In Orlando, it’s a mouse who runs all the shots. At ThinkGeek’s headquarters in Virginia, it’s a monkey named Timmy. Since August 13th, 1999, he’s been the resident codemonkey and pretty much calls the shots around the office. Anyone who dares disobey him better be prepared to take a shower, because poo will be flung. And as the company mascot and overlord, Timmy is a monkey of many faces, most of them, as you’d imagine, quite geeky.
Now, like any geek, Timmy enjoys going to cons, hanging out with fellow geeks, meeting celebri-geek heroes, and of course, indulging in cosplay. With first class plane tickets to any con he wishes, Timmy is a virtuoso of cosplay. But how does he do it?
To help get him ready, Timmy’s Volunteer Costuming Corps are there to make sure he never goes out in the same costume twice. Every costume Timmy is photographed in is the handy work of a member of the Volunteer Costume Corps. The program started three years ago and since then, Timmy’s closet has been bursting at the seams with over 100 costumes.
The skill and detail of these outfits are amazing!
The costumes in Timmy’s closet range from the 10th Doctor’s scarf to Chell’s jumpsuit and Portal Gun to a mind-blowing detailed Fallout ensemble with a working Pip Boy. No matter the occasion, Timmy has a costume that will fit the bill.
Timmy’s next major con appearance will be at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, Fl (August 23rd – August 26th). In true Star Wars form, Timmy will be sporting his Stormtrooper costume! This will also be Timmy’s first appearance at a Star Wars Celebration, so don’t miss it.
Ian Keisacker has been a fan of Star Wars since he was a small youngling.
On night in 2009 there was a disturbance in the force. Ian woke up around 4:30am screaming of a headache and within a half hour he became unresponsive.
His parents rushed him to the ER and within 30 minutes he was in surgery. Seven hours later, the neurosurgeon, Dr. Abbassi, removed a 5cm tumor from the back of Ian’s head. He told Ian’s parents that if they had waited any longer, he would not have survived. The next day, to get his spirits up, his parents told him the doctors had discovered that he had a higher midi-chlorian level than Yoda or Anakin.
The day after surgery, the hospital ran tests and discovered that Ian had an abnormal tumor. To keep his spirits up, while he was in the hospital, his classmates from the Holy Spirit Catholic School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, made him over 200 Star Wars cards to hang in his room. Within seven days Ian was no longer in intensive care and on February 14th, he was well enough to go home.
The fight was far from over. Ian still had to visit the Mayo clinic for radiation treatments. Before he could get his treatments, Ian had to have a special port inserted in him. To help make the port placement easier, his parents showed him pictures of C-3PO with his “restraining bolt”. They told Ian that he was going to get something like it to help him and make things easier. For the remainder of his therapy, Ian always referred to it as his C-3PO Port.
While going through his radiation, he loved watching movies, but the Star Wars films were always a hit. While staying at the Ronald McDonald house, their room was decked out in posters, blankets, toys and other Jedi necessities. One of the anesthesiologists even had a lightsaber app that he let Ian customize his own lightsaber on.
By the end of his treatment, Ian had gone through 32 radiation sessions. After his radiation was complete, the hospital gave him a month off and then it was on to a full year for chemotherapy. All that time, Ian’s parents used his love of Star Wars to keep him strong. Using references from the Star Wars universe to help explain to him what was happening.
During his chemo and radiation, he was asked to be the honored child for the St. Baldricks fundraiser in Sioux Falls. The 501st legion provided the security detail. It was at this event that his father first learned about the 501st legion from Jamie Ladonski, one of Ian’s Storm Trooper guards.
In June 2009, Ian was given a trip to Disney World by the Make-A-Wish foundation. His favorite part was getting have a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader! Ian was able to have a meet in greet with Clone Wars director Dave Filoni, the voice of Asoka; Ashley Eckstein, and Captain Typho himself; Jay Lag’aia. Overall, the Disney employees and Make-A-Wish did a phenomenal job at making it a dream come true.
In April of 2010, Ian completed his Chemo and his “C-3PO” port was removed. All the tests showed he was cancer free!
Today, Ian is 9 years old and 3 years cancer free! His love of Star Wars continues to grow as well as his love of helping others. After losing his hair so often in therapy, Ian now enjoys having his head shaved so he can be a young Savage Opress at 501st events. He loves to troop alongside his father and their 501st legion squad.
Ian and his family are walking in St. Baldricks event for the 3rd year in a row. It It will be Ian’s third year shaving his head at an event that is set up to honor him as well as those with cancer.
Wow! Megacon was amazing this year. We arrived on Friday and like most conventions it was relatively slow for a while. We were able to comfortably walk the vendors and artist tables. There was an endless supply of vendors selling everything from costumes to used toys.
With over 50 troopers in attendance the 501st legion had a very strong presence this year. The booth showcased some of the finest helmets in the legion as well as some of the various costumes worn by members. Backdrops and weaponry were also on display, all built by fellow members of the FLG.
