Many memes grew out of the release of The Last Jedi last year, but one of the most enduringly silly was perhaps Ben Swolo — inspired by the moment when Kylo Ren, during a Force-powered FaceTime chat with Rey, pops up sans shirt, revealing a chiselled torso that is probably still feverishly inspiring Rey/Kylo fanfic writers to this very day. But the Internet is the Internet — and so with some delicate tweaking of a screenshot, Kylo Ren gave way to the absolute unit that is ? No? Just me? Image: Angel Unzueta, Guru-eFX, and Clayton Cowles (Marvel Comics)
Oh, indeed, your worshipfulness.
Given Star Wars’ ceaseless, at times frustrating fascination with contextualizing itself, a more academic manner in which to analyse Han Solo as a shirtless space lumberjack might be to suggest that Star Wars #57 has offered us the canonical moment the sparks really started flying in Han and Leia’s eventual romantic relationship. It’s the catalyst of one of the franchise’s greatest loves, the crucial moment in which Leia arrives at the “Oh no, that jerk is a hot jerk” stage of attraction.
But given Star Wars’ other fascination with generations and legacy, I like to think of it as the passing of the torso-torch, from Han Swolo to Ben Swolo. For he will become a bit of a hunk, like his father before him.