When I was fifteen years old, I was at a lock in event with my church youth group, and someone brought Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope for us to watch. It was the special edition version and was relatively new at the time, which I’m sure is some sort of indication of my age now. Anyway, since then, I have been a very big Star Wars fan, so it was a big deal for me when The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilms, Limited last year. How could it not be awesome for two of my absolute favorite things to join forces?
So, I’m sure you have some sort of a clue as to how much a truly love all things Disney, but I haven’t been as vocal about my Star Wars fandom. After that night, I went home and found some copies of the next two movies so I could find out what happened next. After that, I made sure I was at the theatre when all three prequels opened, and I’m sure my husband and I will be there when Episode VII opens next year. When I was a senior in college, I started reading Star Wars books, and got very involved in the Expanded Universe. I could read the X-wing series over and over again without getting tired of it. I celebrated with my favorite characters when there were victories, marriages, and new children, and cried when their friends and family died. I may have gotten a bit too attached to some of the characters, but I don’t care. I’m not saying that every book was great, because there was definitely a stretch of bad books, but the majority of them are entertaining and give the reader what they want.
As time went on, I also started investing in Star Wars Legos, and they are currently taking up quite a bit of space in my guest room, and I don’t care because they are awesome. In fact, my Lego Death Star was a birthday gift from my husband before I dragged him into my fandom. It wasn’t long before he started reading the books, too and we started passing them back and forth and impatiently waiting for the other to finish whatever was newest. He finally passed me a few years ago when he decided to become a costumer. He chose to join the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club because they are a custom club and there is a bit more freedom allowed with their costumes than some of the other groups that accept screen accurate costumes.
Now, we are both doing it. I finally gave in about a year after he started costuming and built my own. I am also a Merc, and it is just as much fun as he made it out to be. So, why do we do it? That is the most commonly asked questions when it comes to any costumers, but with Star Wars costumers being so prevalent, we get the question the most. The answer is simple, and is why I agreed when George Lucas said that Disney was the perfect home for Star Wars. Kids. Our club alone has raised thousands of dollars for our charity, Little Warriors, International, to benefit under privileged kids. The 501st and Rebel Legions put their money toward the Make a Wish Foundation. On top of the money raised, members put in the time to just say hi, pose for pictures, or whatever we can to put a smile on a kid’s face.
So what’s next for us? May 4th, better known as Star Wars Day for us, is coming up and costumers around the world will be going out to have some fun. My husband and I will be headed to a kids’ science museum near us while others will be visiting libraries, or other events celebrating Star Wars. Free Comic Book Day is that same weekend, so the Star Wars fans will be out in full force that whole weekend. Long term, we’ll also be heading out to Anaheim for Celebration, the Star Wars convention, next year. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how much fun we have. Feel free to join us!
All photos were taken by Matt Zeher of Zeher Photography. He has given us permission to use these photos. All are photos of members of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club.