Along with a booth showcasing some of the best the Florida Garrison has to offer, we also hosted Shoot a Storm Trooper. For $1 anyone could shoot a 501st legion trooper with a Vulcan Nerf gun. For $5 we handed them the Rambo of all nerf guns. By the end of the weekend we raised $1,500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. The kids and adults had a blast and some even came back for 2nds, 3rds, and 4th rounds.
I also got the chance to meet two guys from Ghost Hunters International. My husband was totally star struck and almost didn’t talk to them. He finally got up the nerve to talk to them and learned a few things. Later, while in our costumes, we went back and got our pictures taken with them. They even asked if they could take a picture with our buckets (helmets) on.
My husband enjoyed going to the Ghost Hunters International and Star Trek Voyager panels. The rooms were large enough to hold the crowds and the timeframe was just long enough to keep me from looking at my watch. Personally I preferred the DC Comics panel (talk about feeling like a fish out of water). The DC panel was my first panel at Megacon and it was pretty interesting.
The highlights of my weekend were getting to meet Dan Didio (Co-Publisher of DC Comics) and Tony Bedard (DC Comics artist and writer). It was fun talking “newbie” comic shop with both of them.
My son Brandon (6 years old) had a blast while Shooting the Storm Trooper but other than that he wasn’t really interested in his surroundings. We managed to find a toy from the “Cut the Rope” game and an Angry Bird he didn’t already have that made his day. By 3pm on Sunday my son and I were ready to head home. My husband admitted that he could stay forever, but realized it was time to head back to reality.
All in all we had a blast. The costumes were amazing all three days. My favorite costumes were Iron Man and the Gundam. I’m still on cloud nine about getting my New 52 Justice League signed by Tony Bedard and getting my picture taken with Dan Didio. It was a great weekend and can’t wait to go again next year.
Some people dreamed of growing up to be a storm trooper and some of us actually made it there. Since February 2011, I have been a proud and active member in the 501st Legion also known as Vader’s Fist.
The 501st legion is a worldwide professional costuming club that specializes in the “bad guys” of the Star Wars universe. We never charge for appearances and have shown up to everything from charity walks to formal weddings. In the past 12 years, the 501st Legion has grown to more than 5,000 active members worldwide.
As stated in Article 1 of the Legion Charter, “…The Legion is an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work…”
There is no cost involved in applying or staying active in the legion. The bare requirements are being at least 18 years of age and owning a movie quality costume from one of the Star Wars films. The legion also accepts costumes from the expanded universe such as the books and video games. For a complete listing of costumes currently accepted by the legion, take a look at the visual guides.
To get into the legion is no laughing matter and for some it takes years of blood, sweat, tears and financial planning. My husband, Brian, has been working on a Jango Fett for the past year and he is still not done yet. Others have it a little easier and complete their builds (costume) in a matter of months. My animated clone trooper build took 5 months. With the expertise and guidance of Zach Winnermark, Dave Young and Shawn Oudit of the Florida Garrison, my clone trooper Denal was brought to life.
Since, I first received my helmet, it has been an adventure. I have learned patience, confidence and most of all I have made lasting friendships and touched the lives of children and adults. There is nothing like stepping out and seeing the look of amazement on a child’s face. It’s great to see the adults jumping up and down at our arrival as well.
Marching in parades is a fun past time of many troopers. Some parades we can be a little more relaxed and have fun with the spectators. In other parades we are instructed to act as a military unit (no waving or interaction with spectators). When the legion was invited to participate in the Rose Bowl parade in 2007, George Lucas was very specific on how he wanted everyone to look. To achieve a military look, he had all 200 legion members participating work with military drill instructors for 2 days.
For other events, such as Star Wars weekends at Hollywood Studios – Orlando, Florida, we might get together and decide to go military or just wing it. It takes a lot of skill and practice to pull it off.
My 6 year old son tells everyone that his mommy is a clone trooper. While marching in the motorcade during Star Wars weekends, I saw him jumping up and down from the side lines yelling “Mommy!” Sometimes he suits up as Captain Rex and troops alongside me. He is also very quick to correct people when they call me a storm trooper.
Conventions are another fun thing we participate in. There are many throughout the world that we attend. My home town favorites are Megacon, Dragoncon, Vulcan Events: Away Mission Orlando and Star Wars Celebration. Suiting up for these events is sometimes half the fun. At Megacon this past year I suited up in my hotel across the street and walked all the way into the convention center and then some to get to our booth. My total time suited up ended up being around four and half hours. It’s also interesting to see others have fun with their costumes and not always go movie accurate at events. My husband, for
example, only had his Jango Fett helmet completed around Megacon, so he improvised and trooped along side me as “Mob Boss Jango”.
Some of my favorite moments include talking to others while suited up. The first reaction of most people after hearing my voice is usually “it’s a girl!” One mom in an effort to explain why I sounded like a girl to her children said I was Princess Leia in disguise. My reaction is usually to laugh, but inside I’m proud. I worked hard to get to the moment of stepping out in front of the crowds and serving the empire and I hope to continue for a long time.
For more information and to find your local 501st garrison, please visit www.501st.com
Have you had a run in with the empire? Share your stories with us in the comment section.