One of the questions Tricia asked the panelists during the From A Certain Point of View panel was what we most enjoyed about Star Wars. Before Celebration Anaheim, I had a fairly stock answer: the movies, of course, especially IV, V, VI; some of the EU novels, especially Timothy Zahn’s; playing SW:TOR; and the interesting people I’ve met. What I realized at the convention was that really, truly, what I love most about Star Wars are the other fans.
I met quite a few interesting people at Celebration Anaheim, and in this series of posts I would like to share their stories with you.
Anaheim was my second Celebration, Orlando in 2012 being my first. Celebration VI was my second con and the biggest con I’d ever attended. It was completely overwhelming. Because I had a better idea of what to expect, and because I’ve been involved in the Star Wars community for longer now, Anaheim seemed more accessible to me, while at times still overwhelming. In particular, I was much more open to all the fascinating stories surrounding me.
That’s why I knew as soon as Paul Marino started talking about Boba Fett that I wanted to interview him for FANgirl. Paul is a former colleague of Drew Karpyshyn and I was having lunch with Drew and some of his friends. Paul mentioned his Boba Fett costume and I was fascinated. I had seen the original costume when it was at the Tech Museum in San Jose, California, and even then the details of that particular costume were riveting – the scratches, the Wookiee fur, the casings. It was far richer than just the impression I had of it from the movies. So when Paul started telling me he had to find old scuba gear to complete the costume, and how heavy the costume is, I knew I wanted to learn more. Paul was gracious enough to share his experience.
- Was this your first Celebration?
This was my second! My first was in 2012 – Celebration VI in Orlando. There was a different vibe between both events, but they were both great in their own way.
- What did you enjoy the most at Celebration Anaheim? The least?
The most: While some of the big panels were fantastic – Abrams’ panel & trailer reveal, Hamill & Fisher interviews – I most enjoyed connecting with other fans who love Star Wars as much as I do. There’s nothing like chatting with someone who shares the same eyes for detail and same heart for the universe.
The least? I’m going go out on limb here and say the queuing for the larger panels. While the organizers were doing their best to keep things under control, there were a number of times I stood in a queue for an hour or more, only to find out that we weren’t getting in. By Saturday, I gave up on anything that sounded large where we didn’t show up two hours in advance.
- How did you get into Star Wars?
Funnily enough, on May 25, 1977, my brother and I convinced my dad – read: cried and whined as only young boys can – to take us to see a midnight screening of Star Wars. We were so taken by the film that we went back to see it another 39 times before it left the theater. From there, we ate up everything that had to do with Star Wars – toys, magazines, trading cards, etc. – and eventually started making my own Star Wars films. Those action figures never saw more action than they did when we had a production going – which was nearly every week. All of that started me on the path of working in animation, visual effects, and eventually, machinima and video games.
- When did you first get the idea of cosplaying Boba Fett?
Ever since seeing The Empire Strikes Back for the first time, I’ve been a huge fan of Fett. I loved everything about the character – the mystique, the design of his armor, Slave I, right down to the performance by Jeremy Bulloch. In the late ‘90s, I finally decided to make my own Fett costume, but there wasn’t a central point of information or resources to get it off the ground. Finally, The Dented Helmet, a Fett costuming community, came into being and the rest is history.
- Tell us about the process of making the costume. What are the challenges? What makes it rewarding?
It’s not for the faint-of-heart, that’s for sure, as I really hadn’t a clue about what was I getting into. I still get some ribbing from my fellow 501st troopmates about taking on one of the most complex builds as my very first cosplay.
I began researching which Fett I wanted to create – ESB version – and what was involved. At first, I just wanted a decent costume, one I could wear to a Halloween party or two that would be recognizable. Then, as I got further into the research, my desire for it be film accurate took over. I began collecting as many photos as I could and logged many hours on The Dented Helmet chatting with other Fett cosplayers about their builds.
The building of the pieces and the paint-up were a significant challenge, as Fett’s armor has many layers of paint with extremely detailed damage and wear marks – all which need to be exact for it to be approved by the 501st. After acquiring a nice kit helmet and armor, I began working on the helmet first. The helmet’s paint job was started 4 different times before I got it right – mainly due to the Texas heat, which dried the airbrush paint in the air before it would even reach the surface of the helmet itself. Once I became more familiar with the costume’s details and how to get around those painting difficulties – paint only at night or early in the morning! – it became an easier project.
Still, the build took a long time to put together. The helmet took me about 3 months of on-and-off work. The armor, another 2 months. Jetpack, 3 weeks. What started as a project in January for that upcoming Halloween, wound up taking a year and a half before I finished. After it was finally completed, seeing pics of the costume from various events makes me happy, not to mention having a film-accurate Fett helmet on my work desk. But by far, the most rewarding is knowing the people I met while building the costume as well as being able to pass along my experiences and advice back to new builders in the The Dented Helmet community.
- What does it mean to you to be a Star Wars fan?
Being a Star Wars fan means enjoying this exceptional series of works – classic sci-fi fantasy infused with the hope and swagger of modern-day humanity – with others who like it for the same reasons. It’s pure idealistic escapism where we’re all heroes in the same grand adventure.
- Will we see you at another Celebration?
Linda has been a Star Wars fan from the time she saw Episode IV in the theatre with her parents and insisted on being Han Solo while playing with the neighborhood kids. She’s now a fangirl who splits her time learning to twirl a bo staff like Ray Park, jumping horses, writing fanfic she dreams up on her commute to work, and spending time with her husband and their own feisty Padawan version of Ahsoka. She can be reached at Linda.HansenRaj@gmail.com and on Twitter.
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