Kylo Ren is the dark and dangerous villain of the Star Wars sequel series, hoping to step into the jackboots of his grandfather — Darth Vader — and rule the galaxy with a leather-gloved fist. Despite his affiliation with the Dark Side of the Force, (previous) adherence to an evil master and jamming a lightsaber through his own father’s chest in The Force Awakens, fans have still managed to see the unintentionally funny side of the tortured prince. Whether it be through his childish temper tantrums, his “fangirling” over grandaddy Darth, his tumultuous relationship with General Hux, or his emotionally unavailable “emo boy” sensibility.
Since the release of The Last Jedi, Star Wars fans have been firmly divided over the bold new direction Rian Johnson has taken the franchise. But, one thing most fans seem to be able to agree on is that Kylo Ren has never been more (affectionately) mockable. Thanks mostly to a now notorious shirtless scene, Kylo Ren memes have been sweeping through the Internet faster than
Luke Skywalker can slurp through an udder of alien milk. His Force-powered Skype sessions with Rey also inspired a wealth of hilarious memes, comics and tweets, reimagining how certain scenes could have gone differently and riffing on the emotional tension complicating the relationship between the series’ newest heroine and villain. It goes without saying that massive The Last Jedi spoilers lay ahead, so proceed with caution if you still haven’t seen it.
15. THE KYLO REN CHALLENGE
Out of all of the shocking moments in The Last Jedi, you wouldn’t have thought that Kylo Ren appearing half-naked in front of Rey would have become such a hotly talked about one. And yet, thanks to its unexpectedness, Rey’s awkwardness and the unusually high placement of the villain’s waistband, it’s become one of the film’s most famous scenes.
Though it was already becoming an online sensation, when singer John Mayer posted a selfie on Instagram mimicking the scene — complete with pants hiked up almost to his chest — with the caption “#kylorenchallenge,” the gauntlet was instantly laid down and it wasn’t long before the tag started to trend — almost everywhere. Men, women, cats and even Lego figures have all been posting their own versions for weeks since.
14. YOU DON’T KNOW THE POWER OF THE THICC SIDE
There’s no question that John Mayer’s #kylorenchallenge helped boost the popularity of the Kylo Ren shirtless scene in The Last Jedi into the stratosphere of Internet fame. But, even before fans were posting pictures of themselves embracing their high-waisted Dark Side, others were obsessing over the moment for a different reason; a reason that lay a little north of his pants.
Aside from Kylo’s fashion choices, the impressive broadness of Adam Driver’s upper body — which was probably exaggerated by the pants obscuring his middle and the film’s aspect ratio — didn’t go unnoticed either. Leaked screenshots of the scene have quickly become prime material for memes that proved the size and “thiccness” of Kylo the only way Star Wars fans know how: Death Star references.
13. DO YOU THINK YOU GOT HIM?
Whether you loved or loathed The Last Jedi (or are still on the fence about it), the one thing we can all surely agree is on is this: Luke Skywalker isn’t just a Jedi Master — he’s a master troll. After taking heavy losses during their desperate escape from the First Order across space, the Resistance take shelter on an old Rebel base on Crait with the enemy still hot on their heels.
With (seemingly) their only exit blocked, all hope seems lost. That is, until Luke — after years of absence — comes to their aid. Or does he? Incensed at the sight of the master who he believed to have betrayed him, Kylo orders “every weapon [they] have to fire on that man.” Because Luke isn’t really there, this proves totally ineffective, the assault ending with some sass from Hux and a shoulder brush from Luke.
12. BEST/WORST FIRST DATE EVER
Unless you spent the gap between The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi reading a lot of “Reylo” fan fiction, the charged relationship that developed between Rey and Kylo may have come as a big surprise. Whether you viewed their late night soul-bearing as having platonic or romantic undertones, the growing intimacy of their bond was palpable, culminating in some scandalous (to Luke) finger touching.
Despite sharing a lot of screen time, Rey and Kylo — or Ben, as she chooses to call him — don’t physically meet until near the film’s end. Their “first date,” as this meme from spoof twitter account “Bad Father Han Solo” points out, goes pretty well from Kylo’s perspective. After some light treason and tag-team murdering of Snoke’s guards, he tries to seal the deal with more hand-holding. Unfortunately, Rey turns the second date offer down.
