight", which makes it a lot sadder when she sacrifices herself to save the Doctor and the various bastard passengers on the shuttle.
- Frobisher, from the Doctor Who Magazine strip. It's made clear that he's adopted numerous aliases in the past, of which 'Frobisher' is the latest (and the one he sticks with); we never learn his original name. Another name of his is briefly glimpsed in his introductory story, but this is likely another alias.
- The third Doctor was fond of using "Doctor John Smith" as an alias while confined to Earth.
- On Dark Angel, Max's friends went mostly by nicknames — Sketchy (Calvin Simon Theodore), Herbal Thought, and Original Cindy (say it out loud) (Cynthia McEachin). Her boss was referred to as Normal for the entire series, though a couple of jokes were made about his real name, eventually revealed to be Reagan Ronald.
- On Firefly, Shepherd Book's real name was never revealed, not even in the movie or the comic-book adaptation. Derrial Book Was the name he took from a man he killed. The Operative from Serenity claims that he has no name, in the credits he is listed simply as "The Operative."
- Radar's real name (Walter) wasn't revealed until episode 81 ("Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?") in season 4, even though it appears in the very first sentence of the original novel.
- Dr. B.J. Hunnicutt insists that his name was given to him by his mother, Bea Hunnicutt, and his father, Jay Hunnicutt, and his official Army files list only his initials.
- Sparky's real name is never revealed. Not his first name, but he's Staff Sergeant Pryor (as shown in the Season 1 episode "Tuttle").
- Gilligan's Island.
- The conceptual material for the series listed Gilligan's name as "Willy Gilligan", but during the series, it was used as a first name, with the last name never revealed.
- Similarly, the Skipper (Jonas Grumby) and the Professor (Roy Hinkley) were known mainly by their titles.
- Mrs Howell was called Lovey but this was a nickname. Her real first name, Eunice, was mentioned in only one episode.
- In The X-Files, Deep Throat's real name is not given until the fourth season, despite the character's prominence in the first season. The second season premier implies that Mulder knows it, but he never speaks it onscreen. In the fourth season flashback episode, he and the Cigarette Smoking Man are the main characters, and the Cigarette Smoking Man calls him Ronald.
- The Cigarette Smoking Man is later referred to by the name C.G.B. Spender, though Scully believes it's just an alias and not his real name.
- The X-Files was full of this trope, many of the main conspirators are never named and are often known solely by the descriptive terms used in the credits. There's Mr. X, The Well-Manicured Man, The Grey-Haired Man, Second Elder, Third Elder, Toothpick Man, Quiet Willy, The Red-Haired Man, and so on and so forth.
- One of the main characters in Scrubs is simply known as 'The Janitor'. His nametag and uniform also just say 'Janitor', and he even calls himself "Dr. Jan Itor" when pretending to be a doctor. It was said (jokingly) that when the Janitor's name is revealed, the series will be over. One episode features JD discovering that the Janitor had a role in the film "The Fugitive", suggesting that the Janitor is actually supposed to be the actor portraying him (Neil Flynn), fallen on hard times.
- More janitor name silliness: in one episode he fools J.D. by signing his name as "Dr. Rotinaj," and when J.D. points out that this is "janitor" backwards, an Asian doctor walks by:
Janitor: Hello, Dr. Rotinaj.
Dr. Rotinaj: Hello, Mister Clean-Up-Man.
- In the last episode though, he reveals to JD that his name is "Glenn Matthews". He never revealed his name, because no one ever asked. It's not sure if this is his real name, as seconds later someone calls him "Tony".
- Word of God states that, yes, his name is indeed Glen Matthews.
- Much like his Disney counterpart above, Prince Charming in Once Upon a Time is tough to pin a name on. When first encountered in Storybrooke, he's suffering from amnesia and can't even remember his cursed identity, and he's only referred to in the Enchanted Forest as "Prince Charming", an originally derisive nickname bestowed upon him by his future wife upon their first meeting. Later it's discovered that his cursed identity is David Nolan, and he is known to many of those in the Enchanted Forest as "Prince James", but this is in fact the name of his twin brother whom he was forced to replace when James got himself killed. It's not until Season 2 that he reveals that his real name is David, the same as his Storybrooke name.
- Heroes has a number of examples:
- Noah Bennet is first credited as "Horn-Rimmed Glasses," referring to his eyewear. In the third episode of the series he is revealed to be Claire's father, and so became referred to by various characters as "Mr. Bennet," but his first name remains a mystery. A lampshade is hung on this in one episode, in which his wife says, "It's so strange that you all refer to him as 'Mr. Bennet'. I've always just known him as—" before she is distracted by her dog. He finally reveals his first name, Noah, in the first season finale.
- Mr. Bennet's partner, who appears fairly regularly, is never referred to as anything but "the Haitian." In season 4, his name was revealed to be René.
- It wasn't so much a reveal as a stealth Retcon. There's no explanation for how everyone learned his name, no side-arc leading up to it, and no drama about it. People just start calling him René out of the blue.
- If anything happens off screen, it doesn't necessarily means that it's a Retcon. Noah probably knew his name before the series started, but everyone in the Primatech Paper just called him by his nickname, so Noah usually would, too. As for Peter and Nathan, they start out knowing him just by his nickname, but after a while they become, if not friends, acquaintances with him... to the point that they end up helping him in his family feud. It's likely that he just, you know, took a second to tell 'em: "Btw, my real name's René". Not every single mundane aspect of life needs drama or entire story arcs about it.
- Mr. Bennet's previous partner doesn't appear to have a real name either. He's usually referred to as Claude, but that comes from a joke he made in an early appearance: "I'm Claude Rains! I'm The Invisible Man!"
- Another man named after his nationality was The German, one of the escaped level five villains, who had magnetic powers. Knox tore his heart out in his second appearance, so his real name is unknown.
- Detective Constable "Dangerous" Davies in The Last Detective does not appear to have had his real first name revealed on screen. Even his wife calls him "Dangerous".
- The fourth season of House features a legion of young doctors who are applying for a job with the title character. At the start, each one is given an identifying number. They're rarely brought up except for one woman, who only answers to "Thirteen." Even after she's hired and joins the cast as a regular, nobody says her actual name. House doesn't call anyone by their name if he can help it. The other finalists are given monikers such as Cutthroat Bitch and Bosley, and the audience doesn't learn their real names for a few more episodes.
- Thirteen's name is eventually revealed to be Dr. Remy Hadley, but everyone on the team, herself included, still calls her Thirteen.
- Man in a Suitcase featured an ex-CIA man turned Private Eye who was known only as McGill. Supposedly his first name was John, but it was never used onscreen.
- Several characters in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide are known only by nicknames. This is taken farthest with Coconut Head — his real name is obscured by tape with "COCONUT HEAD" on the wall of student pictures, he is named only as Coconut Head by teachers, and in the yearbook. In the "Guide to Nicknames" episode, Moze agreed to call him by his real name (which wasn't revealed)... but only if he got a better haircut.
- In Torchwood, the real name of Captain Jack Harkness is never revealed. A flashback to his childhood has his parents repeatedly addressing him as "son" while calling Jack's brother Gray by his real name.
- Cappie in Greek. Though it's not that all of the characters don't know his real name; in fact, one of them threatened to reveal it to everybody as blackmail. He quickly complied.
