Back in the July 2016 issue of Entertainment Weekly, we were introduced to the striking image of Imperial stormtroopers wading through the waters of Scarif. It was an image unlike anything we’d ever seen in the saga, sending the drones of the Empire to a tropical paradise. Our imaginations were lit — we wanted to see more. And the 501st fan costumers answered the call.
Classic stormtroopers, the backbone of the 501st, were thrown front and center once again in an environment that screamed out for homage. Initially, the Alpine Garrison of Utah took to the water at Antelope Island in Utah to replicate the EW images, followed by the Pacific Outpost in Hawaii and the Florida Garrison. The UK Garrison, of which I am a proud Honorary Member, hit the surf. Soon they were followed by Terror Australis Garrison in Australia and the Dutch Garrison.
StarWars.com grabbed a few minutes with some of the folks involved in this project: the Dutch Garrison’s public relations officer Puck Barendregt, also known as BH 8715, and Rikki Teml, photographer, for a few questions about the UK Garrison shoot.
StarWars.com: What extra preparations were required for trooping in the water?
Puck Barendregt: Our troopers first did some research to the effects of salt water to their costumes. When they found out the salt water would have no effect on the plastic and glue they decided to do this.
StarWars.com: Bringing a squad of stormtroopers together in the beach for a photoshoot isn’t as simple as it might first seem. What were the logistics of making this happen?
Puck Barendregt: We organized a photoshoot and got permission from the local authorities. We then arranged some press to join us and national TV made an item about it, as well as a few newspapers. Then we asked a photographer to do the shoot. The result is even better than we had hoped, and yes there were actual tears of happiness, we are so proud.
StarWars.com: How did the shoot go for you and the team?
Rikki Teml: On the day I was very nervous, walking seven TKs from our changing area across the Paignton sea front and then onto the beach and into the sea. They were all wearing a mixture of trainers and flip flops! The last shot of them coming towards me with blasters raised, we had to redo, as some had blasters pointing down so I went with them back into the water with them to set the shot up again.
StarWars.com: So presumably you are pleased with the results?
Rikki Teml: In the end it all went well and my initial worries were long forgotten when I saw the shots, and risking my gear was worth it. A few hours of editing and we had the finished shots, which I am extremely proud of.
Photo Credits: Dallen Jensen of the Alpine Garrison and Tina Montesano (thanks to Maritza Mestre-Touma); Australian Garrison PR; Dutch Garrison PR; Brandon Selph of the Florida Garrison (thanks to Savanna Kiefer); Bre Fusselmanof the Pacific Outpost (thanks to Francis Moreira); Rikki Seml of the UK Garrison (thanks to Ginny Tait)
Mark has written for Star Wars Insider and Build The Millennium Falcon partwork and co-hosts RADIO 1138 and Take Cover on the Jedi News Network. He’s an honorary member of both the 501st and the Rebel Legion and when he’s not talking, tweeting or writing about Star Wars he can usually be found sleeping where he’ll most likely be dreaming about Star Wars.