11. LUKE SKYWALKER LOGIC
Just how terrible were the Jedi? According to their last living Master, pretty terrible. Though this idea has been floating around Star Wars fandom for a while — particularly after the prequel series was released — some fans were still pretty shocked by Luke’s festering disdain he expresses towards the Order in The Last Jedi — including, at least initially, Mark Hamill.
The most controversial moment for Luke in the film is when he admits to Rey that he’d felt the fleeting urge to murder his own nephew. As this meme points out, this seems hypocritical considering he previously refused to kill a man who, despite being his own father, was an unapologetic mass murderer. But, it was likely this latter fact that also motivated Luke to act preemptively when he saw the darkness rising in Ben Solo.
10. THE BEN SOLO ORIGIN STORY
In two out of the three sequel movies, we still haven’t seen much of Kylo Ren’s backstory. We know that he’s the child of Han Solo and General Leia Organa, that he trained under his uncle Luke as part of his New Jedi Order and that he was seduced by Snoke into turning to the Dark Side and destroying everything his uncle had tried to rebuild.
We know the big picture but it would be great to know more of the smaller details. This meme hilariously combines the banner for Netflix’s hugely popular documentary series, Making a Murderer, with a photoshopped Solo/Organa family photo to imagine what a miniseries focussing on Ben Solo’s journey from dorky, Force-strong padawan to father-killing, First Order commander might look like.
9. DEAR DIARY…
This meme brilliantly combines all those Kylo Ren/Severus Snape comparisons together with all those jokes about Kylo writing emo poetry late at night in his room. The screenshot is taken from Neil Cicierega’s puppet parody videos of Harry Potter characters, “Potter Puppet Pals,” which first emerged on YouTube in the early ’00s.
In PPP, Snape was depicted as tragic figure who spent most of his time writing melancholy letters to his mother or entries in his diary, ruminating on how pitiful his life was. Thanks to The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we know that Ben owned a calligraphy set when he was training with Luke to makes notes on his master’s instructions. Who’s to say he didn’t secretly keep it and hasn’t been keeping a record of his time with the First Order, too?
8. THE WORST ORDER
Oh, Kylo Ren and General Hux — can’t you bad guys just get along? Even with all the Force choking, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by some fans that in the original trilogy, Darth Vader and the commanders of the Empire seemed pretty chummy with each other. Meetings between them went ahead with minimal sarcastic clapbacks, spiteful smirking or anyone smashing up bits of hardware.
Through The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, though, General Hux could barely contain his hatred for Snoke’s apprentice whenever they were in a room together and Kylo gave as good as he got. Perhaps it’s the comparative youthfulness of the pair compared to the Empire’s higher ups; Kylo and Hux’s relationship feels like that of two ambitious young executives desperate to impress the CEO and make partner — by whatever means necessary.
7. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
You don’t get to be a dark lord without breaking a few apprentice’s spirits, and nobody seemed to know that better than Snoke in The Last Jedi. Despite carrying out the order to kill his father, Snoke was unimpressed at the emotional — and physical — strain the deed put Kylo Ren under. He didn’t hesitate to let his young pupil know it either, “You’re just a child in a mask.”
After a characteristic tantrum in an elevator, Kylo attempts to win back his master’s confidence by killing his mother — which he fails at. Sensing his deepening conflict, Snoke deviously decides to “stoke” rather than suppress it by connecting Kylo and Rey’s minds using the Force. What Snoke didn’t count on, however, was Kylo’s thirst for power and possible attachment to Rey instigating the ultimate betrayal.
6. ALWAYS CLEAR YOUR BROWSER HISTORY
This might just be the ultimate Kylo Ren meme as it hits on so many aspects of the villain that fans find funny. Using a screenshot of search results on multiple open tabs, the creator of this meme imagines what a glimpse into Kylo’s search history might reveal about his inner thoughts and desires. Suitably, there’s plenty of “Reylo” fuel surrounding his intense, long distance relationship with Rey.
