This year’s Star Wars costume contest at Dragon Con happened on Sunday, and the con had been in full swing for several days. At this point, most attendees were exhausted, burnt out on crowds, and had spent hours and hours in lines already. Just the same, a line formed outside the Marriott’s Imperial ballroom on Sunday afternoon for seating at the event. Over the course of the hour I waited, the line grew and grew. Because really, who doesn’t want to look at Star Wars costumes?
The showcase was kicked off by the only child entry, and I must say, it was incredibly cute. I don’t know why small versions of things are so appealing, but that pint-sized scout trooper charmed the crowd.
For fans of the prequel era, there was plenty to see. A really good battle-arena Padmé showed off her kicking moves. An Anakin on the verge of turning to the dark side also made an appearance. Darth Maul menaced the crowd. And plenty of Jedi were on hand to illuminate the stage with their lightsabers and make everyone feel safe again. And I managed to catch a photo of a clone trooper sans helmet!
A couple of fab Star Wars Rebels were on hand, as well. And I feel compelled to confess: Hera and Sabine were probably my two favorite costumes of the day. Their outfits were fantastic and their choice of characters to cosplay is close to my heart.
In the realm of the classic trilogy, there were bounty hunters at the ready. Both Boba Fett and Dengar stopped by to make sure nobody got too comfortable. A pair of jawas were trying to hustle people for totally unfair trades. For the gamers in the crowd, a very menacing Revan and Darth Malak from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic were on hand.
And what would a costume contest be without some original creations? This one had plenty, with a lot of humor in the mix. Emperor Meowpatine showed up. (I know first-hand that cats would make excellent Sith Lords.) Daft Fett walked the catwalk, and wanted everyone in the audience to know he’s up all night to get bounties. And an utterly gorgeous Sith lady showed off serious dark side style.
All of the contestants get a round of applause from me — I’ve participated in enough costume contests to know that they can involve plenty of waiting in sometimes uncomfortable gear, navigating awkward spaces, and the anxiety-inducing judging process. But despite all that, these costumers chose to share their love of Star Wars and creativity with others, and in the end, it’s fandom that wins.
I’m going to be honest: I really thought I’d see a couple of people in the costume contest dressed as characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens! I spotted a couple of Reys around the con from a distance, but I really expected a Finn or a BB-8 to show up and make the crowd go wild. But I shall have to wait until next year, because I’m confident we’ll see a whole new crop of Star Wars characters everywhere at Dragon Con 2016!
Holly Frey co-hosts the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast at HowStuffWorks.com. She’s an avid costumer, and Star Wars has been an integral part of her life since opening day in 1977.