This weekend marks my seventh year as a member of the 501st Legion. I remember it very clearly, I was so happy to have finished my armor after nearly 3 months of working on it. I suited up fully, made sure everything was where it was supposed to be, took my pictures and submitted them to my local Garrison’s membership officer. A short time later I received the email that said I had been approved. I was now TK-5990, a Stormtrooper of the 501st Legion.
It’s funny to looking back to where Star Wars was at in 2008. Clone Wars was just about to premiere, but there was no indication we would ever get another film. Honestly, I thought I was joining the club after everything had peaked and I would have a fun ride until Star Wars disappeared from the pop culture landscape like it had in the dark times of the 80’s.
I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong.
I have two approved costumes with the 501st. My Stormtrooper armor, due to age and the number of modifications and repairs I’ve done over the years, has been converted into a Sandtrooper. I recently made a second costume, a reserve TIE Pilot/Imperial Crewman. I needed something that could travel better for flying out to Star Wars Celebration in August, so I went with a soft goods uniform. It is nice to be able to sit down in costume. Both of these costumes are from the Original Trilogy.
The majority of the costumes in the 501st Legion come from the Original Trilogy era. There has always been a worry with members that kids would not recognize the classic characters as the original films got older, and they would only recognize the newer characters from the Prequel Trilogy and newer materials. However, this has not been the case. Darth Vader and Boba Fett continue to dominate the photo opps at nearly every event. Kids consistently recognize the classic Stormtrooper. I’ve heard kids correcting others that mistakenly call us Clonetroopers. The Rebels TV show definitely helps to increase the visibility of the Original Trilogy era costumes as well.
Star Wars has shown us all that it will not go quietly into the night. Events like San Diego Comic-con and Star Wars Celebration show how relevant Star Wars continues to be. I can’t fathom Star Wars ever disappearing from the pop culture landscape.
Seven years later and I am having more fun than ever trooping. Being a part of the 501st has given me so many fun experiences and opportunities. Here’s hoping for another seven years and beyond.