- It was revealed in the final episode that his real name is (I'm not making this up) Captain John Paul Jones. Similarly Beaver was known as that for most of the series and his name was just revealed a few episodes earlier to be Walter Boudreaux, only his girlfriend calls him by his name so when she asks for "Walter" nobody seems to know who he is.
- Elmo from Sesame Street was a minor background Muppet simply known as "Baby Monster" prior to 1985, when his current character started to take shape.
- Doc in Fraggle Rock. In the last episode his name is revealed to be Jerome Crystal (making him "Doc Crystal"; a pun on The Dark Crystal).
- Doc's multinational counterparts were mostly called Doc as well; exceptions include Norway's Oppfinneren (the Inventor) and Britain's Captain, a lighthouse keeper (the Captain was later replaced by his nephew, who was known as P.K., for "Principal Keeper").
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
- In The Middleman the titular hero is very careful about his name. As demonstrated in this exchange just after a truth gas has been released into the room:
Wendy: "So if I were to ask you anything right now, you'd have to tell the truth?"
The Middleman: "Yes, I would."
Wendy: "What's your real name?"
The Middleman: "The same as my father's."
- The unproduced 13th episode, read at Comic-Con by the cast and made into a graphic novel, reveals it. It's Clarence Coulton. Javier Grillo-Marxach, the creator, pauses the read-through for a moment, and then says to the audience, "Yes, that's his name."
- The species of the alien invaders in UFO is never mentioned. Even the members of SHADO never use a codename, but simply call them 'the aliens'.
- Well, how would anyone know what species they are? If we were sneaking around an alien planet trying to take it over, I doubt we'd be wearing a sign saying "humans" or "Earthlings".
- In any case, it is revealed that the UFO pilots themselves are not aliens, but abducted humans possessed by alien intelligences.
- LOST: Jacob's enemy seemingly has no name, just that title - or "The Man in Black" (first seen in ABC's official recap - the press release called him "Man #2" - and actually used in-show by characters). Fans use Esau, Jacob's Nemesis and Mr. X.
- Somewhat justified in "Across the Sea." His mom didn't know that she was giving birth to twins and intended to name her son Jacob. Right after the second baby was born, the mid-wife killed her and apparently never bothered to given Jacob's twin brother a name.
- The mother in "Across the Sea" also has no name but "Woman". Only two characters in the episode, Jacob and Claudia, have names in fact...which makes discussing it rather difficult.
- According to Entertainment Weekly, the scripts called MIB "Samuel", the same name used in the (intentionally misleading) casting call. However, it's not known if this is actually his name or not (given that they also kept calling Terry O'Quinn's character "Locke" after he wasn't regularly playing Locke anymore, it could easily just be out of convenience instead of something canon).
- In the black-and-white era series Have Gun — Will Travel, the main character is only ever known as Paladin.
- Supposedly, some audience members thought his name was Will. Will Travel. Because that's what it said on his business cards. Have Gun - Will Travel.
- His business card also inspired the joke that his first name was "Wire," since it read "Wire Paladin/San Francisco."
- On Chuck, Sarah's real full name is unknown as of yet. Her other known childhood aliases are Jenny Burton, Rebecca Franco, and Katie O'Connell. As Bryce Larkin's partner, she was known as Mrs. Anderson on some missions. She introduces her father as Jack Burton; it's likely that was just the first name she thought of, since Chuck knew the Burton alias but not that it was an alias, and Jack was willing to play along. She does tell Chuck her middle name is Lisa, and from context it's likely that much is true.
- In "Chuck Versus the Fake Name", Sarah's real name is found out: Sam.
- Wasen't Colonel Casey's real name not given till like season 3?
- Nobody knows C.C. Babcock's full name in The Nanny until it's revealed in the final episode: Chastity Claire Babcock.
- In Leverage, the characters of Parker and Sophie Devereaux are both within this trope. Parker is Only One Name and as a foster child may have no other name, nor a need for one as she has no life outside being a thief. "Sophie Devereaux" is just Sophie's favorite of many aliases, and her real is yet to be revealed.
- GOB's wife on Arrested Development is never given a name, to reflect the fact that GOB doesn't know it. She's listed as "Bride of GOB" in the credits and "Wife of GOB" in other material. GOB makes several guesses to it, including "Krindy", "Amy" (Amy Poehler, Will Arnett's wife, plays the role), and "Saul" (actually her divorce lawyer). Michael knows what it is, but the opportunity never arises for him to use it.
- Top Gear: "Some say that he was born of a planet that has no concept of 'naming'..."
- Not revealing Mrs. Doyle's first name became a Running Gag in Father Ted. At one point, she said it three times, but was drowned out by a convenient noise each time.
- The title character in Spartacus: Blood and Sand, believe it or not. Batiatus remarks that he fights like Spartacus, the legendary Thracian king of old, after Legatus Glaber explains the he had never bothered to learn his name. Every time Spartacus attempts to mention his real name he is cut off by other characters, oftentimes on purpose, to make clear that his old life is over.
- There are several in the UK sitcom Time Gentlemen Please. The landlord is usually referred to as 'Guv' (and other less pleasant nicknames), the old man never tells anyone his name ("I'd rather not say, sometimes you just want to go where no-one knows your name"), and of all the regulars in the pub we only ever hear Terry's full name. Even the pub itself isn't named until the second series when the brewery needs to know the name and nobody, not even the landlord, has any idea what it is, having always simply referred to it as 'the pub by the chemical works'. All this is lampshaded in one episode when the old man is using the telephone: "Hello, it's the old man with no name in the pub with no name."
- Almost none of the characters in Trailer Park Boys have any last names given. Given that they're often in court for their various crimes, this becomes comical as the judge always just refers to them as Ricky, Jules, Bubbles, etc. (especially Bubbles, as this is explicitly said to be a nickname. We never find out his real first or last name). Jim Lahey and his related family (and Sam Lasco) are the only recurring characters who get both first and last names.
- In Burn Notice, most major characters are introduced with snarky subtitles. The mysterious employer of Carla, apparently the man who burned Michael for some nefarious purpose, is only introduced as "Management".
- On the short-lived series Kidnapped, the Professional Killer employed by the Nebulous Evil Organization behind the kidnapping is referred to only as "The Accountant." He explains to one of his victims that this is because, "I balance the books."
- The main character in the one season series John Doe does not know his name - nor his history. All through the series, he tries to find out who he is. His name remains unknown (up to the point that the producers of the show never made one). John Doe is a name used by law enforcement agencies to refer to unknown male people (dead or alive).
- Jeeves, from Jeeves and Wooster, is universally known simply by his last name. It isn't until the final episode that we hear someone address him as "Reggie", presumably for Reginald. Unfortunately, many descriptions of the character freely use his full name, which rather spoils the surprise.
- From Becker, Linda and Bob's last names were never revealed.
- All but one of the cast members in According to Jim are only referred to by their first names. The one exception takes place in Dana after she gets married and adopts her husband's surname.
- On many reality shows (one example being Billy the Exterminator), last names aren't given, even the ones of the people the show is about.
- In The Pretender, virtually no one has a full name:
- Jarod, Sydney, Jacob, Brigitte, Sam the Cleaner, Willie the Cleaner, Angelo, Major Charles, Margaret, Emily, and Kyle are only known by their first names, and no last names are ever given.
