Meet the creative fans who brought together a Tatooine droid seller and one of the galaxy's greatest astromechs.
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The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is no stranger to cosplay. Dozens, probably hundreds, of costumed attendees have passed through its halls at conventions over the years, but I'd argue the cosplayers filling the walkways at Star Wars Celebration Orlando with armor and Queen Amidala headdresses are some of the finest examples of costumes the OCCC has seen. I'm biased, obviously, because look at the website you're browsing, but I'm not wrong. Case in point: a costume that imagines what would happen if a wandering, lucky Jawa found BB-8.
The costume made by Jen Yates of Epbot and her husband John combines two characters into one ensemble and gave them the opportunity to try a new design. They're not strangers to the world of making; the duo has been designing and building costumes for years, each one more complex and elaborate than the last. This time it was all about the illusion factor.
"I love illusion costumes, so John and I were looking to do a 'stacked' cosplay -- something with either one character carrying another or a single short character standing on top of something. BB-8 is so small that I immediately wanted to get him up to eye-level, and I've also wanted to do a Jawa for a few years now, but always felt too tall. So we put those two together," Jen says.
In case you wondered, Jen is five-feet-tall. In this costume, the Jawa is about four-feet-tall. This was an ideal way to negotiate her stature.
The stacking of the costume means that, in a way, Jen's wearing two costumes at once. The rig incorporates the Jawa and BB-8. If you're looking at the photos and tilting your head trying to figure out what's where, you can give your neck a break. Jen explains, "In a nutshell: everything is built onto the aluminum frame of a camping backpack, and I see through the crack between BB-8's head and body. I wear BB-8's head like a helmet, so for photos I tip my head down to close that crack completely. My body is inside the canvas bag, and the Jawa is in front of me, supported by a PVC arm around my side. I can puppet the head using a rod at the base of the neck, so the Jawa can look side-to-side and also nod to people asking for photos."