Order 66 is the order that was given by Darth Sidious (the evil ego of Chancellor Palpatine) to the clone troopers to kill the Jedi they had been serving alongside during the Clone Wars. The desolation of the Jedi is one of the most significant events in the Star Wars universe. Obi Wan Kenobi and Yoda famously escaped their own executions, while many younglings and other Jedi were not so lucky. Master Aayla Secura was gunned down by her squadron, Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker) lead the 501st Legion into the Jedi temple to kill everyone they came across, and Master Plo Koon was killed by Captain Jag. It was a dark time for the Jedi—to survive, you had to be good or pretty darn lucky.
The question I have for you is…would you survive? Take my quiz to find out!
From March 21 through March 23, MegaConvention will be taking over Orlando, Florida, in force. With big names like Stan Lee, Zeb Wells (Robot Chicken), Ron Pearlman (Hellboy), John Barrowman (Arrow), Karl Urban (Judge Dredd), Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), James Marsters (Smallville), Rob Paulson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Jim Cummings (Tigger), this is the place to be.
Of course, we all have our own reasons for visiting a convention, so here I present to you the top 10 reasons I’m happily anxious for MegaConvention 2014!
1. Voice Actors Gone Wild! This is a must-see panel and includes some of my favorite voice actors, including Phil Lamarr (Green Lantern, The Daily Show), Rob Paulson (Pinky and the Brain, TMNT), Jennifer Hale (Aayla Secura in The Clone Wars), Jim Cummings (Tigger), and Quinton Flynn (Naruto). In this hour-and-a-half panel, the actors will read the script to Ghostbusters in voices of their own making. After the panel, I’m excited to get some autographs at their table located near the 501st Legion booth.
2. Aayla Secura. Due to the expense of the body paint, I only get to wear my Aayla Secura costume three to four times a year and MegaCon is one of those times. She’s my rock star costume and I’m eager to get airbrushed and suited up as my favorite Twi’lek in the Star Wars universe.
3. Comic Book Creator Lineup. This year, MegaCon is bringing in some of my favorite writers and artists, including Zeb Wells (Marvel’s Nova Now), Mark Waid (Daredevil), Skottie Young (AVX Babies, Oz), George Perez (Superman), and Neal Adams. Each of the these creators is special to me in some way, and I have a modest two items for each of them to sign.
4. It’s Family-friendly. If you’re bringing a little costumer in tow, check out the kids areas this year including thecostume contest, Kid Zone, and Lego pit. I also have it on good authority that the 501st Legion will be showcasing some family-friendly displays and may even let you blast a stormtrooper with a Nerf gun. If you plan on bringing a stroller, I suggest you check out the convention on Friday or Sunday because the crowds won’t be as bad and you’ll be able to swivel in and out a bit easier.
If your child is interested in competing in the costume contest, make sure you hit up the 501st Legion booth first thing, because there are limited spots available.
5. Good Times With Friends. Two years ago, I met two good friends, Bill and Julie, while they were volunteering at the Hero Initiative booth. We talked comics for a bit that day and thanks to Facebook, we were able to become after-con friends. I also have a few friends in the 501st Legion that I only get to see a few times a year, including my best friend and fellow 501st Legion costumer, Mark. We always have the best times when hanging out and I can’t wait to see him again.
6. Artist Alley. This area alone takes me a day to walk and enjoy, because so many talented artists come to display what they have to offer. From crafts to art to independent creator-owned works, I never walk away from Artist Alley disappointed.
7. Comic Book Vendors. Since getting into comic books two years ago, I’ve learned the joy in going through boxes of comics and discovering something new. Sometimes, I’ll run into a creator or fan who will suggest a book and it’s nice to be around so many vendors who might just have the title on hand, and sometimes at a great price.
8. SuperHeroStuff.com. I don’t know about you, but I hate buying clothes online because of the shipping costs. MegaCon is great because it brings one of my favorite vendors, SuperHeroStuff.com, to me. A few of the vendors in the past haven’t been so reliable, so it’s nice to see SuperHeroStuff return with a bundle of goodies to check out.
9. Costumes, Costumes, and More Costumes. This is the place to see and be seen in Orlando, Florida, for costumes. Last year, I saw some amazing cosplayers both young, old, disabled, and some furry with four legs. I can’t wait to see what my fellow costumers bring this year.