- Miss Parker, Mr. Parker, Broots, and Mr. Fenigor are only known by their last names, and no first names are ever given.
- Fanon claims Miss Parker's first name is Angel, her father's nickname for her, but that's never been confirmed. It's also kind of silly.
- Only William Raines, Debbie Broots, and Catherine Parker (née Jamieson) get full names.
- Mr. Lyle is an interesting case, as that's an alias he adopted, and he may not even have a first name. One episode does reveal his full childhood name — Bobby Bowman — but he would probably argue that that's not his name any more, if it ever really was.
- Star Trek has a few prominent examples:
- The character played by Majel Barrett in the first series pilot, "The Cage," is referred to only as "Number One," the unofficial nickname attached to her position as Captain Pike's first officer.
- Neither of the two main Romulan adversaries in the series were ever referred to by name, but simply as "the Romulan Commander."
- The BBC show Bugs manages this with the three stars, Nick Beckett, Ros Henderson and 'Ed', who has no specified surname.
- In NCIS: Los Angeles, the leading agent of the team, Callen, has no first name. Not even he knows his first name. All we know is that it starts with "G". The others refer to him as "Callen", "Agent Callen", "G. Callen", "G", or "Mr. Callen". Even during the most recent season finale where Hetty leaves her position at NCIS to get a Romanian crime family off Callen's back by faking G's death certificate (complete with video evidence of G's death), we never know his first name. To maintain the mystique surrounding G's name they probably had the first name on the form illegible except for the G, knowing that someone with a DVR could just pause at that exact moment to see it.
- G is his first name/initial. That was all he was left with when put in foster care. One of the episodes shows that when his foster sister was killed, she still had a bat he used to own. G. CALLAN is carved into the wood.
- Glee: Puck's little sister. Granted, she's only shown up once so far, and that was in a flashback, but it still poses a problem for fanfic writers who want to include her. Surprisingly many of them call her Sarah.
- Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible parodied this with a voodoo man who said "My name is...unimportant." Later, we see on his passport that his name is actually "Unim Portant".
- Maw Broon, Paw Broon, Grandpaw Broon, the Twins and the Bairn in The Broons.
- Parodied in a Naked Video sketch, where the Twins and the Bairn were taken into care, to be looked after by someone who'd give them care and attention...and names.
- The titular mother in How I Met Your Mother. Mostly justified in that none of the characters have met her yet, but great pains have been taken to conceal her name anyway. In "Girls vs. Suits", when Ted goes out with a PhD student who was the mother's roommate, she refers to the mother as "my roommate", even when she talks about her in some detail.
- Ted's children, referred to in the credits as "Son" and "Daughter", but fandom often refers to them as "Luke" and "Leia" due to a throwaway gag. As of the episode "Unpause" the children's names are revealed to be Penny and Luke.
- Wendy the Waitress's last name is never given. Made even funnier when it's revealed she married one of Marshall's coworkers, who is only known by his last name "Meeker".
- Wendy's last name may be an enforced Riddle for the Ages, because the Ted of the year 2021 couldn't remember her name until she prompted him ("Hey! It's...uh...you...""Wendy the Waitress?""RIGHT! Wendy the Waitress!"), so one might assume the Ted of 2030, and everyone in the stories he tells, refers to her as Wendy the Waitress simply because the Ted of 2030 can't remember her last name. Like the girl whose name Future Ted couldn't remember and referred to as "Blah Blah", and so everyone in the past was depicted as calling her "Blah Blah" as well.
- The Virginian was this trope.
- MacGyver's first name was only revealed in the series finale.note
- Bones has never revealed the name of Angela's father. Or her real name for that matter. We know her dad is Billy Gibbons in real life, but he never is given an onscreen name. And Angela named herself when she became an adult, due to her dad giving her an Embarrassing First Name.
- On TV and in the radio, The Lone Ranger was this trope. We know his last name was Reed, like his brother and great grand-nephew The Green Hornet, but we never learn his first name.
- Two Sixth Ranger types in Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy never have their true identities revealed: The Phantom Ranger, and the original Magna Defender.
- In Malcolm in the Middle, the family's last name is never spoken, but during the pilot, Francis wears a nametag that reads "Wilkerson", and during a deleted scene shown on the first season DVD, the name Wilkerson is also said. The pilot's script also refers to the family with the name Wilkerson.
- Sherlock: Mycroft's Girl Friday introduces herself to John as "Anthea." She cheerfully admits it's not her real name about ten seconds later.
- Many if not most series regulars on Nikita start out this way. The title character stays with no last name until roughly the middle of season 2, when a TV reporter reveals it as Meers. Michael, Amanda, and Percy have no last name through the season 2 finale.
- If you're trying to remember the full names of all the characters on The Big Bang Theory, you might find yourself stuck when you get to Penny. Well, that's because she has no last name. She's just...Penny.
- Person of Interest: One character's name has never (so far) been spoken on screen. The name "Pennsylvania Two" was used for the character in the press release for "No Good Deed;" in the press releases for "The Contingency" and "Bad Code," he's referred to as "Special Counsel".
- There's also the fact that the names of the two main characters are aliases. While Reese's first name actually is 'John', his real surname is never revealed. Midway through the third season, flashbacks confirmed that 'Harold' really is Finch's first name, but his last name remains unknown.
- The real name of Elias' second-in-command is never spoken by any character, and only seen on-screen when the Machine is assessing him; he's also only credited by his nickname. This changes in "The Devil You Know", where it turns out that Elias is very much on a first-name basis with him.
Reese: Anthony, huh? Guess I just always thought of him as Scarface.
- Not only is Mr. Lucky's first name never revealed, it's not even specified whether "Andamo" is his sidekick's first or last name.
- Quincy is called one of four things: "Quincy," "Dr. Quincy," "Doctor" or "Quince" - while one episode has a shot of his business card showing his first name begins with the letter R, said name is never used. Not even by his girlfriends. Not even by the officiating pastor in "Quincy's Wedding, Part 2" when the main man takes a new bride!
- Columbo's first name or his wife's is never given. He is only known by his rank. Being that his wife is never seen. Still there is some wild speculation over his name as his badge does appear in several episodes showing his full signature but unfortunately never quite clearly enough to be read. Also in Trivial Pursuit his name is a question and the answer is Philip, thou this is not cannon and is often disproved. There was also a show called (among other things) Mrs. Columbo in which her name is revealed to be Kate, but again it is not considered cannon.
- Teen Wolf: Stiles' first name is unknown, and is supposedly embarrassing and very hard to pronounce. According to his dad, Stiles himself was the one who decided that he wanted to be called Stiles, which is derived from their last name, Stilinski.
- All Wraith on Stargate Atlantis with the implication that they have names, but they just don't give them out to other species. To compensate, Sheppard gives them common names like Todd and Michael.
- Farscape has the Ancient Crichton meets in "Unrealized Reality". When John asks his name, the being simply states "Unimportant to our encounter." John then refers to him as "Einstein" in reference to their conversation about relativity.
- This was the case for some time in True Blood with Andy's daughters who rapidly aged until they hit 18, if you don't count numbers as names. It was only after three of them were killed that he gave them actual names.
- In Mr. Bean, the title character's first name was never revealed. The book Mr. Bean's Diary included an old report card on which his first name was covered by an ink stain.
