Star Wars, The Force Awakens opened in theaters worldwide on December 17, and many 501st members trekked to theaters on this evening to meet and take countless pictures with fans of our beloved franchise. Blue Sun Squad had the honor of welcoming Star Wars fans as they arrived for the first evening of showings of TFA in Lexington, Kentucky. While there were strict policies in place for the safety of all in attendance, we were able to connect with hundreds of fans and take many, many memorable pictures.
This evening was a combined effort of our local 501st/Midsouth Garrison chapter, as well as the Blue Moon Clan of the Mandalorian Mercs costuming club, and members of the Corellian Base Rebel Legion. Together, we were able to enhance the movie experience for the fans coming in, and spread the joy that we all know as the Star Wars Universe.
Blue Sun Squad, the Mando’s and Rebels were also featured on two of the local news broadcasts during their on location reporting. WLEX interviewed several of our members during their 7pm broadcast, and WTVQ featured us during their 5:30, 6:00, 6:30 and 11:00 pm late broadcasts. There was also print media coverage from the Lexington Herald Leader, as well as featuring our squad in their online editions.
It was with no small amount of trepidation that I set out on this particular troop. This was only my second outing, and I had still very little experience with the particulars and details of trooping. Furthermore, all manner of dire and awful stories had spread about this Con. Nevertheless, I packed up my uniform and followed Dar from the Mando Mercs and Chris Clark to the Con on Friday.
Upon arrival, we were immensely surprised to find that the staff knew who we were, our table was ready, and they had indeed gotten us a secure changing room. They even assigned a staff member (Lisa) to attend to our every need! This was an amazing display of support, and quite frankly the entire event seemed well run and every staff member actually seemed to know what was going on. They have redeemed themselves as far as I am concerned. Dar for once was speechless.
We set up our tables. My uniform being the easiest one to get into, on Friday I was the only one in costume for about an hour or so; I spoke to I dont know how many people about the 501st and the Mercs, and got put on periscope and Instagram by the local radio station!
Saturday brought even more awesomeness. With more of our troops arriving, we could put on a proper show of force; and on Larrys suggestion, the troopers formed up and I marched at their head to the Carrie Fisher booth. I had scouted this out earlier, so I stopped before we ran into the heavy rebel security presence (yep the con security was eyeing us suspiciously) On retrospect, the next time I do something like this I am going to sing cadence while marching it may attract more attention!
The only bad part was that while passing in review before the Carrie Fisher panel, the silly announcer made a couple of gaffes regarding our names and called our bikini Leia a tasteless name. But this was not someone with the con, but Carries agent, so we will put the blame where it belongs. Set blasters on disintegrate!
Overall, I rate the experience an A. I would give it a plus if we had actually gotten to escort Mrs. Fisher, but alas, it was not to be.
Admiral Wolf, out.
ID 13665 Pic Album
Blue Sun Squad, over the last year or so, is averaging about a troop a month. We have met a lot of kids and parents in that time, and have (hopefully) brought a lot of smiles to those faces. Every so often, there is a family that a group just connects with, and becomes part of the group. Amy and Toby have become that family, and we love having them around and being able to welcome them as members of Blue Sun Squad. While not official, that doesn't make them any less special to us. And, it would seem, the feeling is quite mutual.
Blue Sun Squad was honored to be a part of Joseph Beth Bookseller’s Star Wars Family Fun Day. This has become an annual tradition at Joseph Beth, and grows in popularity every year. Dozens of kids (and dozens of parents) took pictures and hung around some of their favorite Star Wars characters, enjoyed time in the Bounce Castle, created some Star Wars themed crafts and had a great time.
In addition to the festivities, Blue Sun also welcomed back a couple of costumers to trooping: Joey and Louis, the Police Brothers. For several months, we’ve heard “The Legend of the Police Brothers”, and today the legend was put to rest. They came and trooped with us, we’re told for the first time in years. To emphasize how long it’s been, Joey’s seven year old son didn’t even know his dad had Star Wars armor, but today he found out. The brothers are back, and we welcome them into Blue Sun Squad.
Blue Sun made quite the entrance, as always. Joseph Beth decided to station us in the lower part of the store to begin with, and we made our way through the store to the escalator, led by Emperor Palpatine, followed closely by Lord Vader and plenty of white armor. The Emperor led Blue Sun Squad down the escalator as the crowd looked on from overhead. At one point the escalator was full of Sith Lords, TK’s, Biker Scouts, Commander Wolffe…and even a Rebel trooper thrown in for good measure. (She could have been an unwilling participant, but her binders were removed while out in public.)
The personal highlight for Lord Vader was being surrounded by five of the cutest little girls ever seen, and all of them were fans of the Dark Lord of the Sith. After taking a rather small group photo with them, the smallest of the “gang” decided that wasn’t enough. They ganged up on Vader…and gave him the shortest (in height) group hug ever. Yes, it was that adorable.
There were plenty of excellent photos taken, and several of them can be found on our Events page. For even more, feel free to check out our Photobucket page.
Lord Vader and a Biker Scout stop to take a pic with some fans before The Force Awakens premiere.
BH-10039 and TK-51200 representing the franchise we all know and love.
SL-68888 of Blue Sun Squad chats with a Stormtrooper at the Williamsburg Walmart troop, 2014/08/11. He might still be a little short...
"You don't know what the world looks like until you put a helmet on."
-Rick Stafford, "Heart of an Empire"