MegaCon is family- and stroller-friendly. Tickets start at $25 for a one-day wristband and $60 for three days. Children 10 and under are free with a paying adult, but must be present when the adult purchases their ticket.
In my three years as a 501st / Rebel Legion costumer, I’ve learned there are plenty of awesome things about cosplaying. I’ve trooped over 80 events for charity including a hospital where I was asked to hold up a young child for a photo. I’ve waltzed with little girls in my clone trooper and even though it wore me out, the smile on their face made it worth it. I even had one little girl who was so in love with my clone trooper, she asked an artist at the store that day to draw me for her so she could take me home.
While going through the tedious 45 minute process to get painted up as Aayla Secura for this year’s Star Wars Weekends motorcade in Orlando, Florida, my mind was racing with thoughts of parade anxiety and the after-parade-headache my twi’lek headpiece usually causes. The march only lasts about 15 minutes, so the last thing I expected to walk away with was a memory of a little boy that would stay with me forever.
Once backstage at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studio, I waited anxiously for the parade to start and when the gates finally opened to the crowd, my adrenaline started rushing. After making my first turn onto Hollywood Boulevard, a little boy caught my eye. He had a crocheted Aayla Secura doll and he was happily waving it at me. Since breaking formation to hug him was against the rules, I gave him a big smile and Jedi-like wave.
After the parade, I told everyone about him and his adorable doll. I was so excited that among the thousands of people in attendance, this little boy was one of them.
A week or so later, his father went on the 501st Legion Facebook page looking for me, because his son wasn’t sure I had seen his doll and he wanted to send me a picture. This touched me, not only because this child wanted to find me, but also because his parents took his request to find me seriously.
They could have brushed him off and said they would never locate his Aayla Secura, but instead they reached out and, thanks to Facebook, he was able to find me.
His father and I talked online for a bit and I learned my little fan was 4-year-old Henry. Finally, a name to put with my happy memory that day! The picture he sent me was adorable with Henry holding his Aayla doll and action figure. His blonde hair and big smile melted my heart.
I was so touched by his photo and smiling face, I sent him a package out with a letter thanking him for his picture, and hoped to meet him next year at Star Wars Weekends. In return, I received the most amazing gift: Henry recorded a video message for me. His song touched my heart and reminded me that no matter how short our time with someone is, we can touch them in ways that are unimaginable.
With clothing themes encompassing everything from Battlestar Galactica to Doctor Who, Her Universe is one of my all-time favorite geeky clothing lines! This year at Star Wars Weekends, Ashley Eckstein—the Her Universe founder, as well as the voice of Ahsoka Tano on Star Wars The Clone Wars—debuted some new products that I fell in love with: the X-Wing dress, the Rogue Squadron tank, and an R2-D2 tunic.
One thing to be careful of with this line is the sizing. My dress size is usually a small but because of the waist line on the X-Wing dress, a medium was actually a little hard to slip over my chest. The rest of the dress is designed with a relaxed fit in mind, so if you prefer a more fitted look, feel free to accessorize with an inch-wide belt!
The Rogue Squadron tank top, on the other hand, is 95% cotton and 5% spandex—so the fit is slimming enough for me to wear my normal size.
The R2 tunic, on the other hand, is 100% cotton—so I chose to go one size up for a more comfortable fit.
Each of the items held up well in wash and none of them shrank much, if at all. To keep your other clothes from dripping in Rebel orange, I highly recommend that you use a color-catcher sheet the first few times you wash them. When compared to lines like SuperHeroStuff.com and TeeFury, I found these clothes equally comfy, and also thought that they retained both shape and softness even after a few spins in the washer and dryer.
The prices may seem a bit high ($45.00 for the dress, $40 for the tunic, and $30 for the tank top), but I can assure you that the quality of the clothing line makes this expense worthwhile. I bought one of Her Universe’s shirts at Star Wars Weekends three years ago and it still looks just as good now as it did the day I brought it home!
Now that you know what size to get, how about some ideas on where to don your new attire?
Here are the top 10 places I like to support my favorite rebel flyers (and the spunkiest droid in the galaxy):
1.) Star Wars Weekends:Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida is one of the best times to wear your favorite Star Wars attire. Just watch out for the Jawas. They’ll try to trade you for anything…even the clothes off your back.