- Grandad's first name "Ted" was only revealed in the Only Fools and Horses book series The Bible of Peckham and the pilot episode of Rock And Chips.
- The Broons. Only the older kids have names. Their parents are Maw and Paw Broon (and Paw's father is Grandpaw Broon), and their younger siblings are The Twins and The Bairn.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, the parents names are never revealed nor is the family last name. The full names of Rosalyn, Moe and Miss Wormwood are never told either. Susie Derkins is the only character whose full name is revealed. Word of God says that this was intentional on Watterson's part, because, as far as the strip was concerned, Calvin's parents were only important because they were Calvin's Parents.
- This is part of the reason why Watterson scrapped the Uncle Max character after his first appearance—it was altogether too awkward that Max couldn't refer to his brother by name.
- Dilbert examples:
- The Pointy-Haired Boss does not have a name. Since most of the characters in the strip are his employees, Scott Adams gets around by having them refer to the character as "the Boss" and address him as "sir". In one episode of the animated show, the Boss signs a delivery form. The delivery man looks at the clipboard incredulously, and says "that's your name?" We never see what it is, however we later hear he signed as "Eunice". The same episode established that his name is NOT "Eunice" (it's his alias for line-dancing) or "Bob Johnson" (which he uses for mail fraud).
- Dilbert, Wally, Alice and all the other major human characters seem to simply have no last names. In this strip, two characters introduce themselves with their full names and then Alice introduces herself as... just Alice, as though that were the only name she had.
- The hyper-intelligent Garbage-Man: In an early strip, Dilbert tells another character his Garbage-Man's name is "Gus Simpson", but this may have been before the character of the Garbage-Man was fully developed, and could refer to someone else.
- 'The Dog' in Footrot Flats has such an Embarrassing First Name that he never allows it to be said or revealed in any way in the comic, and holds a grudge against Aunt Dolly for giving him the name.
- Peanuts examples:
- The full names of Marcie and Schroeder, and Pig-Pen's real name, are never revealed.
- The Little Red-Haired Girl's name is never revealed in the comic strip, though at least two of the animated specials ("It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown" and "Happy New Year Charlie Brown") called her "Heather". However, despite writing the specials himself, Schulz considered both the name and her appearance (in the strip she was The Ghost) non-canonical.
- Almost no adults in the strip are given names, and in the animated specials, they don't even have intelligible voices. One minor exception in the strip is Linus' teacher, who we know as "Miss Othmar".
- The girl who sits next to Rerun in school is never referred to by name, despite being a fairly major character for the last few years of the strip.
- The Scamp newspaper comic makes the odd decision to state the fact that Lady and Tramp never got around to giving Scamp's siblings names. The comic runs for two months before they decide to address this fact and actually decide to start giving them one.
- The Argentinian Mafalda has the titular character's parents remain nameless (except for a single strip in which her mother's name, Raquel, was mentioned). Another notorious point is her surname, which no one really cared much for- until a strip where a school test of hers was shown, including what appeared to be an M after her name. Or half of it anyway, the rest was cut off by the panel's boundaries.
- Done in Bally's Playboy pinball, which identified its Playmates simply as "Miss ________" ("Miss January", "Miss September", etc.). Also done in Stern Pinball's Playboy, which shows photos of Real Life Playmates, but only identifies them as "Miss January," etc.note
- In America's Most Haunted, none of the ghost hunters are given any names in-game.
- Ultimately subverted in Strange Science; the Mad Scientst antagonist is never named directly, but a small nametag on his lab coat identifies him as "Dr. E. Shock".
- Lights... Camera... Action!, a Pinball game themed around filming an action movie, the name of the film and the names of the stars are never given. The film's main characters are also never properly named, and are only identified by their playing card-based nicknames.
- Ford Prefect is a name picked by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy researcher due to a misunderstanding about Earth. In the books it's revealed he never learnt to pronounce his own name (his father was the Last of His Kind following the Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Betelgeuse VII and named his son in the now extinct Praxibetel dialect), and the kids at school called him Ix (meaning "Boy who is unable to explain what a Hrung is, or why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse VII").
- Many characters in Plautus's work, including the protagonist of Casina, whose name is only found in other documents, not in the script.
- Most of the characters in Into the Woods. With the exception of Cinderella's stepsisters, the only characters who have proper names are the ones who get them in their original fairy tales.
- The protagonist of Kismet is identified in the Dramatis Personae only as "a public poet, later called Hajj." (The poet is identified as "Hajj" once in a case of Thoroughly Mistaken Identity.) In the Ronald Colman film version, he's Hafiz, but again this name is spoken only once, in a moderately loud scene with many people talking at once, and it easily slips past your conscious perception.
- None of the characters in the play 12 Angry Men have names. In the script, they are referred to only as "Juror #1", "Juror #2", etc.
- In Agnes de Mille's Ballet Fall River Legend, Lizzie Borden is known only as "the Accused."
- In Jonathan Rand's Check Please short plays, the two leads are only given the names of Guy and Girl in the script and are never called by any name on stage.
- In the Reefer Madness musical, the man who provides the Framing Device for the story is never reffered to by name; most just call him "The Lecturer".
- Generally if there's a Narrator in a stage show they won't be given a name beyond their function, although they can have other names besides 'Narrator', such as the Stage Manager in Our Town or the Leading Player in Pippin.
- The Time Of Your Life has a character identified as "Kit Carson" in the Dramatis Personae and who introduces himself as Murphy. Given the wild stories he tells, even he might not even remember his real name.
- Occurs at least three times in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. There's the title character of The Mikado and both the Pirate King and Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance.
- The authority figures in Büchner's Woyzeck are only referred to by their position (Captain, Doctor, Drum Major).
- In 1776, only two characters—the Courier and McNair's assistant Leather Apron—are unnamed because they're the only characters invented completely for the play. (Even the background members of Congress have names, though they're only in full detail in a souvenir playbill.)
- In King Island Christmas, with the exception of Oolorano, Little Eir, and Father Carroll, the characters are identified only with their role in the community (Schoolteacher, Newlywed Husband, Bachelor Man, Diet Woman, etc.). The character "Little Eir's Mother" is handled both ways; she is usually notated in the score as such, but is called Mary in dialogue twice (once each by Oolorana and Newlywed Wife).
- In Company, no one is given a surname.
- Ballets, having no dialogue, often lack names for characters even on the cast list:
- In Agnes de Mille's ballet Rodeo, all of the named characters share this trait: the Cowgirl, the Rancher's Daughter, the Head Wrangler, and the Champion Roper.
- De Mille did the same thing in Fall River Legend (the Accused, the Pastor, the Speaker for the Jury, etc.).
- BIONICLE's Big Bad was known as "the Makuta" for most of the line's run, which the fans originally thought was his actual name, until it was revealed to be the name of his species. Eight years into the story, the writer named him Teridax, which caused such a massive uproar from the fans that he has since refused to give out the name of the other big villain, the Shadowed One. The members of the latter's organization, the Dark Hunters are also mostly known by code names, since LEGO couldn't afford to clear the rights for so many unique names. In fact, there are many toyless characters who have no name for the same reason. One of the few nameless toys is the Rahkshi of heat vision from the brand's last setline.
