Scarcely has a cinematic villain struck such fear into the hearts of moviegoers as Darth Vader. From the moment the Dark Lord of the Sith strode into the smoke ridden hallway of the Tantive IV, a hulking black monster silhouetted against a stark white background, audiences would have the form of evil burned forever in their minds. Scarcely has a cinematic villain struck less fear into audiences than Kylo Ren, a tall, gangly Sith that thuds down the gangplank of his shuttle to survey the damage his stormtroopers have done to a small settlement on Jakku. We hear no breathing from beneath his helmet, which makes his faceless gaze all the more awkward as he has a staring contest with the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron.
These two Sith represent a dynamic paradox; one the embodiment of control, one the absence of it. Where one may lose his temper and quietly Force Choke a subordinate, the other will throw a tantrum in front of them. Both are terrifying in their own way, shifting from the predictable to the unpredictably terrifying. The serious nature inherent in their personalities lends itself to some truly great memes, 15 of which CBR has collected for your eager eyeballs.
15 TRUST FUND
One of the biggest facets of Darth Vader’s character is loss. He had no father, his mother was sold into slavery then killed, he was torn away from her when he was young and sent to live in a monastery (er, Jedi Academy), had his wife and (to his knowledge) children die, before finally losing over half his limbs in a fight to the death with his best friend. He made the best life choices he could given what he had (a Dark Side using surrogate father figure included), and literally had to rebuild himself from scratch.
Contrast that with Kylo Ren, by all accounts a happy kid, with two loving and famous parents and the opportunity to train with the legendary Luke Skywalker. He has life handed to him on a silver platter with every advantage and yet still finds ways to whine about it.
14 GETTING SOME
When Kylo Ren first removes his helmet he’s interrogating Rey in The Force Awakens. Prior to that, as far as anyone knew the tall, willowy Sith could have looked like anyone. Instead, he looks like Adam Driver. Adam Driver became famous for the show Girls, in which he, an average to awkward looking male became intimate with average looking females. It made him fairly popular with female audiences despite the fact that he resembles a disgruntled muppet.
He liked to spend a lot of time communing with the busted helmet of his grandfather’s suit which, in this particular meme, seems to be attempting to save Kylo from completing killing his game faster than a lightsaber to the gut. Kylo probably doesn’t have much to worry about, considering no one prefers him with the helmet on.
13 THE LOVE OF A GRANDSON
Darth Vader became Darth Vader because his life sucked. He was born a slave on Tatooine, indoctrinated into the Jedi Order, betrayed and dismembered by his best friend, and contributed to the death of his wife. Becoming an agent of evil and helping Emperor Palpatine strike terror into thousands of star systems as the Empire took over the galaxy made his children want to destroy him.
Despite the fact that Kylo Ren must have heard all about how horrible his grandfather was, and known that he never had any particular agenda himself as far as the future of the Empire was concerned, he still idolizes him. And for a certain Sith Lord whose entire family despises him, that gives him all the warm fuzzies.
12 ARE YOU GOING TO EAT THAT?
Aboard the Battlecruiser Finalizer, Kylo Ren has a chamber where he frequently chats with the charred remains of Darth Vader’s helmet, often pontificating what the Dark Lord’s desires would be in the 30 years since the events of Return of the Jedi. He’s fond of saying that he’s going to “finish what you started”, in possible reference to Vader’s desire to crush the Republic once and for all. Nevermind that he rejected the dark side and achieved redemption just before he died.
In this meme, we have a very cute Kylo Ren eating the slice of cake Darth Vader has already started eating, in the drawing style of Calvin and Hobbes. It’s a joke that’s been around a while in various incarnations, but making Kylo Ren infantile and grabby is pretty in keeping with his actual personality in the films.
11 THE POWER OF THE DARKNESS
Kylo Ren looks to Darth Vader as a symbol of power and dominance. He feels a kinship to him through their familial bond and also via their mutual recognition of the might of the dark side. Kylo Ren has a myopic and narrow minded perspective of his grandfather’s life and purpose, often twisting the tales of his exploits to perceive him as a positive role model. Ultimately, though Vader was seduced by the dark side, he eventually came around when his son showed him that there was still good in him.
It’s nice to think that while Kylo Ren was using Vader’s helmet as a Magic 8 Ball, his grand pops left him a highly personalized message. Vader clearly hopes Kylo will stop being an idiot before he throws his life away.
10 I LOVE YOU
A famous quote from the Empire Strikes Back occurs when Han Solo is about to be frozen in carbonite. Vader is testing the process for when Luke Skywalker arrives, but before he can freeze the young Jedi, Han Solo and Princess Leia share a tender moment. She tells Han that she loves him, and he responds simply with “I know”. During the filming of this scene, Carrie Fisher didn’t actually know the line had been changed from “I love you too” until the scene was shot.
In this meme we have the famous scene recreated with Kylo Ren, though if you can imagine Vader’s rumbling response to be aggressively sarcastic, it’s even better. Why? Because Kylo Ren is Vader’s biggest fanboy and it’s more than a little embarrassing.
9 MAGIC 8 BALL HELMET
Number One Vader Fanboy Kylo Ren happens to have one of the most intriguing artifacts in the galaxy, which he prefers to speak into like a Magic 8 Ball. One wonders why Anakin Skywalker doesn’t appear to him in spectral form to clear up a few things.
But just where did he get Vader’s warped helmet? According to one of the Star Wars stories released around the time of The Force Awakens, Bazine Netal (the informant from Maz Kanata’s cantina) obtained a mysterious parcel from a stormtrooper that just so happened to have fought on the forest moon of Endor, a parcel which she delivered to Kylo Ren. The real question is, how far will Kylo Ren’s obsession go? No doubt he’ll end up scouring the galaxy for all the Vader memorabilia he can find.
