Have you ever thought about cosplay? Like really thought about it? About the time and dedication it takes. About the love gone into every costume. About the passion behind the choices. I know I never have. That all changed today.
It was the first day of Wizard World Austin and as a first day it is really slow compared to the second and third days. But today had an awesome panel led by Jason Davis and the 501st of Texas. I have known Jason for a while now and he is an awesome guy. I have run into these 501st peeps all over the place and they make it look so easy. Get a stormtrooper outfit and join the league. But it is more than that. It is not quite as simple as buying a mass produced costume online at Halloween. Each of these, in order to be correct, is made by hand.
It goes far deeper than that. You see, the 501st, and the counter part Rebel Alliance group, mean something. Just to get into the 501st you need to think about the big question – why? Why do you want to dress up as this and what it means to you. In my wildest dreams I would never have thought about it being anything then something cool to do. Like Halloween anyday. Each of those troopers you see up there and in all these events have gone through a growth. Their growth has led them to adopting the persona of their cosplay armor or outfit. They have armor parties (which I equated to a tupperware party) and they really just mesh together for a greater goal. You see, they do charity events. They do what they do for a greater cause, and to me that is just about as noble as you can be. All of these guys have day jobs and still find the time to be there to put a smile on a child’s face. Who doesn’t love Star Wars? Quiet you Trekkies. You don’t count.
Each one of the members has a story. And they love to share the stories they have experienced along the way. It makes me feel humble and it is something to aspire to. We all need to do more good in the world. I loved hearing the story of the Officer who had to figure out how to make his outfit. And you would never know all that went into it cause people like me think you can just run to the store and pick this thing up. But no, there wasn’t even a pattern for this outfit. He used a Civil War uniform as the base. And I had to go look at the hat. I was marveled. And the secrets of the Sandtroopers back pack were revealed. Though to be honest I had most of it figured out already. It’s the artist in me. But still, bravo. And I could go on and on. but it is better to hear these form them, the ones who lived it. Their passion is contagious.
And look at these costumes up close. It’s no mere pin on tail and cat ears. No, it is super detailed, cannon ready (meaning movie accurate) outfits that just wow. We got to hold the guns and look into the armor and I was blown away. I always just took these guys for granted, but I was very wrong. They have a level of dedication to Star Wars I come no where near. I was actually in awe. And they are humble, they are creative, and they love what they do. I had to re-evaluate my entire perspective of cosplay. Real cosplay. It is no wonder I have always talked a big game on what I want to cosplay but never have done it. I need to find the one thing I really, really want to do. I know I am working on my Steampunk persona, but what would I do in the Star Wars universe? I would love to do a clone trooper, but damn I don’t think I could do that. They can’t sit, they have to go through a regiment to just put it on! I could handle being a handler. I think it would be fun to be a Death Star Gunner. I loved that helmet. But I guess at the end of the day I really want to be the Emperor. He was a man gone wrong, and my entire life I have loved that character. He instilled fear and was just the ultimate bad guy. Most of the time he was a mystery but at the end of the day he was a human just like the rest of us. But I don’t see him getting requested too often for a child’s party. Can you imagine that? The Emperor at a kid’s party. Too funny. But I would so love to figure out the make-up and outfit for it. I could pull off a bad ass Emperor. Then again, he ain’t no Death Star gunner. Decisions, decisions.
I learned something today. I learned that I am even prouder to be a Star Wars fanboy cause I am in the best company. People like Jason and these 501st guys make us all look good. And they are so approachable. I got to look inside the helmet and was just wowed. I never would have thought about fans to circulate the air! So hurrah to you 501st. You guys rock. you even let MARS throw in his 2 cents every now and then.