As many fans of the Star Wars universe know, 501st and Rebel Legion members across the globe dedicate time and effort year-round in support of local community and charitable organizations to help raise funds and bring smiles to Star Wars fans of all ages. And with spring just around the corner, that means “con season” is back! Officially kicking things off for everyone on the West Coast, Comic-Con International presented WonderCon 2013 with three days of convention fun.
This year marked the second year WonderCon was hosted in Anaheim, California, only a few quick steps away from Disneyland and Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (for which a few members of the 501st & Rebel Legions were cast to be part of the ride experience and are now on permanent StarSpeeder duty) and was bigger than ever. Legion members from across California and the western US all came together in full deployment on the convention floor to interact with attendees and help bring Star Wars to life. And, if it’s a convention, that also means attendees bring their own take on classic and original outfits to show their love of Star Wars.
There’s no denying that the energy at fan conventions is something special, drawing friends near and far, all united to have fun and pool their efforts. Of course, if it’s a con, that means collectibles and shirts to consider, and artists to visit!
But in addition to the fun and excitement found at conventions, often times the 501st and Rebel Legions, along with other Star Wars fan groups, will set up fundraising activities to benefit charitable and local community causes. For WonderCon 2013, Legion members came together to raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles by offering convention attendees a chance for a photograph with Star Wars characters against a Death Star hallway backdrop in exchange for a $5 donation.
The Legion’s work were boosted with a special visit from The Clone Wars actress and Honorary Member Ashley Eckstein, who took a tour on the photo line! Ashley reminded everyone that Ahsoka Tano was still very much a part of the This Is Madness bracket contest, StarWars.com’s official tournament to decide the galaxy’s most popular Star Wars character, and visited with her favorite astromech droid!
Also taking a turn at the Death Star photo booth were Friends of the Legion, Team Unicorn and Chris Hardwick. Their efforts were increased by substantial contributions from super Star Wars fan LeeAnna Vamp, who held her own fundraising event to help support CHLA, Tusken Invasion sketchcard sales by artist Mike Vasquez, and patch sales by 501st member Mike Kurtz. Together, over the course of the three-day convention, everyone’s combined efforts raised $3,083! A most impressive example of the work we do whenever and wherever 501st and Rebel Legion members have an opportunity!
With convention season fully underway, Legion members also enjoyed time catching up with friends, planning convention destinations in 2013 and future adventures, and, of course, discussing the latest news regarding all things Star Wars.
As everyone looks ahead to the excitement of Celebration Europe, the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi, and the wonder of what the next chapter in Star Wars might hold, the 501st and Rebel Legions will be there along the way, continuing to help our local communities, and bringing the fans close to Star Wars as only the Legions can!
Lawrence Green wanted to be a Stormtrooper or Luke Skywalker when he first saw Star Wars. Now, he’s both, as a member of the 501st and Rebel Legions. Designated by 501st founder Albin Johnson at the 2007 Rose Parade as “the 501st’s own Jedi-Luke”, Lawrence is the Executive Officer & Public/Media Relations Officer of the 501st Legion’s Southern California Garrison. You can follow his personal tweets at@Lawrence_Green and find the SoCal Garrison atwww.southerncaliforniagarrison.com and @501SCG.