3.) Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim: Star Wars is taking California by storm when Star Wars Celebration VII heads to Anaheim, California! Show your support for the Rebel Alliance when you strut your stuff in the sunny state of California, home of LucasFilm and Disneyland.
4.) The opening of the new Star Wars movie! Okay, so this isn’t going to happen until 2015, but who cares? Consider yourself prepared for the first Star Wars film to hit theaters since Episode III in 2005.
5.) The Original Tatooine in Tunisia: It gets hot at the original set location for Episode IV: A New Hope but these clothes will keep you cool. You might not be Hoth cool, but you won’t be fried like Aunt Beru and Uncle Own (too soon?).
6.) Airport: Show the TSA that you support Wookiee rights and proudly display the Rebel Legion moniker. Just be careful about carrying your light saber with you or it might not make it back home.
7.) Backstage at Hollywood Studios: Wait! You’re not a member of the 501st or Rebel Legion? What are you waiting for? You could sport these rebellion-inspiring clothes backstage while prepping to march in the motorcade during Star Wars Weekends. It’s more fun than pod racing (and safer too). On top of that, you get bragging rights for marching in costume down Hollywood Boulevard to the sound of a thousand fans cheering you on. How cool is that?
8.) Star Wars Identities: The Exhibit at the Canadian Air and Space Museum: I don’t live in Canada, but if I did, I’d be heading to this exhibit faster than Jar Jar Binks can get into trouble. I love that they have over 200 costumes, props, models, and other memorabilia on display for fans to drool over (good thing it’s all encased in glass). If you’re able to stop by, check to see if Han is lurking around, and ask him who shot first. He loves that…
10.) Star Wars Reads Day: Show everyone you’re a rebel at heart by sporting your favorite Star Wars rebel attire on Star Wars Reads Day. I’ve heard through secure channels that the Rebel Alliance will be making appearances throughout the galaxy, so hit up your local base to see where you can support them.
Of course, there are more than ten places where you can sport Her Universe clothes—come to think of it…I can’t think of anywhere you can’t!
Disclaimer: GeekMom received a sample for review purposes.
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.
The Galactic Academy is one of the best kept secrets of Star Wars costuming. Dedicated to the fans 17 and under, these costumers are a force to be reckoned with. Unlike their big brother and big sister organizations, The 501st and Rebel Legion, the Galactic Academy does not require screen accuracy to be welcomed in. The only requirement is the child must be under the age of 18 years and own a Star Wars costume of some kind.
Their website describes the life of a cadet as “hard, grueling work. Only the best can even hope to survive the process, but those lucky few will earn their Academy Medals and become the envy of the galaxy.”
Many parents start baby books for their children. Looking at my son’s book, I realized he won’t learn as much about his early years through his baby book as he will through my Facebook page and the posts I’ve written for GeekMom.
The other day at my mom’s house, I discovered my baby book. I’ve never seen it before and she warned me not to be disappointed that it wasn’t filled out completely. Having a son of my own, I completely understand that she only filled it in up to my third year of life.
Most of my life I’ve been the only geek among those I see everyday. As a child, I was usually the only girl in boy-dominated courses and as an adult I’m the only female in my department. I’m also the only geek at my workplace. All of this can make for some lonely days.
The only daughter of three kids (and the middle child at that), I’m the only geek in our family of five. Before I was in high school, I received my first laptop for Christmas and I took it everywhere (even the grocery store). I saved up my allowance for a printer and scanner and eventually my parents bought me a tower PC with a flat screen monitor. When something computer-like broke in my house, I was the one they called to fix it.
So, you want to join the 501st Legion? Well here is the ultimate step-by-step guide to how you too can become one of the members of the fighting 501st. The path of the Empire is a challenging one; it takes time and commitment to completion of a canon costume. You will have moments where you will ask yourself, “What the heck was I thinking?” But in the end, you will feel the pride that comes with completion of an approved build!
3. Look up and attend a 501stevent in your area. Get to know the members and let them get to know you.
Before I started trooping in costume, I attended several events as a non-costumed handler, which involved me helping members get on their costumes, keeping them hydrated, helping with crowd control, etc. This allowed me to gain rapport with my Garrison mates and grow even more appreciated for what they did.
