Warning: Spoilers to follow for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Do not read ahead until you have seen the film.
Adam Driver's Kylo Ren is never far from the center of any Star Wars discussion. Coming out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the temperamental progeny of Leia Organa and Han Solo elicited all kinds of reactions from fans, and Emo Kylo became a source of much debate. Now that Star Wars: The Last Jedi has arrived, Kylo Ren's shirtless scene is the new spring from which conversation and memes originate. In a surprising scene, Adam Driver's character appears shirtless during one of his "Force Facetimes" with Rey. While Rey was somewhat uncomfortable during the situation, as director Rian Johnson explained, Adam Driver had no problems being shirtless. Said the writer/director,
No, no, he's good. He's great. He knew he looked good.
So apparently the actor had no problems with the scene. And hey, you know when you're in good enough shape to look good shirtless. Being physically fit gives you a certain confidence, and makes you not shy about flaunting it. Of course, the scene in Star Wars: The Last Jedi where Kylo Ren is shirtless isn't about Kylo selling Rey on the dark side with a bathroom selfie: it's about intimacy and establishing the nature of the Force connection. This is just another example of Kylo Ren's shedding of pretense and façade and Rey seeing him as a person and not just a monster. In a classic example of, "if you've got it, flaunt it," Rian Johnson chose to do the shirtless Kylo scene in part due to Adam Driver's physique. As the director explained to Entertainment Weekly,
Adam looks so damn good because he'd been training hardcore for the past six months for those fight scenes. I'm like, 'Eh. He looks so good. We should put him up there.'
Makes sense. Fight training is cardio intensive and will lean you out pretty quick. I suppose for Rian Johnson having an in-shape Adam Driver made the decision to put a shirtless Kylo on screen somewhat easier. No wonder Driver was cool with his shirtless scene after spending six months training for fight scenes. The training also clearly paid off beyond just his Snapchat session with Rey, because two words: THRONE ROOM. The battle in Snoke's throne room was one of the highlights of the film and for my money is probably the most visually stunning and creative lightsaber battles in Star Wars history. Training for that sequence and mastering the choreography had to be quite physical to create the finished product and it sounds like it paid off in more ways than one.