When it comes to creating character names, George Lucas says: "Basically, I developed the names for the characters phonetically. I obviously wanted to telegraph a bit of the character in the name. The names needed to sound unusual but not spacey. I wanted to stay away from the kind of science fiction names like Zenon and Zorba. They had to sound indigenous and have consistency between their names and the culture." (SuperShadow: Does George know that Jabba's father is named Zorba the Hutt. Or more importantly, does he care?)
Darth Vader: from Dutch/German roots, roughly means "Dark Father"
Anakin Skywalker: "Anakin" derives from the race of giants in the biblical "Genesis", and "Skywalker" comes from a phrase for the Norse god Loki, known for fire and sneakiness and trouble.
Luke Skywalker: "Luke" is from Greek "leukos" or "light", as opposed to the Dark Side of the Force and "Darth" [Dark]. In the Gospels, Luke was a gentile who converted to Christianity, which is appropriate for a boy who becomes absorbed by the religious power of the Force. An early draft of the screenplay has the name "Luke Starkiller." Either way, the hero is "Luke S.", which can easily be pronounced "Lucas!" Essentially, Luke Skywalker is the film embodiment of George Lucas as mythological hero.
Tatooine: Luke Skywalker's home planet is a variant of "Tataouine", a town in Tunisia, which is the country where the desert scenes of "Star Wars" were filmed. Tataouine also appeared briefly at the end of the X-Files movie. This is kind of funny because so many fans were hoping that the Episode 1 trailer would appear at the beginning of the X-Files movie!
Princess Leia Organa: The Carrie Fisher role is evocative of "Princess Dejah Thoris", princess of the Martian city of "Helium" in Edgar Rice Burroughs' tales of John Carter of Mars. She also has echoes of "Lady Galadriel of Lothlorien" in J.R.R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings." "Organa" equals "organic" in the sense of the forest versus the mechanical power of the Empire, according to Lucas' biographer Dale Pollock.
Hans Solo: Harrison Ford's character springs from "Han" as an archaic variant of "John" in order to put us back in mythic time. "Solo" means the lone-gun swashbuckler who must grow to trust others and work as part of a team for the sake of a cause beyond his narrow agenda. The name also connects to "Napoleon Solo" in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", which name actually first appeared as a minor bad guy in the James Bond novel "Goldfinger."
R2D2: Lucas states that the droids's name came from the sound editor's lingo of calling out "R2D2" as shorthand for "Reel Two, Dialogue Two" during the filming of Lucas' prior hit, "American Graffiti." Lucas said to himself "R2D2? I like the sound," jotted it down in his notebook, and planned to use it again someday.
Chewbacca: Everyone's favorite Wookiee was reportedly inspired by Lucas' malamute "Indiana", which was the name given to the hero of the "Indiana Jones" movies. Wookiee was originally an ad lib in Lucas first feature film, "THX 1138", where a character said "I think I ran over a Wookiee back there,"
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Alec Guiness' character, also called "Old Ben Kenobi," is discovered to be a Jedi knight who brings Luke to the power of the Force. Appropriately, then, "Obi" is the sash used to tie a Japanese kimono, thus suggesting the oriental martial arts, and relating to "Wan" which is close to Japanese honorific "san." Obi-Wan is apparently the name Ben was called when he was an active Jedi Knight in the prequels.
Ewoks: the fighting and syrupy teddy bears get their name from "Miwok", the Indian tribe indigenous to San Rafael, California, where Lucas built his Skywalker Ranch. In "Return of the Jedi" we see the Ewoks in the forests of the moon Endor, which was the name of the witch in the biblical Book of Samuel.
Boba Fett: this ultra cool bounty hunter's name is based on another hotshot rebellious loner, Bob Falfa, the drag racer played by Harrison Ford in "American Graffiti."
Banthas: the screw-horned shaggy beasts of the Sand People, derive from "Banth", a creature found on "Barsoom", the adventurous Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs' tales of John Carter of Mars.
Jawas: relate to Indonesian Islam, and to the trance music of Morocco, called "Gnawa."
(Source: Galleon Sunrun)