Star Wars Day 2014: A New Roman Empire

For international Star Wars Day (May the 4th be With You!), costumed fans from all over Italy traveled to Rome to help stage spectacular photos on the weekend of this fan-inspired holiday. With the help of a TIE fighter and her crew from Germany, Imperials and Rebels and Jedi gathered at the Coliseum to give visiting tourists and local fans sights they will never forget.

Sent to Rome to lend a hand if I could, I captured some behind-the-scenes images of the prep and the pageant that was May the 4th in Rome, 2014.

Michael Schramm and the Vader’s TIE crew were forced to start building late on Saturday morning, May 3rd. Sadly, in the night someone had broken into their van and stolen tools and valuable components for the ship display. After emergency runs to hardware and other supply stores, the team worked at full speed to make up for the lost building time.

Michael Schramm and the Vader’s TIE crew were forced to start building late on Saturday morning, May 3rd. Sadly, in the night someone had broken into their van and stolen tools and valuable components for the ship display. After emergency runs to hardware and other supply stores, the team worked at full speed to make up for the lost building time.

Alberto Zanandrea, the Commanding Officer of the Italian Garrison, and Ilaria Crucil, also of the Italian Garrison, had just gotten married as the plans for the Rome May the 4th event were taking shape. They had planned their honeymoon for elsewhere, but when it became clear this event would happen, they changed their plans and spent their honeymoon working very hard organizing the costumers for the Coliseum events. Wonderful job, Alberto and Ilaria! Many happy years of May the 4ths to you!

Alberto Zanandrea, the Commanding Officer of the Italian Garrison, and Ilaria Crucil, also of the Italian Garrison, had just gotten married as the plans for the Rome May the 4th event were taking shape. They had planned their honeymoon for elsewhere, but when it became clear this event would happen, they changed their plans and spent their honeymoon working very hard organizing the costumers for the Coliseum events. Wonderful job, Alberto and Ilaria! Many happy years of May the 4ths to you!

While the German crew was working to get the TIE assembled, a group of about twenty costumed fans made their way into the Coliseum. Honestly I’m not sure if we had permits or not, but we went in!

While the German crew was working to get the TIE assembled, a group of about twenty costumed fans made their way into the Coliseum. Honestly I’m not sure if we had permits or not, but we went in!

The Imperial Empire meets the Roman Empire: stormtroopers in the Coliseum in Rome.

The Imperial Empire meets the Roman Empire: stormtroopers in the Coliseum in Rome.

shower. When it was time for the evening event, the TIE was complete.

The Vader’s TIE crew worked heroically to finish the vehicle even during an afternoon rain shower. When it was time for the evening event, the TIE was complete.

The Vader’s TIE crew worked heroically to finish the vehicle even during an afternoon rain shower. When it was time for the evening event, the TIE was complete.

We ushered in May the 4th with spectacular displays the night before, including projecting on the Coliseum wall and posing the costumers en masse in front.

We ushered in May the 4th with spectacular displays the night before, including projecting on the Coliseum wall and posing the costumers en masse in front.

We ushered in May the 4th with spectacular displays the night before, including projecting on the Coliseum wall and posing the costumers en masse in front.

After the first successful day of events we celebrated with some of the best pasta – and most entertaining friends – anywhere.

After the first successful day of events we celebrated with some of the best pasta – and most entertaining friends – anywhere.

Hanging around during dinner.

Hanging around during dinner.

The Day Itself. To kick off May the 4th in Rome, over 100 costumed fans paraded around the outside of the Coliseum, then worked their way up to the TIE fighter. A huge crowd pressed in, and when they started chanting “Vader! Vader! Vader!” I admit I teared up a bit.

The Day Itself. To kick off May the 4th in Rome, over 100 costumed fans paraded around the outside of the Coliseum, then worked their way up to the TIE fighter. A huge crowd pressed in, and when they started chanting “Vader! Vader! Vader!” I admit I teared up a bit.

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Jedi costumers rehearse their lightsaber battle.

Jedi costumers rehearse their lightsaber battle.

Members of the media were out in huge numbers, packing the space near the costumers. Onlookers across the road gathered to get the best look they could.

Members of the media were out in huge numbers, packing the space near the costumers. Onlookers across the road gathered to get the best look they could.

You don’t know the power. The Dark Lord of the Sith works the crowd and the media.

You don’t know the power. The Dark Lord of the Sith works the crowd and the media.

The Emperor has a lot to say about International Star Wars Day.

The Emperor has a lot to say about International Star Wars Day.

Departing the photo area by the Coliseum, the costumed fan groups head back to their muster point, and then to travel back to all points of Italy.

Departing the photo area by the Coliseum, the costumed fan groups head back to their muster point, and then to travel back to all points of Italy.

The only being in Rome not thrilled about May the 4th.

The only being in Rome not thrilled about May the 4th.

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