- Mass Effect managed to avert this with Commander Shepard. By giving the player a fixed last name and having everyone else refer to them only by their last name or rank, they can have NPCs refer to the player by name in dialogue.
- If you share a drink with Dr. Chakwas in the third game, you get treated to this conversation:
Chakwas: "Ah, Shepard.. you know I just realized; you've never called me by my first name."
Shepard: "Well, neither have you.."
Chakwas: "And I never will. You are Commander Shepard; Hero of the Citadel, Conquerer of the Collectors, Savior of the Galaxy. Using your first name just disrespects everyone you're fighting for, alive or gone."
Shepard: *chuckling* "That makes no sense."
Chakwas: "Consider it a lady's prerogative, then."
- The true names of individual Reapers are unknown. "Sovereign" and "Harbinger" are just self-congratulatory and/or symbolic titles those two Reapers chose to use when speaking with organics. However, Sovereign did reveal its true name to the geth: Nazara.
- The Reapers as a whole have no true name. "Reaper" was a name that was a given by the Protheans and passed down to the current cycle through the beacons.
Sovereign: Reaper? A label created by the Protheans to give voice to their destruction. In the end, what they chose to call us is irrelevant. We simply...ARE!
- In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening and Dragon Age II, Anders is only known by his nickname, referring to the place in which he was born.
- Dragon Age II's Hawke gets the same treatment. Even Hawke's brother/sister doesn't use Hawke's first name!
- The amnesiac protagonist of Planescape: Torment is known only as "The Nameless One". In one optional sub-plot he does learn his real name, but this is not revealed to the player.
- Chell, Wheatley, and GLaDOS from Portal are never referred to by name outside of subtitles. In fact, it wasn't until the second game in the series that we heard any names uttered at all, namely Cave Johnson and Caroline.
- Wheatley does mention his own name at one point, but this is one instance and easy to forget.
- In Ghost Trick all minor characters are just given descriptive nicknames. These include Guardian of the park, Feverish Firecracker, even the villain is only known as Eyebrowed Villain. The only exception to the rule is Near Sighted Jeego and One Step Ahead Tengo, minor hitmen who try to kill one of the main characters.
- Thief: Though he's one of only two characters to appear in all three games, we don't learn Artemus's name until Deadly Shadows.
- The Heroic Mime protagonist of Marathon has no name given. He is only directly referred to as "You," "Rogue Conditioned Slave Unit," and "Our friend here," which makes it seem like Bungie had just went on the same road as DOOM and other games of the era and decided not to develop their main character. However, the first game has a few references to who he is, and the third game is all about him going insane trying to find out who he is and why he can't choose his own destiny.
- "The Space Marine" is the only name given the hero of the Doom series. Among fans, he's acquired the affectionate nickname of "Doomguy". On his guest appearance in Quake III: Arena, he's known simply as "Doom".
- Word of God claims that the original reason for him not having a name is because the player is supposed to identify him as himself. Seeing as Doom is a first-person shooter where the action is seen through the eyes of the hero, it makes sense.
- In the books, his name is Flynn Taggart. A more generic army name there ain't.
- In the Doom movie, he was named John Grimm. Apparently id Software's sole insistence for the film was that his first name be 'John'.
- In the recent Doom 3 novels by Matthew Costello, he was named John Kane. Curiously, this is the same surname as the protagonist of Quake IV.
- The protagonist of the first Quake, sometimes called "Quakeguy", later called "Ranger" in Q3A. In contrast, there's Bitterman of Quake II, and Matthew Kane of Quake IV.
- The SPARTAN-IIs and IIIs of Halo all had their surnames replaced with designation numbers after being conscripted as children. The Master Chief is known simply as John-117, while Noble Six is SPARTAN-B312.
- The Spartan-IIs were kidnapped at such a young age that none of them seem to even remember their last names.
- The protagonist of Halo 3: ODST is referred to solely as "The Rookie", with the initials "J.D." being the only hint to his real name. And even that seems to be more of a reference to the generic placeholder name "John Doe".
- The Arbiter in Halo 2 and 3 is only referred to by his title. However, the books reveal that his name is Thel 'Vadam(ee).
- This applies to most of the pre-4 Covenant characters; the names of the three High Prophets, the half-jawed Shipmaster, and the Halo Wars Arbiter have only been revealed in non-game materials.
- Many high-ranking Forerunners are known only by their titles; the Librarian and the Didact didn't have their original names revealed until six years after their introduction, and even then only in a guidebook.
- Every illegal street racing game has a player character with no name, no face and no voice.
- There are at least two known exceptions to this rule, though. Midnight Club: Los Angeles has a player character with no name, but with a face, and he never shuts up. Need for Speed: Pro Street has a player character with no voice and no face (he always wears a full-face helmet), but he has a name: Ryan Cooper. And the announcer will make sure that you never forget that.
- Your guy in Forza Horizon. He has a face, and somewhat of a personality (fleeting smiles and shaking his head at the shallow superstar competitors), yet he never speaks and his name is never brought up. Lampshaded by the other racers and radio DJs; they mention he doesn't even register his name into the events he's entering.
- Many video game RPGs have characters who are never given full names in the game itself (since the player can typically rename those characters anyways), but may be revealed in the instruction manual (or, in the case of Final Fantasy VI, the game's closing credits).
- Speaking of FFVI, the temporary recruitable ghosts on the Phantom Train all have "?????" as their names. Terra also uses this as a moniker while she is afflicted with amnesia in the prologue.
- Cloud is known simply as Ex-SOLDIER for a little while and NOBODY apart from the playable characters from the original, Reeve, Rufus or Zack have canonical full names. Zack didn't even get that much until Crisis Core.
- Final Fantasy X-2 has an interesting time with this. Although most people would know that the default name of the main character from the first game was "Tidus", since it could be changed, characters avoid saying his name, only referring to him as "him".
- In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, there's Warrior of Light, who cannot even remember his own name (although he was given one by Prishe but the player never finds out what it is, and despite losing his memory again, refuses to be renamed since he doesn't like the idea of his old name to being forgotten completely, whatever it might've been), and the Emperor who is always referred to by his title, but does have a first name - Mateus.
- The player character in Dark Scavenger is always called "Dark Scavenger".
- In Guilty Gear, a non-playable character is referred to only as That Man, on top of which his face is constantly in shadows.
- The player character in the first-person Myst games is never seen, even to the point of having no reflection in glass surfaces; the other primary character addresses him/her/it only as "My friend".
- Furthermore, his/her/its label has been accepted into canon as simply "The Stranger".
- The 'Point Man', the Player Character of FEAR, is never given a name and is referred to only by his rank-or, alternatively, 'The New Guy'. As is revealed later, his lack of personal identity is central to the plot.
- Supplemental material included as a pre-order bonus with F.E.A.R. 2 outright states that he doesn't have a name — at least, not outside a secret name known only by a select few. It was part of the attempt to mold him as the first psychic commander. The other members of F.E.A.R. weren't provided any more name for him than "Point Man" and were informed not to even bother asking what his real name is.
- In the Star Wars computer game Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords, two party members - The Handmaiden and The Disciple - have names which are only revealed close to the end of the game. The protagonist him/herself is only referred to as "The Exile" by everyone. Canonically, the Exile was later revealed to be a woman named Meetra Surik.
