Here’s a bit of much needed feel good news today. After the release of The Rise of Skywalker, a GoFundMe campaign was created in honor of Adam Driver’s character Ben Solo (formerly Kylo Ren) with all proceeds going to Driver’s Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF) organization.

From the GoFundMe page:

Adam Driver’s portrayal of Kylo Ren/Ben Solo has been one of the greatest things to ever happen in the last three movies of the Star Wars saga.

As a way of showing gratitude and appreciation for his hard work and because we believe in the mission of AITAF – using art as a tool to more fully understand ourselves and heal – we at r/StarWarsLeaks have decided to set up this fundraiser.

We know how passionate Adam is about AITAF and hope this feels like a “thank you” hug to him. Well, actually, since Adam doesn’t particularly like hugging, maybe a friendly handshake? A pat on the shoulder? This is hard. Anyway, we hope this shows how much his work impacts people.

If you’ve been on Twitter, then you have seen the divisiveness that has been occurring on “Star Wars Twitter” from the Reylos and the Antis arguing over the Rey and Kylo Ren relationship to the writers, actors, and fans combating each other over story points. But this GoFundMe campaign highlights the wonderful altruistic nature of the Star Wars fandom. This is people coming together through their shared love of a character and showing their deep appreciation by supporting a worthy cause.

If you don’t know about Arts in the Armed Forces, the non-profit organization was founded by Driver “to use the powerful shared experience of the arts to start conversations between military and civilian, service member and family member, the world of the arts and the world of practical action.” The organization sends actors all over the world to perform in front of military personnel and their families. In the past two years they have awarded the Bridge Award to an aspiring playwright within the military. The award consists of a $10,000 prize and an AITAF produced reading of the work.

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Needless to say, this is an exceptional organizational founded by an exceptional actor. It is no wonder that as of this writing 712 people have already donated to the GoFundMe and it has currently raised over $66,000.

On top of that, Adam Driver himself released a personal video thank you via the AITAF Twitter account.

The video explains: 

“I just wanted to say I’ve been made aware of this GoFundMe campaign that was started in honor of the Ben Solo character in The Rise of Skywalker where all the money goes to a non-profit that I started called Arts in the Armed Forces. And it means a whole lot to me that this thing exists and that so many people have participated in it. Not only did you buy a ticket to see the movie, but now you’re also giving money on top of it to this organization that I deeply care about so I just wanted to take a moment, from me to you, and say ‘thank you very much.'”

In addition, actor Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca) issued this challenge: “Fans have raised over $50,000 for Adam Driver’s charity @AITAF. If fans can reach $75,000 in donations via the link in AITAF’s post below, I’ll do the #BenSoloChallenge!

In addition, I’d also like to nominate my good friend @JohnBoyega to join me in doing the Ben Solo Challenge.”

I think we can safely say that we can expect a Chewie Solo Shrug in the days to come.

If you are interested in donating to the cause, you can find the link to the GoFundMe here

Remember everyone: while toxicity in fandoms is sadly very common, there will always be a better side to be seen. We all love of our fandoms, and this proves that we can turn that love into something extraordinarily positive and life-changing.

May the Force be with you, always. 

 

Renee Lopez
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