The titular sponge in SpongeBob Squarepants almost had a completely different name: SpongeBoy. Once Nickelodeon turned their attention to animation, it wasn't long before they found their most successful show. SpongeBob Squarepants debuted in 1999, and the underwater world immediately found a massive following. Twenty years later and new episodes of the series continue to be released, and throughout all of this time, the focus of the show has never turned away from SpongeBob.
The yellow, fun-loving, patty-cooking sponge is easily one of the most iconic characters in all of pop culture since he first appeared. His look is instantly recognizable, and even his high-pitched laugh is something that many can immediately identify. All in all, SpongeBob is a character that is so well-known that it is difficult to imagine him looking or sounding any different. And yet, SpongeBob wasn't even his original name.
Stephen Hillenburg is the man responsible for creating SpongeBob Squarepants, but his initial plans for the character were much different. His appearance was slightly modified during the design phase to be a bit goofier. During this time, Hillenburg planned to not only have SpongeBob look different than he did in the final product but he also originally planned to name the character SpongeBoy. Check out the latest Screen Rant video discussing this bizarre SpongeBob Squarepants fact in the video featured at the top of this post.
With how common the name SpongeBob Squarepants is now, the idea of him going by a different name is quite jarring. Just calling him SpongeBoy would be simpler, but it also would've changed a lot more about the series than you may initially think. One of the subtle charms of the series is how most characters have names are either puns or quickly identify what they are, but also that many of them have some form of a regular name in their full names. If SpongeBob was SpongeBoy, then Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, Squidward, or Karen may not have retained the human parts of their names either.
So why was this change made? Surprisingly, the decision by Hillenburg to change the SpongeBoy name came after discovering that a cleaning company had that name. The decision was made, likely for legal reasons, to change the name. But, it wasn't even Hillenburg who came up with the new name. Tom Kenny, who has voiced SpongeBob since the very beginning, is the one who suggested changing Boy to Bob and adding Squarepants too. After spending twenty years with SpongeBob, it is strange to imagine him being called SpongeBoy instead, but SpongeBob Squarepants hasn't been afraid to make a few SpongeBoy jokes during its run either for hardcore fans to uncover.