For the past three years I’ve been an avid Star Wars cosplayer. I’m a Clone of the Republic, a Jedi Knight, and I recently became a Bounty Hunter (who hunts clones…go figure right?). Each of these costumes has their own story and uniqueness about them that I love.
I was first introduced to the idea of Star Wars cosplay 10 years ago when I saw the 501st Legion suiting up outside of my Disney work location. Back then, I just thought they were cool and went about my life. After I was married, my husband and I both joked on and off about joining the ranks of the 501st Legion. We did some research and every time we saw what was involved, we ran the other direction.
Several years later, we attended Star Wars Celebration V. I was in awe over the 501st Legion room and the array of clone trooper helmets on display. It was then that I decided come heck or high water, I was going to join up.
After doing my research and talking to some members, I decided on a clone trooper Denal (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, animated series). My favorite part of his armor was the helmet. The custom tear markings made me feel like I could relate to him in a way.
Five months and three clone experts later, I was suited up and ready for my first event. I’ve come a long way since first putting on my bucket and I couldn’t be more proud to serve in my clone. This past year, I was awarded Trooper of the Year in my squad for the hard work and dedication I’ve put into being a member of my squad and garrison. It’s an honor I have hoped for three years to achieve and I was stunned when my squad leader surprised me with it in December.
After finishing my clone trooper three years ago, I swore I wouldn’t do another costume. That didn’t stick long, because the following year, I built my first Rebel Legion only costume, Aayla Secura (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Episode II and III).
It took three months of research, sleepless nights, and constructing to get her ready for Disney’s Star Wars Weekends. The best part of this costume was that I was able to keep it a secret from my entire squad. No one knew what I was making and it drove them nuts that I talked about “Project X” on Facebook and wouldn’t tell them what it was. The day for my big reveal came and everyone was more than generous with their compliments. I became the first Aayla Secura to march in the motorcade at Hollywood Studios as well as the first to pull off a full-body paint job for the event.
In November, I was surprised with a Cad Bane mask. It’s one of the coolest things to end up on my doorstep and I had just the armor to wear it with. You see, Denal was killed by Cad Bane during season two of The Clone Wars. In an effort to escape, Cad Bane stole the armor off of Denal and stowed away on a clone ship. The 501st Legion decided there was sufficient footage of Cad Bane in the armor (and an action figure to boot) to allow it in as an official 501st Legion costume.
I’m the second person in the 501st Legion to be approved in this costume (and the only female).
Cad Bane made his debut at Star Wars Weekends this year and I’m amazed at how many pictures and video I’m finding of him. It was a hot costume to wear, but well worth the reactions I received from the guests.
The funny thing about the costumes I wear is their history with each other. Clone Troopers are known for being good guys…until Order 66 and they murdered all the Jedi (Aayla was killed by her own squadron, the 327th Star Corps.). Cad Bane killed Denal, the clone that I wear. So far, Dave Filoni (director of The Clone Wars) hasn’t killed Cad Bane off and since The Clone Wars was canceled, don’t think he’s going anywhere anytime soon.
Of all three costumes, Denal is my favorite, Aayla is my star, and Cad Bane is my secret weapon. Each has a unique attitude that I get to have fun with. I love that I get hugs from children in all of my costumes and adults appreciate the hard work that goes into building and maintaining them.
Currently, I’m working on another version of Cad Bane and contemplating a custom jedi, both of which I hope to complete by next year.
Would you like to join the ranks of the 501st Legion or the feel the force in the Rebel Legion? Let me know in the comments and I’ll help point you in the right direction. I love helping out fellow cosplayers as much as I enjoy being a cosplayer myself.
Dakster Sullivan is an all-around technology and comic book geek. When she's not at the office being the Network Administrator, she's hanging out with her Minecraft obsessed 8-year old son and magician husband. On the weekends, she enjoys cosplaying for charity with the 501st and Rebel Legion costuming groups. Check her out on Twitter @Dak903