4. Look over the Costume Reference Library for approved costumes. Remember, the 501st legion is only the bad guys! You won’t find Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia as one of your options.
If the Costume Reference Library feels a little overwhelming, don’t feel bad. It’s a lot of anyone to go through. When I first decided to join up, I knew that I wanted to do a character out of Clone Wars the Animated Series. The first thing I did was visit a bookstore and I bought the Star Wars Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia. I found my character on page 53 and I used that as my main reference point for my entire build.
5. Pick a costume to build.
Here are some things to think about when choosing a costume:
How much money are you okay with spending? (Building an approved costume can range from $180 to $3,000 depending on who and what type of materials are used.)
Are you okay with having “impaired” vision / line of sight?
Do you care if you can sit down?
There are several things like impaired vision, movement, and comfort that thousands of members are willing to give up in order to wear their costumes. Personally, my Clone Trooper Denal is restricting in my movements (don’t ask me to run, that’s for sure), but I’ve learned my limits and I don’t even notice it anymore.
6. Visit your local Garrison’s website and sign up for the forum.
7. Visit the detachment that is affiliated with your costume and sign up for the forum (you can locate this by looking at the Costume Reference Library of your chosen costume).
8. Introduce yourself to your future legion brothers and sisters. Let them know what costume you are interested in and what you are looking forward to.
In my original intro, I told everyone I wanted to build an Animated Captain Rex and participate in Star Wars Weekends. My future squad mates told me that was impossible and if that was why I was building a Rex, I needed to switch gears (Disney supplies their own Rex for that event and I would not have been allowed to march). Thanks to their advice, I changed my build to an Animated Clone Trooper Denal and I participated in every Star Wars weekend in 2011.
It’s also a good idea at this point to find out who your Garrison Membership Liaison (GML) is. Talk to them throughout your build and get their insight to make sure you are on the right track for approval.
9. Ask questions and listen to the advice of the Garrison members. They were once in your shoes and will help you out!
10. Research your costume and the cost involved. Before you buy anything, make sure you consult your local Garrison mates. They know who and what to avoid in certain costume builds.
11. Start getting to work on your build. Attend armor parties in your area and get it done! Be patient though. Some builds can take as little as a few days (Tusken and Jawa) or as many as a couple of years (Bounty Hunter). It’s a good idea to post up pictures on the forums and show off your progress.
The thing to remember is to not stray from official references. Looking at other costumes is fine, but put your main focus on official references. Over the years, certain costumes have had their CRL changed so what one person was approved under might not be approvable anymore. A good example of this is Jango Fett. At one point, you could be approved in Jango Fett with a black or grey vest and now to get approved it has to be grey.
If you have an idea that you think could improve the functionality of your build, don’t be afraid to try it. Just because you haven’t seen a member do it yet, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. A good example is when I was working on my clone trooper. I was extremely dissatisfied with the shoes. I was given instructions to purchase brown loafers and spray paint them white. Naturally, the paint would crack off and it was a constant process to keep them looking good. I set out to find a pair of white leather shoes that had the same shape as my character. I found some on the internet and gave them a shot. In the end, they not only passed but now other people are following my example and getting the same shoes for their builds.
13. After you have your costume ready, go to the main 501st website to apply for membership. Your GML will contact you for photos of your build after they receive your application.
14. Sit and wait for your approval.
If you don’t get in on the first try, don’t get discouraged! Make the changes they request and resubmit. Some costumes are known for being more difficult to get through approval. My husband had to submit his Jango Fett three times before it was approved.
I look back at my first build and I realize just how much I learned from the experience. My 6-year old son has started to build costumes of his own by watching mommy and daddy and taking notes on how to do it himself. My husband and I both have learned important lessons from our builds, including how to have more patience and ask ourselves “What would MacGyver do?”
I felt bad for Richard Hatch because he really wasn’t feeling well on Saturday. He was still a really nice, down to earth guy and it was really cool talking to him. To top it off, yes ladies he looks just as good off screen as he does on screen.
On Saturday, I followed some of the legion around and took pics, but for the most part everyone was there for only one reason…Patrick Stewart. The line for autographs extended almost into the hotel lobby and the line for photos was almost extended into the autograph line. People lined up for hours for a thirty second meet and greet of a lifetime.
