As we get closer to Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, there's a lot of talk about the villains. There are new bad guys, new stormtroopers, and let us not forget how bad those Imperials are. And if you're a serious Star Wars fan, or nerd in general you've been to plenty of places and have noticed how many Dark Side bad guys are running around out there.
You see them at cons, or sometimes charity functions and ask yourself, how did they get that Stormtrooper to hold a baby, or why is Darth Vader at Toys for Tots? They are the 501st Legion, a world wide Star Wars costuming group who make all of their own uniforms also helps out with charity work where they can.
A worldwide organization,they require all members to produce movie quality, handmade costumes of the bad guys of the Star Wars movies. Due to copyright and manufacturing agreements, no pieces of armor, costumes, or weapons can be purchased. All gear must be made by hand.
A unique aspect of this group is the amount of charity work done by the organization. Over the course of one year's charity work, the organization raised over fourteen million dollars worldwide.
The 501st purpose in my opinion is to represent a majority of Star Wars fans. Each with different backgrounds, race, sex and abilities, adorning a costume that makes them essentially a walking action figure. My reason for joining is for the children and the charitable aspect of the legion. Others troop purely for the chance to play plastic men.
What I enjoy most is the excitement on a child's face (adults too, that look is priceless. Also the fact my identity is hidden under a helmet, I could be a man or a woman..it doesn't matter, I'm playing a character.
A group with thousands of members world wide,it was originally started by a Star Wars fan who had built stormtrooper armor with his friends, and went to entertain his cancer stricken daughter, and the children of the sick ward at his local hospital. Since those beginnings, the 501st has continued to grow. This group counts amongst its honorary members : Kristen Bell, Carrie Fisher, Seth Green, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and Katee Sackoff.
With the love and care that go into their costuming and their charity, these fans are showing they stand tall not only in fandom, but in good works as they do good for others in the name of the Emperor.