- The main character in the video game Grand Theft Auto III has no name and never speaks. Fans referred to him as "The Guy". Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas reveals his name, Claude. On the other hand, he's supposed to be the same character from Grand Theft Auto II, and in one of those his full name, Claude Speed, is given.
- The main character in the game Soulbringer is never referred to by his real name. The one time he almost said his name, he was interrupted, so everyone calls him "lad," "Blood of Andrus," "vagrant," "Young Moon," and (eventually) "Soulbringer."
- The first line Trilby (the protagonist and Player Character of half the of the Chzo Mythos series of games) utters is "I don't have a name". He is called Trilby for the type of the hat that he wears.
- There is also AJ, whose real name is never disclosed in the game. It's Andrew Jarvis, as those who have read the tie-in fiction will know.
- In the commentary for the first sequel, 7 Days a Skeptic, the creator casually mentioned that Trilby's real name is Malcolm, the same name as the "protagonist" of the game. Whether he was joking or not is up for interpretation.
- John DeFoe is not the actual name of the second son - he was never given a name except by Trilby.
- Rival Schools has Chairperson, who refuses to reveal her real name and would rather prefer other characters refer to her by her title.
- In The World Ends with You there are two types of support Reapers and dozens of those two types, but only one of each was named. This is lampshaded in "Another Day" where one actually calls himself "Tutorial Guy" and Joshua is disappointed that he's playing against an unnamed character. He turns out to be "the producer" of Tin Pin Slammer, as well as a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Shinji Hashimoto, the game's real producer.
- Cave Story: The Doctor. (His name is actually revealed late in the game, in a rather subtle way.)
- The main character appears to be nameless at first. Through a sidequest necessary to unlock the Bonus Level Of Hell and 100% Completion, we learn his name from a fully-memory-restored Curly. It's Quote.
- The Prince in the Prince of Persia games is never named. Averted in the movie, for obvious reasons; it's Dastan.
- The Ageless, Faceless, Gender-Neutral, Culturally Ambiguous Adventure Person from Zork: Grand Inquisitor.
- The real name of the Red Woman AKA The Founder is never revealed in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Though since Arraman uses his real name, she may well have been originally named Nefris.
- Gothic takes place in a prison colony, where most people go by what are presumably nicknames ('Fingers' is a master thief, 'Bullit' a vicious thug). The first NPC you meet tells you he doesn't care what your name is; you're just the new guy. The game manuals refer to the player character as 'the Nameless Hero', and it is never revealed what his original identity is or why he was thrown into the prison colony in the first place.
- The King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match has K9999's replacement, who is called "Nameless" in-game. Some supplemental materials reveal his code name as represented by the characters Ж′ or if you will, Zhe Prime.
- Lampshaded in Mitadake High, where each player is assigned a random name, but no other student knows what it is. Each character is given a title based on their appearance (E.g. The Creepy Red Haired Boy, The boy with Goggles etc.). This is crucial in the Death Note mode and forces the player playing as Kira to think creatively in order to get other players names. Often they'll check the school computer and compare appearances to find potential victims, or hunt out the Shinigami eyes player, who can see the names floating above players heads.
- The nameless suit wearing supernatural entity in the Half-Life series (dubbed the "G-Man").
- In addition to the player characters, a few Ace Combat characters like Yellow 13 are known only by callsign.
- The Voodoo Lady who helps Guybrush in all the Monkey Island games never really tells him her name, even when he asks for it, she says that names have power and only fools would willingly give them away.
- Which is made extra ironic by the fact that Guybrush introduces himself (first name, last name, and alleged occupation) at every possible opportunity.
- The final boss in the NES version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge is never given a proper name. The ending text simply refers to him as the "Mysterious Warrior". His expy in Double Dragon Advance is named "Raymond" though.
- Solid Snake in Metal Gear, for the first two games - obviously not his real name. We find out his real name (David) at the end of Metal Gear Solid, but he continues using the name Snake. (The original game plan of Sons of Liberty suggests that Snake and Otacon would have called each other by their real names when they were on missions together, but this idea was scrapped very early on.) His real name is mentioned one more time, by a character in Guns of the Patriots as proof that she knew him from before he became Snake. Word of God says Snake finally abandoned his codename and started using his real name after 4. (Interestingly, the non-canon games act as if he has no name at all - Metal Gear Ac!d makes it a major plot point that Snake doesn't have a real name, then again at least in the second one it's not the same Snake as in the main games.)
- An even stronger example is his Evil Twin, Liquid Snake. While the youngest "brother" Solidus has a real name (George Sears) and their "father" admits his real name is John, Liquid's name is never given in any game or related media- it's even said by Colonel Campbell that is name is highly classified, so no one has any clue what his real name is.
- In The Godfather: The Game, one of the original characters is known only as The Trojan.
- Everyone in Team Fortress 2 besides Saxton Hale (from the supplemental material), until the comic introducing the WAR! Update named the Announcer Helen, the Demoman Tavish Degroot and the Soldier Mr. Jane Doe.
- The comic introducing the Engineer Update gave him the name Dell Conagher and his grandfather Radigan Conagher.
- The Sniper has been addressed as "Mr. Mundy", though we still don't know his first name.
- The comic 'A Cold Day in Hell' has the Heavy's sister call him 'Misha' so we know his first name is Mikhail, but we don't know his other names.
- The Two Cities update implies that the Medic's surname is Humboldt, but we don't know for sure.
- In all of the Saints Row games the main player character is never given a name. In the first game he's called "dawg' or "playa". In the second game this is held up (partially since you can make the main character a woman, and the character isn't even referred to with a pronoun), and the character is mainly referred to simply as "Boss" by the other Saints, and "you" by most of the other characters. In Saints Row: The Third, during one of the Heli Assault activities Kinzie states that she found their real name while hacking the Deckers' database and when she offers to tell you, the player will remind her who's piloting the attack copter.
- BioShock 2 has a protagonist known only as "Subject Delta", with his identity prior to becoming a Big Daddy unknown. Eventually it's revealed by a less than trustworthy source that he's an undersea explorer from the surface that stumbled across Rapture nicknamed "Johnny Topside", his real name never given.
- In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the main character is referred to primarily as Rookie besides a few other nicknames. According to Venkman, the history of your predecessors have not been good (not helped by the fact that your job is to test experimental equipment so that it doesn't blow up on the other guys) so it's best not to form any particular attachments.
- The protagonist of Darkfall: Lost Souls is known only as "Inspector", and his voiceover actor is listed in the credits as "The Inspector - ?".
- The necessity to have a character with a fully customizable name and feasible voiced dialogue in Neverwinter Nights 2 led to some pretty awkward pronouns before the player gets any rank. Mask of the Betrayer managed to avoid this by having almost no conversations about the player, only conversations to the player.
- The original had a few of the same issues, mostly resolving the voice acting by putting the character's name in the text of the dialogue and replacing it with "you" in the voiceovers.
- Most mods completely avert this issue, as they usually have no voice acting and can use the function that puts the player's name into the text of what people say.
- In I Wanna Be the Guy, we never get to know the main character real name, nor the name of the final boss. That's assuming that The Kid and The Guy aren't their real names. "The Guy" is a title.
- Rookie One from Star Wars: Rebel Assault. In the first game, his face is never shown either.
- The main character from the Chocobos Dungeon games is only ever referred to as 'Chocobo'.
