Perhaps no other entry in the franchise has been as divisive as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fans of the Disney Space opera were torn over the film’s tone and use of comedy, the introduction of a lactating alien beast, and of course – SPOILER WARNING – the death of Luke Skywalker. For some, the movie signaled the end of the Skywalker legacy and for others, the film took Star Wars into progressive new territory.
One of the most talked about scenes from The Last Jedi featured a particularly hench, notably shirtless Kylo Ren. Played by Adam Driver, Kylo Ren is the child of Han Solo and General Leia Organa. Before taking on the mantle of Kylo, the burgeoning force user was originally named Ben Solo. Unfortunately, the dark side proved too tempting for Ben and he left the light and joined the First Order, following in the footsteps of his grandpa, Darth Vader. In this scene, Kylo is communicating across worlds with Daisy Ridley’s, Rey, their minds connected by the force and, it turns out, the meddling of nefarious Supreme Leader Snoke. Neither Ben/Kylo nor Rey were prepared for this particular ‘Force Skype’ session or the fact that Ben is currently hanging out in his chambers half dressed.
Shirtless Kylo Ren was particularly jarring due to both Adam Drivers impressively bulked up torso and the fact that Star Wars is not especially known for its shirtless heroes. The last time Star Wars featured one of its heroes this scantily clad was back during Return of the Jedi when Leia, enslaved by mobster slug Jabba, wore that infamous bikini, a costume choice which has long since been considered exploitative. Needless to say, fans quickly became obsessed with the ‘swole’ Sith and the ‘ Ben Swolo’ meme was born. It wasn’t long until the internet was flooded with Ben Swolo content. Here are ten of the most hilarious memes the internet had to offer.
10 THE ORIGINAL ‘BEN SWOLO’ MEME
It’s about as hard to trace a meme’s origins as it is to track a starship through hyperspace but, as TLJ showed, it is possible. This just might be Ben Swolo’s first introduction to the world and who better to usher in a new era of memes than Admiral Akbar. ‘Sir, we’re detecting a massive object emerging from hyperspace.’ Massive is right!
9 TAKE THAT RIDICULOUS THING OFF
Here we see Supreme Leader Snoke, in all his irreparably scarred glory. He’s muttering the line, which in the film referred to Kylo Ren’s Vader-esque helmet, and here refers to a plain grey T-shirt. Unknown is the number of ‘X’s preceding ‘Large’ in the size label of that T-shirt or when Kylo had time to pop to GAP between lightsaber battles, but he has no problems taking it off. All those hours in the gym have to be for something, right?
8 ANAKIN SKYSWOLKER
It’s easy to see where Ben Swolo gets his passion for bulking up and turning to the dark side. There’s nothing like a little family competition, it there? In this Swolo rendition, Ben’s grandfather Anakin Skywalker is beefed up to epic proportions as well.
The connection between these two characters is an important aspect of the current trilogy, especially in regards to Kylo’s motivation and inspiration. It makes sense that Anakin would be as swollen as his future grandson.
7 SQUID GOALS (EXPANDING MIND MEME)
This is one of the best variations of the ‘Expanding Mind Meme’ on the internet. The pun-tactic entry in the Ben Swolo canon gives us a look at some other Star Wars legends if they were as built as Ben Swolo. Not only do we get a look at the protein powered muscle-laden space warriors, but each is also given an equally humorous moniker to accompany.
Maybe things would have turned out differently in The Phantom Menace if Darth Maul had come up against ‘Qui Gon Gym.’ Although, ‘Chancellor Palprotein’ looks pretty unstoppable. Lucky ‘Admiral Squatbar,’ the most hench of them all, is a part of the rebellion and the resistance after that.
6 THE WINTER SWOLDIER
Disney is amassing a pretty big grasp on the universe these days with both the far away Star Wars galaxy and the Marvel Cinematic Universe now falling under the Disney name. Some friendly competition between the different Disney divisions is understandable and here we can see Marvel’s Bucky Barnes as played by Sebastion Stan, a.k.a The Winter Soldier taking the rivalry to a new a level.
It’s hard to imagine anyone stacking up against Ben Swolo, even Captain America looks like a regular human next to the iron pumping machine. But beefy Bucky is giving his all.
5 BIG BEN
Pretty self-explanatory, this meme puts Swolo in place of the famous London landmark: Big Ben. Considering, TLJ was filmed at Pinewood Studios, just outside of London, it’s not too hard to believe ‘Ben Swolo,’ might have taken a turn around the capital, seeing the sites and landmarks. With his size, it wouldn’t have taken him long to stroll into town.
4 MR. GALAXYWIDE
The ‘Mr. Galaxywide,’ meme is an extension of the ‘Mr. Worldwide’ meme. Yes, the internet is eating itself. ‘Mr. Worldwide,’ was a meme featuring rapper Pitbull. Mr. Worldwide is a nickname he assigned himself and repeated fairly often in his tracks, asserting his status.
The original meme featured Pitbull holding the world in the palm of his hand. Here the world is replaced with the ‘Death Star’ and Pitbull replaced by the cosmically sized Ben Swolo. Proving once again just how large he truly is.
3 LEGO BEN SWOLO
A movie wouldn’t be a blockbuster these days without a Lego adaptation and it looks like memes are no different. Here in all his plastic, ‘swole’-ness is ‘Lego Ben Swolo.’ Everything IS awesome when you’re this jacked.
2 WE HAVE A HULK
The Hulk is a big green, smashing machine. He’s the strongest, most swollen, pumped up Avenger and it would take a lot to outmuscle the incredible Hulk.
Good thing Ben Swolo has basically been living at the gym. This meme takes the iconic ‘We have a Hulk’ scene from the first Avengers film and puts a friendly Star Wars spin on things. Although, it’s a little troubling for Leia if Snoke’s claims are true. Kylo Smash!
1 SWOLO KITTY
The creator of this one might have broken into the catnip again. There really was no other conclusion to this chapter in the history of memes. The internets fascination with Ben Swolo, meets its longtime feline obsession. This one is pretty simply a work of art. Now come to the dark side, kitty.
NEXT: 10 Essential Gifts That Every Star Wars Fan Wants
Joshua Dean Perry