This year at Star Wars Weekends, the 501st and Rebel Legion raised the bar.
Not only did we have our usually turnout of amazing costumes, but we also had some first time costumes. As one member put it, “We showed Disney that we can do more than robes and armor.” As a proud member of both the 501st and Rebel Legion, I would like to show them off. I know these members worked really hard on their costumes and making it to Star Wars Weekends was a huge accomplishment for them.
This year I marched as Aayla Secura and it was an amazing journey from start to finish. The days I marched in my Jedi are by far my favorite of any this year. I’d been toying with the idea of building a female costume to give me a break from my clone for a while now. What attracted me to her the most was her look and attitude. She also appeared to be a pretty easy build (FYI, I was wrong…). The one thing I didn’t expect was all the attention I received.
It wasn’t until after we were at Star Wars Weekends that I found out not only was my costume a first for the event, but it was also the first time any member had attempted a body paint job like mine for the march. This costume took three months to go from idea to approval, and then several other people to help make it happen each time I marched. I felt like I had my own little pit crew following me around. It was a lot of work, but in the end I am really proud to say I am the first Aayla Secura to march in Star Wars Weekends.
Everybody loves Chewbacca, but how about we give some love to another wookiee: Tarfful! This full scale wookie is the work of Jason Rucci.
Rucci explains: “I began project wookiee in June of 2010. Due to nearly nothing of the costume existing as a kit anywhere, I had to sculpt and create nearly every single piece of this costume. I completed Tarfful in January of 2012. The hair suit was latch hooked in two months and took a total of 900 working hours to complete from start to finish. After wearing a Chewbacca suit that a squad mate owned, I was hooked immediately.
“I thought that having two Chewbaccas would be unnecessary. So I chose the next most popular wookiee, Tarfful. Since then it really has grown on me. I like him more now that I do Chewie. I would like to thank Ryan Hicks for his help with the dred locks. He figured out how to make them and made a set for me. Without them my suit would be very much incomplete. I have to say that the best part about marching this costume was the feeling of awe that I got from the crowd. Wookiees are rare costumes. There are about fifty (give or take a few) of them world wide. So it’s not something that people see all the time. There are only four Tarffuls that I am aware of at this time, making this one even rarer. It was just amazing to see peoples’ reactions to all my hard work!”
Todd Erdman marched as a Sky Trooper from the Star Tours ride. He had this to say about his unique build: “At Star Wars Weekends 2012, I was the first to ever march in Star Tours’ very own Sky Trooper. I knew I wanted to do this costume from the moment I saw it on the new Star Tours ride.
“To see these Stormtroopers hover down next to Vader was an amazing sight. The build itself took me just a little over three months and it was one of my proudest moments revealing a new costume to the crowd of fans lining the streets of Hollywood Studios! On top of this, my Sky Trooper is only the second one ever to be approved in the 501st Legion.”
Terry Becker marched as Mon Mothma from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. She explained the story behind the costume: “This costume of Mon Mothma from Revenge of the Sith, was from the deleted scene in Padme’s apartment. Mon Mothma is one of the key senators who helped in forming the Rebel Alliance. Star Wars Weekends was the debut of this costume after two months of work in getting the wool/rayon blend fabric etched so it would look like the felted wool used in the original costume.
“Randy, Commanding officer of the Florida Garrison, hoped for a prequel collection of costumes and that inspired me to do this version of her costume. While it is a very warm costume to debut at this event (for a Northerner) the best part of doing it in the Star Wars Weekends parade was all the appreciation of all my work by FLG, Rakura, NEG, Alderaan, and the parade commentators. I was humbled by the compliments.”
Michael Lawton debuted his ARC trooper, Commander Blitz. He was also one of three members of the 327th to march this year. Michael (aka Chex) had this to say about his latest build: “Commander Blitz was a clone on Kamino who helped train potential ARC troopers. Little else is known about him. I enjoy trooping in him because he’s different from all others. You don’t see too many clones in yellow, let alone yellow with a diamond pattern on his kama.
“I like trooping as him, because he’s unique. There’s only three approved in the legion, mine being the third. Shout outs go to Zack W. for all the help getting him assembled, and with sewing my kama for me. Andy E. gets much props for the helmet, and Kevin W. and Steelblitz get mad props for the armor and accessories they put out to complete it. The best part about marching in Blitz, is that it’s a costume that’s not like all the others. Sometimes it’s good to be different.”
Ryan Tigg marched in two costume firsts this year. The first to be debuted was his incinerator trooper, he explained: “The incinerators are traditional stormtroopers with a red and white paint scheme from the video game ‘the force unleashed’ and they carry plasma/flamethrowers. It took me between two and three months to finished this costume was approved as a centurion, the highest level of rank you can reach in the 501st.”
The second costume he debuted was Obi-Wan Kenobi from season four of Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. He said, “I’d like to thank Shannon Opiela for helping me sew the tunic (the top half of the costume) for this costume. One reason I chose to do this face costume is I resemble him from the cartoon. The best part about marching in the parade, no matter what character or costume you’re wearing, is when you walk through the front gates. There are thousands of people screaming for you, and you get to hear all the kids saying ‘Obi-Wan over here’ — that sort of thing — and they get to take a picture of you. It really makes their day and makes mine, too.
Mark Johnson was the first to march as Sgt. Sinker and ARC Trooper Echo from Star Wars: The Clone Wars the animated series. He explained, “Sgt. Sinker is a member of the Wolf Pack led by Jedi General Plo Koon. First of all, I want to thank Dave Y. and Zach W. for helping put together both Sinker and my ARC Trooper Echo. Sinker took roughly two months to build, working on it a few days a week.
“The ARC costume was a little bit longer. About four months working off and on a few days a week. The children recognize the clones because of the popularity of the animated series. I love all of the unique parts the ARC trooper has and the different paint schemes the Wolf Pack has. I saw many kids during the parade exclaim to their friends and parents, ‘There’s the Wolf Pack!’ That was really cool to see. Our characters have been a part of The Clone Wars for four season’s now.”
The Commanding Officer of the Florida Garrison, Randy Herman, marched in ARC Trooper Fives. This costume is from season 3 of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Similar to Sgt. Sinker, Fives is also a member of the 501st Legion and serves alongside Captain Rex and Anakin Skywalker.
Randy had this to say about his latest build: “To help me build this character, I used HD screen captures from The Clone Wars animated series. With HD now easier to use, it’s probably the best reference out there. Nothing can beat what’s actually on the screen and the detail in HD is amazing. I’d also like to give a shout out to master cloner Zach Winnermark in lending his expertise.”
This is just a small sampling of what the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion brought to Star Wars Weekends this year. With each year, the members kick it up a notch and bring to Disney the best they have to offer.
I can’t wait to see what he have to show off next year. After all, we only have roughly 314 days until we march again.