Meet TR-8R From 'The Force Awakens', & Learn Why The Internet Is Obsessed With Him
Ok, Internet, we need to talk. I think you have a problem. It's not that I don't love your unpredictable obsessions with small, and arguably inconsequential, things — it's just that these random obsessions (see: Left Shark, the Dress...) are hard to understand. And the latest one is even more confusing than usual: the Internet's newest pop culture icon, TR-8R (or TR8R depending on your preference). TR-8R is a stormtrooper in Star Wars: The Force Awakens who has only one line: "TRAITOR!" (Get it?) He only pops up for a second, after (spoiler alert!) Finn (formerly known as FN-2187) has abandoned the First Order and his role as a stormtrooper and run away with Han Solo, Chewie and Rey. The First Order tracks Finn and new friend BB-8 and attacks them, putting Finn directly in the crosshairs of the stormtroopers he once served beside. One of these stormtroopers is TR-8R, who confronts Finn with a dramatic gun spin.
Sure, he's cool, but why is the Internet so obsessed with TR-8R? Well, in The Force Awakens, the stormtrooper not only calls Finn out, he does so with immense dramatic flair. He shouts "Traitor!" and tosses his little gun and shield on the ground, as if declaring a duel. After Finn turns on his lightsaber, TR-8R remains calm, instead whipping out an elaborate baton that can actually block a lightsaber from his right arm. It's intense, and awesome, and, yes, involves a baton spin to end all baton spins.
Audiences everywhere have grabbed onto TR-8R. They have given him a name, and created hundreds of memes around him. TR-8R is quickly becoming one of the breakout characters of The Force Awakens , eclipsing Captain Phasma and General Hux as one of the most memorable embodiments of the First Order.
Even more, TR-8R, technically known as a Riot Control Stormtrooper, will likely have a growing presence in Star Wars merchandise. He already has his own action figures, including a Pop Vinyl and an expensive Hot Toys bundle that comes with a Finn figure as well. Still, TR-8R's appeal remains somewhat of a mystery. Is he popular because of his baton spin and dance? His dramatic exclamation of "Traitor"? The fact that his weapon is one of a kind in The Force Awakens? Or are audiences simply responding to TR-8R because they relate to him? Everyone can relate to TR-8R because everyone's been betrayed by a friend. Thus, his call for loyalty is universal, making any memes or Internet videos and GIFs applicable to a wide variety of situations.
Or, maybe TR-8R is so beloved because he's just plain fun.
Whatever the reason for TR-8R's popularity, it appears to have reached a critical mass, with even Force Awakens star John Boyega, who plays Finn, sending out TR-8R's signature phrase on Twitter.
Unfortunately, fans hoping to get another glimpse at TR-8R in the upcoming Episode VIII will be disappointed. TR-8R was shot dead by Han Solo in the big fight, but, if the memes are anything to go on, his legacy will live on. And on. And on.
Images: Walt Disney Pictures; Giphy (2)