There’s also a sad joke about Father’s Day “when you don’t have a father” (should have thought about that before you stepped onto that bridge, Ben) and a reference to his bitter, workplace drama with General Hux and how to cope with it in a way that doesn’t end in death. The best one is perhaps the query about lightspeed resistant hair gel — he does have a great head of it, after all.
5. JUST AN AVERAGE DAY IN THE LIFE OF KYLO REN
Murdered the Supreme Leader? It must be Tuesday. Okay, so Kylo has had a few wins, despite what this meme suggests. He managed to do his fair share of thinning out the Resistance’s ranks in The Force Awakens — including killing off Han Solo. He nearly got his hands on the map to Luke Skywalker before Rey’s sudden “awakening” (if only he’d known the title of the film he was in.)
He also nearly took out the “traitor” Finn, too. But, once again, Rey — who’d never even picked up a lightsaber before — managed to get the best of him. Even when Kylo thought he’d successfully lured Rey to hand herself over to the First Order willingly, Snoke revealed that “win” was actually his master plan all along, leading to Hux walking into the Supreme Leader’s throne room to find a, uh, bit of a mess.
4. NOW THAT’S MERCHANDISE
Those Lego Star Wars playsets are getting really scene-specific these days if this obviously real promotional image is anything to go by. The photo was shared by the hilarious Han Solo twitter parody account, “Bad Father Han Solo,” as one of what must be thousands of memes making fun of the infamous shirtless scene from The Last Jedi.
The doctored image of course riffs on the almost universally agreed upon opinion that Kylo Ren’s broad frame is the widest thing to ever exist in the galaxy. Though it’s sadly not a real Lego figure, it’s likely only a matter of time before someone submits it to the Lego “Ideas” portal to try and change that. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be able to reenact that notorious scene at home between Rey and Kylo with the highest level of accuracy in Lego form.
3. MUCH TO LEARN YOU HAVE, YOUNG SOLO
How exactly did Snoke persuade Ben Solo to turn to the Dark Side? In The Last Jedi, we learned that Luke’s (almost) betrayal of Ben at the New Jedi Order temple was the final straw to push the young pupil over the edge. After nearly crushing Luke to death, Ben and his would-be Knights killed the rest of the students (because youngling murder is the fastest route to evil in Star Wars) and adopted the Kylo Ren mantle.
But, this comic from an unknown artist posits that more of the blame could possibly be attributed to Luke than he let on in the film. Apart from a few lessons with Obi Wan, Luke’s primary master was Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, who was more than a little eccentric in his twilight years. Perhaps Luke’s teaching model was similarly aggravating for Ben.
2. COOKING WITH KYLO
This meme illustrating Kylo Ren’s seemingly permanent state of emotional instability and depressive aura was inspired by the “How To Make Sushi” webcomic by Molg H. The original comic uses the framework of an instructional illustration on how to make homemade sushi yourself, but quickly devolves into the character pictured failing and ending up in the fatal position on the floor.
The comic gained thousands of likes and shares across the most popular social media platforms within a few months and sparked numerous copycats using popular fictional characters like Superman, Captain America and Yu-Gi-Oh!‘s Seto Kaiba. Naturally, with his reputation as the Internet’s current favorite emo prince, it was only a matter of time before someone inserted Kylo Ren into their own version, with the addition of what could be General Hux walking in at the end.
1. MYSTERY SOLVED!
Just when you thought that the shirtless Kylo Ren scene memes couldn’t get any weirder, along came this image, posted by the “Classical Art Memes” Facebook page. In case you’re not that hot on your prehistoric British history, Stonehenge is an ancient monument made from large rocks arranged in a circle in Wiltshire, England. They’re each about 13 feet high, seven feet wide and weigh about 25 tons.
The reason it’s a world famous landmark is because we still don’t know what purpose it was built for, though there are many theories — including, of course, alien intervention. Due to their sheer width, the maker of this meme has their own theory: each ‘N’ shaped structure is a remnant of Ben “Swolo’s” pants. After all, Star Wars did take place a “long time ago,” and how else do you explain the stones’ huge size?
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