The vendor room was small but mighty. There were vendors selling everything from cosplay merchandise to science fiction movie toys. I bought a Gremlin for my desk and a picture of Patrick Stewart. One of our legion members was a vendor so we stopped by to say hi. His booth neighbor just happened to be in the 501st Great Lakes Garrison.
A friend and fellow legion member was kind enough to help me get a Patrick Stewart autograph ticket. After lunch we bummed over to the line and waited for over an hour. Once I got up to Patrick Stewart I was so star struck I just gave him my picture and said thank you. After we got our autographs we took charge of the table and let everyone else go and experience the convention. The Imperial Officer (Gaines Tidwell) decided to throw us a curve ball and transformed into Indiana Jones. His outfit was great and added a little more confusion to the convention. Later we caught him and a Jawa fighting over the candy and cookies we had on the table.
There were some panels going on, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t go. I was more interested in taking pictures of the celebrities and looking at the vendors. I stopped into the panels a few times and it was pretty quiet. A nice change to the overcrowded panel rooms of Megacon and DragonCon.
On Sunday, my husband and son tagged along and that was when the real fun began. I suited up in my Clone and took to the con. The photographer for Patrick Stewart was kind enough to let me use his room to suit up in. It takes 2 people to suit me up and about 10 minutes. My husband is a huge help with my speaker / mic system and putting together my gun. My son likes to hand me each piece as I need it and its nice to have his participation as well. Trooping has become a family activity that we all enjoy. Before we left the room the photographer asked to take some pictures of me on the backdrop he was using for Patrick Stewart. The pictures turned out amazing! I walked out of the room and took charge of the area. I really enjoy putting on my clone because it brings out all the things about me that I cannot seem to pull out without its help.
Our first stop was the autograph room. As we walked back the line for Patrick Stewart’s photo opp, I turned to the line and yelled “Is this the line for Mark Hamill?” Some of the remarks I got were simply “Nope, Patrick Stewart.” Another guest yelled back “Wrong movie. Come on over here, we will convert you.” We thought otherwise.
We moved on into the autograph room and that is where the real excitement started. Imagine this…a room full of celebrities…and you’re the one with the line! The moment I walked into that room, people were coming up to me for pictures. I even saw a little girl dressed as Padme (at this point I feel it necessary to remind you I was at a Star Trek convention).
Kevin and I were in there for at least an hour. I chatted with Phil Morris (Smallville) who said my costume was the best he has ever seen (my confidence grew x 100). My husband was in awe of Morris because he loves all things Smallville.
My son, Brandon, six years old, was in love with one of the authors. The moment he saw her, he fell in love. When she was setting up her table he asked her to share her snack and then he walked in between the tables to give her a bug hug. Unfortunately, I did not catch her name, but I know my son captured her heart. I don’t know why he fell in love, but she welcomed the hugs with open arms. When he was walking the autograph tables with Daddy, Armin Shimerman (Star Trek: DS9) signed a trading card for him. My husband was grateful for the autograph and I later took him one of my own trading cards as a thank you.
The line for Patrick Stewart was next to nothing so I was told I could jump in and say hi. Since I was in my clone, I wasn’t so scared and jumped in. When I finally got up to him, I said hi. He replied “Whoa you’re scary. I want to see you without the helmet.” I have a saying that when Captain Picard asks you to do something, you do it. I lifted up my helmet so he could see my face (but in a way that any kids around could not) “Ohh very pretty. Much better. You don’t need the helmet.”
Confidence boost x 1000.
We left the room to get our fellow legion members and when returned, we were the hit of the party.
Jewel Staite was a gem and even came out from her table to take pics with all of us. She made Gaines day when she took a really neat picture with him. She made his year with this picture!
I am very proud of my legion family.
This was our first visit to Vulcan Events and I have to say it’s a definite must do troop next year. The celebrities were all down to earth and friendly. My son definitely gave us all some laughs. The people that we as adults were star struck over, my son just saw normal people that he wanted to play with. The convention was nothing like what I have experienced at other events. It was very down to earth and laid back. A big thanks to Vulcan Events for inviting the 501st legion. Our presence excited some of the visitors and confused others. Mission Complete!!