- In Yume Nikki, there is no given name or identity for the protagonist. There is debate of the protagonist's gender, for an example of the ambiguity. Later on via checking out the coding, the protagonist's name is Madotsuki. Every other character in the game all have fan-names that are not official - officially, they are nameless characters. The fact there is no dialogue, narration, or footnotes of any kind in this game only enhances the effect.
- Ōkamiden has a scholar. She claims that she will reveal her name on her date with Kurow. We never see the date because Kurow died.
- In Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town (and More Friends), the Doctor is simply called Doctor. However, in the DS games, he is called Doctor Trent.
- He eventually reveals to you his name, which is Tim. Trent and Tim are technically grandson and grandfather. Most of the Harvest Goddesses plus the first Witch Princess and her niece are nameless.
- In the Dark Parables series of PC games, the Player Character is only ever addressed as "Detective."
- All we know about the Knight from Trigger Knight is that they're... well, a Knight.
- All the protagonists in the Fallout games have their name defined by the player, but the conversations and voice acting can't predict that, so they're referred to by others with a title: "the Vault Dweller" (Fallout), "The Chosen One" (Fallout 2), "the Lone Wanderer" (Fallout 3) and "Courier" (Fallout: New Vegas).
- Playing this trope straight is The King, de facto ruler of Freeside. The NCR intelligence arm is all over him, and "The King" is the only name he's ever given.
- There are also lesser characters, like the Forecaster, most generic townsfolk ("Freeside Resident," "Goodsprings Settler, etc.") and most human mooks ("Fiend," "Legionary Assassin," etc.).
- In Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy only a handful of characters are known by name. All others are instead referred to by their profession or their relationship to other characters. Examples include the mayor, the sculptor, the fisherman, Jak's uncle, the bird lady, the gambler and the various sages.
- Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors has one character (Fleurette) who will refer to the otherwise unnamed protagonist by a nickname in spoken dialogue; she suggests several nicknames (such as "Blade" and "mon ami"), and you can choose one of them.
- Not to mention that the series very rarely names NPCs- they'll be graced with a name if they need one. Not many do.
- Lampshaded in the Earthworm Jim series. Princess What's-Her-Name's real name is... Princess What's-Her-Name. According to the TV series, her elder sister, Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, gave her the name What's-Her-Name out of complete disrespect.
- Given its popularity with pieces involving wandering samurai, this trope shows up in Way of the Samurai, where 'Nameless' is the default name given to the player's ronin character. You can always choose to change it, but seeing as how the player is apparently some kind of amnesiac swordsman, it fits.
- Many of the enemies in Hellsinker are simply entitled "Unnamed XXX" where XXX is a three-digit number.
- Subverted with the boss of The Way of All Flesh, who is called "The Unnamed 771", the only "Unnamed" enemy to be prefixed with a "The". It's even more of a subversion because it's the One-Winged Angel form of Lost Property 771 aka Amber.
- Valkyria Chronicles III: The Nameless actually have real names, but as they are Black Ops, they are required by the military laws to not reveal their name, using their designated number instead (Kurt is #7, Imca is #1, Riela is #13). It gets awkward when they meet Welkin Gunther and his merry band.
- In a war where tanks are given cool names such as Edelweiss, Shamrock and Schakal, their tank simply goes with 'The Nameless Tank'. You can give it a name, if you so inclined.
- In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, Hugh's little sister, despite playing a huge role in his backstory and character motivation, is never named.
- The protagonist of Vivid Conceptions is known only as "the Bantam", but that's the name of his species. His real name, if he has one at all, is unknown.
- In the first game of the S.W.A.T. series, the player character is referred to as the SWAT Pup "until formal introductions can be made." However, NPCs continue to refer to the player as Pup throughout the game - even when he is promoted to element leader.
- None of the characters in Atlantis III: The New World are given names.
- The first gen of Pokémon has trainers without names and are called by what they are (Super nerd, gambler, channeler, etc.) Only gym leaders, your rival, the Elite Four, and important NPCs have given names. It wasn't until gen 2 that all trainers were given actual names; now instead of Gambler, you would get something like Gambler Jason.
- The Adventurer Archaeologist who serves as the protagonist of Sky Odyssey is never named. In mission briefings he is only referred to as "you". In fact he would qualify as Featureless Protagonist if he wasn't seen in the opening and closing cutscenes, and mentioned on the official website.
- The player character in Star Wars: DroidWorks is only ever called a "Rebel spy."
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The previous security guard (better known as Phone Guy) never says his real name. This trope also applies to the murderer who killed five kids. The articles in the game only reveal that the killer was male.
- The main character of he upcoming Hatred doesn't reveal his name in the trailer, simply stating that it's "not important".
- In Fantasy Life, the Prior/Elder Dark Sultan is only known by his title.
- At one point in Kagetsu Tohya Kohaku shows up for the school festival and doesn't really know what to put for her surname, so she just writes Tohno. She, and Hisui by extension, don't actually have last names. Or at least, they don't remember their families or childhood. Ciel's last name is also never given and Ciel also happens to be a pseudonym. Her real first name is Elesia, something mentioned only in passing. It's something a bit more important in her case, marking her as someone who doesn't entirely belong.
- From the Ace Attorney series, Calisto Yew. Her real name is never given, the only thing we know about it for certain is that it absolutely is not Calisto Yew. Or Shih-na.
- He's been around for 5 games and counting, and no-one knows his honor's name. Or his brother's, who is also a judge.
- There's a hypochondriac who likes to impersonate doctors. He's gone by Dr. Hotti and Dr. Hickfield, but we don't know his real name.
- One character is even "The Bellhop Who Swore The Affidavit".
- Gumshoe's boss (the guy who invented the Blue Badger) is only ever referred to as Chief.
- Despite being the Big Bad of Dual Destinies, we never know the name of the Phantom. Then again, this isn't unexplained, because he comments that he lost and forgot his identity long ago, and now only lives by the personality of whomever he impersonates.
- In the Murder Mystery Jisei, the protagonist's name is never mentioned, even though you are able to see his face and body. He is also the only character in the game who is not voiced.
- In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors you learn the true identities of the other participants of the Nonary Game. Except for Seven.
- But even then, only Ace, Santa, June, and the 9th Man get their full names revealed. Lotus only receives a last name and the others have only first names. One of these eventually gets a canon full name as of the sequel (WARNING: Spoiler is for both games): Junpei Tenmyouji. The rest have full names that were given to them by the creator, but which he considers to be more of a "possibility" than true canon.
- In Juniper's Knot both characters stay unnamed through the story. The concept of names doesn't even come up.
- None of the protagonists in Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story have names.
- For most of The Man With The Terrible Eyes, the Man doesn't know what his name is. He eventually learns that it's Alan.
- Parodied by How to Write Badly Well in the aptly titled "Refuse to give names to characters."
- Kate in KateModern revealed in the fourth episode that her name wasn't really Kate. Her real first name, Genevieve, wasn't revealed until episode 88, "Birthday Surprise", while her surname, Strathcarron, wasn't revealed until episode 163, "Prime Suspect". Several other major characters' surnames have not been revealed, including Charlie, Lauren, Sophie and Terrence, but it is not implied that there is any mystery behind those names.
- There's also the Watcher and the Shadow, whose lack of names befit their status as anonymous Order agents.
