As the dust settles on 2016, there are many memes to remember and many memes to look forward to in 2017. Whether they are political, pop cultural, or just downright weird, there’s no question that memes will define much of next years cultural conversation while providing laughs to a country that no longer chuckles together. But who will star in these memes? While it is — on some level — impossible to know, it is — on a deeper level — fairly easy to predict the rise of specific individuals based on what we’ve seen recently.
There will be political memes (so long Joe Biden), pop culture memes (so long Kermit), and memes disseminated in support of white supremacism (ugh). There will also be new faces and new faces that become new icons and new icons that become the basis for a major motion picture — well, maybe.
Here’s who to watch in 2017 …
The 2016 presidential election was jam-packed with memes based off of politicians, whether it was Bill Clinton’s unadulterated love for balloons or practically whenever Donald Trump said anything. It’s undeniable that the president-elect will be fuel for masses of memes, but also joining him will probably be Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. His workout photos were thirsted after back in 2012. As he finds himself in politically untenable situations, look forward to some cringe shots.
Tom Holland’s appearance as Spider-Man in the Captain America: Civil War trailer caught him in a web of hilarious Vines. If just a sighting in a teaser could spark such a trend, then the actual movie will definitely supply superhero and meme fans with enough to crack some jokes about Holland’s version of Peter Parker. Spider-Man: Homecoming doesn’t sling into theaters until July, but any buzz leading up to the movie will give some fodder for the internet to work with. Teens love teens.
This is the best bet. Rihanna is always being made into a plethora of memes. This year she became a Pokémon gym trainer and had to suffer through ridiculous edits of her songs. No matter what Rihanna does, whether it’s continuing to be the diva of 420 or coming out with a new banger, everyone knows it’s going to end up as the basis of a hilarious tweet.
Obviously the entire Trump family will be roasted in the years to come, but there’s something so singular about the lesser-talked about Trump scion — and that’s what makes her so captivating to the internet. Just this past month, rumors of Tiffany possibly attending Harvard Law School spurred hilarious comparisons to Legally Blonde. And the 22-year-old’s 2011 pop single “Like a Bird” resurfaced much to the internet’s enjoyment. While most eyes will be on her father and how he steers American politics, Tiffany will also have people watching her in an entire different way.
Facebook continues to be a major news topic, with extra scrutinization as of late for the social network’s role in the election results. Mark Zuckerberg is always an easy person to talk about since pretty much everyone’s on Facebook in one way or another. The continued discussions about tech companies like Facebook will undoubtedly produce jokes about Zuckerberg himself.
Every now and then there comes a Netflix show that the internet falls head over heels for. Stranger Things was one of the hottest series of 2016. On top of being an extremely fun watch, there was an avalanche of memes poking fun at Eleven’s obsession with Eggos, Joyce’s communication with her missing son via Christmas lights, and more. The upcoming A Series of Unfortunate Events has considerable buzz surrounding it. It’s the perfect storm for a meme hurricane: reeking with nostalgia, a Netflix property, and a loony antagonist by the way of Count Olaf played by Neil Patrick Harris. Tumblr is going to have a field day with the villain of many faces once the show finally drops.
Japan is already captivated by the manga based on Barron Trump. And on Election Night, the tiny Trump’s tiredness was a brief moment of hilarity in the middle of a depressing speech. Anything Barron does will surely be viral gold — that is, if Melania lets him into the spotlight at all.
Every Super Bowl halftime show throws the internet into a frenzy. There was the return of Destiny’s Child and of course Katy Perry’s best friend, Left Shark. This past year, Lady Gaga’s delivery of the National Anthem was enough to provoke a slew of memes. With her being the actual halftime performer for 2017, the internet better be prepared to go into complete madness with whatever the singer cooks up.
Here’s another pop culture character who’s likely to become the internet’s robot boyfriend/girlfriend. Alpha’s redesign for the upcoming Power Rangers reboot movie was already roasted when pictures of the lovable robot were released. He may look awful compared to the original version, but we’re just really hoping he still has his classic “aye-aye-aye” freak outs which will definitely morph him into an internet fave from the movie.
And of course, many more random teens will join the ranks of Damn Daniel and Peaches Monroe as influential meme all before the legal drinking age. Who will it be this year? A surfer adolescence interacting with a sea creature somewhere in California? Or the creator of another viral movement akin to the Mannequin Challenge? We can’t be completely sure which teen will make it big as a meme, but we can be sure that one will skyrocket into 2017 meme-dom.
Photos via Getty Images / Win McNamee, Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images / Zach Gibson,Bryan Bedder/Getty Images,Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images