What is the Star Wars Ben Solo Challenge and why are fans obsessed with it?

Lightsabers and all other vertical weapons at the ready

Although Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has earned polarising reviews, there’s one thing fans all seem to agree on – with the right weapon and the right shrug, anything is possible.

The Ben Solo Challenge is the newest phenomenon to galvanise fans into one mass movement – quickly going viral and prompting all sorts of variations and spin-offs. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest craze from a galaxy far far away. Be warned – spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker lie within.

What is the Star Wars Ben Solo Challenge? 

Nodding to the scene in the film in which Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren whips out Rey’s lightsaber in order to join forces and fight off the Knights of Rey on Exegol, the challenge sees fans around the world mimicking Ren’s action – the sly reveal of the weapon hiding against the spine, and crucially, the gentle shrug before beginning to do battle.

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It’s the one-two movement of reveal/shrug that holds the key – but many are seizing the opportunity to show off their weapon-wielding skills too.

Where did the Ben Solo Challenge come from? 

TikTok user @mikelovestheshrug first posted his attempt on the platform, and shared the video on Twitter with the hashtag #BenSoloChallenge.

Having earned nearly 15,000 likes in just over 48 hours, the movement is still growing – and its founder is keen to get everyone involved.

So, do you need a lightsaber? 

No! While many attempts show fans fully prepped with their own lightsabers, the phenomenon encourages any kind of improvisation you can think of.

A glass of wine, a kitchen broom, a bottle of ketchup, a cardboard cut-out of Driver himself – the possibilities are endless.

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While there have been countless attempts, many admirable and entertaining – the enrolment of one of the youngest Jedi ever seen has to take the crown. It’s the knee bend that really does it.

Does the Ben Solo Challenge make sense for Star Wars fans historically? 

Fans are particularly warming to this challenge for a number of reasons. Ren’s sudden and sly loyalty is certainly a draw, but his shrug also points to the famed movements of his father, one Han Solo.

Lightsaber proficiency is one thing – but an act of courage honouring history is another entirely.

Twitter user @MikeLovesTheShrug, who first started the phenomenon, explained to TIME why it matters so much: “The shrug is just such a Han Solo-Harrison Ford moment and seeing someone as talented as Adam Driver do that… it’s such a spot-on impression of that moment and that character.”

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