- An anonymous member of Danya's terrorist organization is never referred to by name by his colleagues. On the board, he's commonly called 'The Mystery Man'.
- In Tales Of MU, the ruler of the old empire is always referred to as The Unnameable One. One of Mackenzie's professors also has never been named in canon, but that's more of a subtle Running Gag.
- MUniverse tradition has it that the sound denoted by "kh" is reserved for the names of the gods, and that it is blasphemy for anyone who is not a god to have it in their name. As an immortal vampire, the Unnameable One is old enough to predate this tradition, and is named Khulrakh.It is blasphemy to call him by his name, and an insult to a sitting emperor to call him anything but his name. Thus, he is Unnameable.
- Additionally, there's The Man/Mack's Father.
- Sarge in Red vs. Blue is only ever called... Sarge. We have no idea what his actual name may be.
- In Episode 17 of Revelation, it's revealed that his name is actually Sarge.
- In the Colour My Series, neither the protagonist nor his love are given names.
- The little girl who became the gun of Atop the Fourth Wall has lost her name.
- It is later found: Margaret.
- The title character of Pittsburgh Dad hasn't been given a name, though his wife (Deb) and next-door neighbor (Tom) have.
- Parodied in the case of Rookie from Batty Battalion, he tries to tell the others his name, but no one cares and resorts to calling him Rookie.
- None of the characters of Fanpro have official names. Naming them seems to be optional in fan works, and they are generally just distinguished by their numbers.
- It took 33 episodes of Welcome to Night Vale for Cecil's full name to be revealed (it's Cecil Gershwin Palmer. Probably). Carlos the Scientist, Intern Dana, Old Woman Josie, Telly the Barber, and Kevin are all still going without surnames. Some characters, such as The Man In The Tan Jacket, The Traveler, and The Faceless Old Woman Who Lives In Your House, don't have names at all, and all the angels are simply referred to as "Erika."
- Ultra Fast Pony:
- In "The Best Episode Ever", Applejack realizes that her character in the play doesn't have a name, and she breaks character to ask if it's important.
- In "Derp and Destruction", Derpy Hooves mentions a few times that she doesn't know if Derpy Hooves is actually her own name or not. (This is almost certainly a reference to how, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Derpy's name was mentioned in one episode, then edited out of all subsequent broadcasts. And she commonly makes appearances in various EU material and merchandise, which all go to strange lengths to avoid officially naming her.)
- Manatee Girl The Movie has Hunky Marine Biologist Boyfriend...who is known only as Hunky Marine Biologist Boyfriend.
- Played with in Killerbunnies, as technically, any Killerbunny born, raised, or used in a lab for laboratory use don't normally have names, aside from their identification codes, which wouldn't be a name, unless it is counted as such, as would be the case with Test Subject 001892300012 ("Lucy"), Experiment XI0014101 ("Marigold"), and Child #999 ("Lilith"). However, this, according to Word of God, is subverted in the case of Michealenne, as that is the name on one of her ID tags.
- The category 1 hurricane that resulted from the 1991 "perfect storm" note was never given a proper name. This was done on purpose so there wouldn't be confusion among the media and the public, as most of the damage and attention was from and on the initial nor'easter, while the hurricane's damage was limited to power outages and slick roads (the single death the hurricane caused was due to a traffic accident). The name it likely would have been assigned was Henri.
- The Onion applies this to a natural disaster.
- The last member of the Yahi tribe of Northern California could only have his name known after a friend from his tribe introduced him to an outsider. Since he was the last one of his tribe, there was no one to introduce him, and he became known as "Ishi," "man" in his language. His real name will never be known.
- Harry Truman's middle name was just the letter S. If you look closely at his name in e.g. textbooks you'll notice that it's 'S' instead of 'S.'.
- An interviewer asked Truman about whether the S was supposed to have a period or not. Truman said he didn't really care either way.
- Fridge Brilliance. The initial for the name "S" would be "S.". His initial is longer than his name.
- It's said to have been a compromise between the names of his paternal and maternal grandfathers.
- Likewise Johnny Cash, born J. R. Cash. He apparently assumed "Johnny" because the USAF wouldn't accept initials as a valid name.
- The college basketball player and coach Abe Lemons claims to have been born A. E. Lemons, and when it was told he needed a first name, he just put a "B" between the A and the E. Supposedly he later regretted not renaming himself "Ace".
- Also Ulysses S. Grant, who was born Hiram Ulysses Grant and had his name changed as a result of an error when applying to West Point. His friends called him Sam.
- This also made his initials U.S. Grant. Quite useful when leading the Union army and later running for President.
- Not to mention the word spelled out from each of his first initials doesn't exactly strike fear into the enemy.
- None of the members of synthrock band The Birthday Massacre use their real names. For example, there's Chibi on vocals, Rainbow and Falcore on guitar, O. E. on bass, O-en on keyboard, and Rhim on drums.
- The band actually did let Chibi's given name slip when one of her bandmates called her by it during an interview. It's Sarah.
- And now O-en has started calling himself Owen.
- Members of Black Metal bands tend to go by aliases, with some famous examples including Count Grishnack, Euronymous and King ov Hell. If the band becomes sufficiently well-known the members' real names will usually come out sooner or later, though a few bands (e.g. Deathspell Omega) have managed to keep their members' real identities a secret.
- In the band Lordi only Mr. Lordi's real name is known to the public, and he won't reveal his real face. The rest of the band is entirely anonymous in their civilian identities, and the media has agreed to keep it that way.
- The members of The Residents have always remained completely anonymous and have always worn masks (most famously the eyeball mask, top hat, and tuxedo outfit) in performance and other media.
- The Man in the Iron Mask (not that historians haven't tried to figure it out).
- One of the hallmarks of urban legends is the absence of names. For instance, http://darwinawards.com/personal/personal2000-39.html . An unnamed man at an unnamed company is killed by an unnamed robot. Hmmm.
- At least that one is probably based on the death of Kenji Urada, the first man ever killed by a robot.
- Prince the Artist Formerly Known as The Unpronounceable Symbol formerly known as Prince.
- In ancient China, poorer women often were not given first names. The syllable "shi" (approximatable by combining the "sh" sound with the "ir" sound in "bird"), loosely translatable as "from the ___________ family", would be added to their maiden name. For example, if Miss Wu marries Mr. Li, she would be Li Wu Shi.
- So did the ancient Romans. The woman would simply be called by the feminine version of her father's name. For example, Julius Caesar's daughter is Julia.
- Natives of the South American rainforest seldom bother to name wild plant species unless they're either useful or harmful, as there are so many different plants there that keeping track of them all would be too confusing.
- K2, the second tallest mountain in the world, is known as such based on quick notes from a surveyor marking noteworthy peaks on the mountain range ("K1" and "K2" were the two tallest). The locals never gave it a name and the K2 designation is still widely used for it, though China eventually started to officially refer to it as Qogir. Not surprisingly, most people still just called it K2.
- Israel’s arguably most famous blogger, Eishton, started writing in December 2011. Despite being questioned by the police and causing a lot of controversy by defying the Badass Israeli trope and proving that the leading cause of death in the IDF is suicide in a three year research, thereby leading the army to take further precautions to prevent suicide among its soldiers, he managed to avoid having his name revealed somehow.