8 TAKING THE GRANDSON FOR A WALK
Sure, a shopping cart isn’t a baby carriage, but since Kylo Ren’s a big baby, something larger will have to do. It’s hard to think of exactly what sort of activities Darth Vader would have engaged in as a grandfather, though games of catch would definitely be more fun (imagining hurling space ships back and forth), as well as fishing (levitating aquatic creatures out of the water then force choking them).
Undoubtedly this meme is the work of creative cosplayers at a local grocery store. It begs the question; did they spend all their time in the grocery store like that? Sadly, the basket looks empty, which means that Kylo Ren wasn’t able to get grandpa to buy him anything.
7 THE CIRCLE OF STAR WARS
Lucasfilm and its subsidiaries was purchased for 4 billion dollars by the Disney company, giving them the rights to all the films and franchises contained therein (Indiana Jones, Howard the Duck, etc), and relegating George Lucas to the role of creative consultant. In an amusing homage, this meme shows Darth Vader holding up Kylo Ren in a pose reminiscent of Rafiki holding up Simba in the opening scenes of The Lion King.
Does this proudly proclaim that Kylo Ren is inheriting the kingdom from Vader? He is certainly the next major villain to even be close to Vader in terms of impact and influence in the Star Wars Universe, though it remains to be seen if he will continue to be well received as an heir to Vader’s legacy.
6 DIRTY GRANDPA
When you see the trailer for Dirty Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, it inspires you to wonder to just what depths De Niro's career had sunk to star in such a turkey. Who wants to see him embarrass himself all the while having to tolerate Zac Efron. Was it made to appeal to a younger audience? That’s like wondering if Kylo Ren’s personality was inspired by whining fanboys who complain about every new Star Wars movie that comes out.
Know what would be a much better movie? Kylo Ren raging more at keggers than at his own employees. And Vader mass Force choking a bunch of douche bros before informing Kylo that he disapproves of his lifestyle, and then collecting his paycheck.
It was only a matter of time before a meme was created that didn’t beat around the bush, showcasing a version of one of Vader’s greatest lines from A New Hope used to combat Kylo Ren’s unbridled fanboying. The style of the meme is drawn like a frame in a Japanese manga, complete with Kylo’s slitted happy eyes and cutesy shapes hovering around his weirdly blushing cheeks.
Kylo Ren needs to step outside of Vader’s shadow and learn to be his own person. He may not be a Sith Lord but he is Master of the Knights of Ren, who were boss enough to take on Luke Skywalker and his newly created Jedi Academy. Maybe if he stopped trying to live up to an idol’s expectations he would stop being a whiny brat and actually do something worthy of note.
4 THAT SLAP
One of the most commonly seen memes of the last few years has depicted ‘60s Batman slapping Robin for bringing up something stupid, suggesting something stupid, or notifying Batman of something stupid. In this case, Kylo Ren is stating that he’ll finish what Vader started and Vader, unimpressed and insulted by the suggestion, slaps him across the face ans flat out refusing.
The thing is, Darth Vader was redeemed at the conclusion of Return of the Jedi. Luke exposed the good still in him, and only when his son wa on the brink of death could he decide to kill the Emperor and let the light side of the Force flow through him. He even told Luke to tell Leia that he was good again. He wouldn’t have approved of Kylo Ren doing horrible acts in his name.
3 BIGGEST FAN
One of the defining traits of Kylo Ren’s character is that he’s obsessed with Darth Vader. In this meme, we see him in fanboy mode, holding his Magic 8 Ball Vader helmet up to the Sith Lord himself, asking if he can get an autograph. Vader’s face says it all, looking quite annoyed at the suggestion.
Was Kylo Ren obsessed with Vader before he fell to the dark side? Did hear about Vader’s villainous escapades inspire his downfall? Leia and Han tried to hide the identity of his grandfather from him for quite some time. Leia herself didn’t want to be known as the offspring of Darth Vader, whereas Luke wasn’t as ashamed of it (granted he wasn’t involved in politics). Even after learning the truth about his family history, it’s surprising that he would find Vader worthy of such adoration considering his parents are leaders of the Republic.
2 WHAT THE HELL
So by now, we all know how much Kylo Ren seeks out his grandfather’s council. This is usually relegated to talking to his gnarled old helmet, expecting some sort of response. Kylo seems to think that at some point, all of Vader’s wisdom will just be channeled through the relic if he communes with it enough. So far, his cries for attention have gone unheeded.
But what about spectral Anakin? When Vader was redeemed at the conclusion of Return of the Jedi, he became one with the light side of the Force and appeared to Luke alongside the ghosts of Obi-Wan and Yoda. So why isn’t he appearing to tell Kylo Ren that everything he likes about Vader is wrong, and that he should get a better role model? Or at least to get a handle on his anger issues.
1 KYLO REN’S BEDROOM
Star Wars is known for its ubiquitous and amazing amounts of merchandise. There are Star Wars tie ins to dozens of brands, and the official merchandise itself is a marketer’s dream. Some of the most popular items bear Vader’s image, as his helmet and armor are some of the most recognizably “Star Wars” things around, and some of the most popular Star Wars merchandise involves bedding.
It would make sense that if Kylo Ren could get his hands on a lot of Darth Vader merch, he would plaster his room with it. Maybe even have an alarm clock set that chimes in time to Vader’s breathing, and lots of “motivational posters” involving ways for dissenting minions to meet violent ends if they fail to live up to First Order expectations.