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John Mayer popularized the Kylo Ren Challenge, killing the meme in the process

Thanks, John

Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, looking at his helmet. Walt Disney Studios

Star Wars: The Last Jedi reminded us that Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren was more than just an evil villain tasked with eviscerating any joy left in the world.

[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.]

After The Last Jedi was released, people became enamored with one scene in particular. While talking to Rey using the force bond, we see Kylo Ren in his room, walking around with high-waisted pants and no shirt. There’s no point in harping on the man’s pants, which are relatively in-style, but it was Driver’s stature in the scene that caused fans of the movie to start an entire thread on 4chan dedicated to discussing and ogling Driver’s body.

Like how most memes begin, conversation moved from 4chan’s /tv/ board into more mainstream social media networks, namely Instagram. On Dec. 23, 2017, Instagram user posted a short clip of himself standing in a room and sporting a paid of pants similar to Kylo Ren’s. Lazar0d1az is also shirtless, and armored with a replica version of Kylo’s mask. Although there were a few other photos posted prior to the movie’s release, thanks to snippets and leaked images, it wasn’t until Lazar0d1az posted his photo that the campaign really took off.

Lazar0d1az tossed in the #KyloRenChallenge hashtag, seen belong amonst the sea of other trending hashtags, and a new meme was born.

The meme didn’t really gain traction until the end of 2017 and beginning of the new year; a reminder that the internet’s best jokes are left to stew and simmer in the underbelly of our online black hole. More people, including both men and women, began posing in Kylo Ren’s now infamous stance. On Dec. 30, singer John Mayer posted a photo of himself taking part in the trend, signifying a mainstream embrace of the meme and a natural but simultaneous death of the joke.

The photo has just over 322,000 likes at the time this story was published.


A post shared by johnmayer (@johnmayer) on

There are more than 1,700 posts on Instagram, which feature people taking part in the meme, according to the company’s search bar; but like all memes, some are more deserving of praise than others. Sorry, dog-owners-who-are-putting-waist-high-pants-on-their-pets. Extra credit is also being given to people who take the time to Photoshop their heads onto Adam Driver’s unbelievably broad shoulders.

Eventually, we’re going to be bored by the scores of people taking selfies, trying to do their best to pull off the best Kylo Ren impression they can. Please note this isn’t to suggest we’ll get bored of selfies. Never stop taking selfies.

Hopefully, we’ll see Kylo Red continue his fashion forward thinking in the next Star Wars installment, Episode IX. Episode IX is slated to be released on Dec. 20, 2019. J.J. Abrams is set to direct.

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