5 Tips for Perfecting Your Cosplay for Star Wars Celebration Chicago


There is only one event where you can find General Grievous hanging out with General Leia, see a Sith Disney princess twirling a red lightsaber, or meet Chewie’s Angels, a trio of pastel-colored Wookiees. Star Wars Celebration is truly the ultimate fan experience where anything is possible — new friends are made, old friends catch up, and you can meet your childhood heroes. In fact, you might meet several different versions of your favorite Star Wars hero. There is only one Mark Hamill, but at Star Wars Celebration you can see countless Luke Skywalkers roaming the halls. Cosplayers add so much joy and whimsy to the Celebration experience. If you’re thinking about giving cosplay a try for Star Wars Celebration Chicago, here are a few tips to help you get ready!

Supplies to make a Star Wars Celebration cosplay.

1. Fabric or cardboard? Now that you’ve decided you want to cosplay, it’s time to figure out your costume and the first question you must ask yourself is, “Do I want to wear clothes or cardboard?” If you’ve always wanted to craft an AT-ST that you can walk around in, Star Wars Celebration is the place to do it! Just know that the more elaborate the costume, the more limited you might be in terms of getting around the convention floor. As someone who has cosplayed as the Millennium Falcon, I can tell you that it wasn’t easy navigating through Artist Alley while wearing a very wide foam starship.

Another thing to keep in mind when selecting your costume is your comfort level. Dressing up as Rey or Lando Calrissian will probably be much more comfortable than cosplaying as Queen Amidala or Chi Eekway Papanoida. An elaborate outfit will make a statement, but you may not be able to sit in it, which will limit your time in the costume. Also, if you’re traveling and the costume is oversized or delicate, you may want to carry it on the plane or ship it to your hotel ahead of time.

Time is probably the biggest factor in deciding what to wear. But even if you’re short on time and money, there are plenty of costumes you can whip up on a budget and with only a week to work on it. Having limited resources can often lead to unique and unexpected costumes!

Supplies to make a Star Wars Celebration cosplay.

2. Make a costume emergency kit. It is inevitable that something will go wrong with your costume, even if it’s store bought. A zipper may break, a Styrofoam eye may fall off, or the glue may not hold. If you’re traveling to Chicago from out of town, be sure to pack a costume emergency kit. Some kit essentials to consider: safety pins, double sided tape, hot glue or super glue, and any other odds and ends that you might anticipate falling off your costume. (I’m looking at you, feathers.) You may not end up needing the kit, but in the case of a cape crisis, you’ll be prepared!

Jennifer Landa poses in her Han in carbonite cosplay.

3. Get ready to get into character. If this is your first time cosplaying, prepare to strike a pose. As you walk around the convention center in costume, people may stop and ask to take your photo. It might feel weird at first, especially if you’re dressed as a Star Wars villain, but posing in character makes for a great photo! And it’s amazing how putting on a costume can change how you stand, act, or speak; you might find that getting into character comes naturally once you start walking in that character’s shoes.

A snack bag and supplies to make a Star Wars Celebration cosplay.

4. Remember, even Kylo Ren gets hangry. It’s surprising how quickly time goes by when you’re having fun at Celebration. And when you’re dressed in costume, taking photos, and chatting with friends, you may look at the clock and suddenly realize you forgot to eat lunch. Make time for snack breaks and tuck a protein bar into your Han Solo holster or some trail mix in your Ewok pouch so you’re prepared for wherever the day takes you.

Jennifer Landa cosplays with a tauntaun.

5. Troop with a friend. What’s better than one cardboard stormtrooper? Two, of course! Cosplaying with friends is sure to be a great time, but even if your friend doesn’t feel like dressing up, they may be able to offer a helping hand as you’re waddling around in your homemade Gonk droid costume. If your costume makes it difficult to see or restricts your movement, you will absolutely need a buddy to help you navigate the convention hall, lead you to the water fountain, and remind you about the panel schedule.

And if this is your first time cosplaying, know that you will be surrounded by fellow Star Wars fans who love these characters and stories as much as you do. No one will judge you by your size or your design (unless you enter a costume contest and you actually want your costume to be judged.)

Star Wars Celebration Chicago will take place April 11-15 at McCormick Place. Visit StarWarsCelebration.com for tickets and more info!

Jennifer Landa is an actress, host, and crafter. Follow her on
Twitter @JenniferLanda and for more
Star Wars DIYs, visit her YouTube channel.

5 Tips for Perfecting Your Cosplay for Star Wars Celebration Chicago

Get a First Look at the Star Wars runDisney 2019 Medals


Luke Skywalker could feel the conflict within Darth Vader, but Emperor Palpatine hoped that instead of saving his father, the two would become bitter rivals. In April, runDisney celebrates the competitive spirit of these and other Star Wars characters at the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, when you can challenge yourself or a friend to go the distance and snag one (or more!) of the covetable finisher medals.

Today, StarWars.com has your first look at these finely-crafted depictions of some of the most enduring rivalries across the Star Wars saga!

runDisney medal for Star Wars Rival Run 5K | Finn and Captain Phasma.

Star Wars Rival Run 5K | Finn and Captain Phasma

runDisney medal for Star Wars Rival Run 10K | Han Solo and Boba Fett

Star Wars Rival Run 10K | Han Solo and Boba Fett

runDisney medal for Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon | Rey and Kylo Ren

Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon | Rey and Kylo Ren

runDisney medal

Star Wars Rival Run Challenge | Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader

runDisney medals for the runDisney Kids Races | BB-8 and BB-9E

runDisney Kids Races | BB-8 and BB-9E

runDisney medal for the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon | R2-D2

Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon | R2-D2

runDisney medal for the Kessel Run Challenge

Kessel Run Challenge

Whether you line the streets to cheer on your fellow fans, tackle your first 5K, or plan to crush the half marathon like an Imperial going after the Rebellion, we’re excited to see you there! Meet Star Wars characters, enjoy music and entertainment before and after the race and along the course route, and dress up as your favorite characters! The races are designed for runners of all ages, experience, and abilities, including a mile-long race just for younglings. Race participants can collect these Star Wars-themed finisher medals and other commemorative merchandise throughout the weekend. It’s a new year and a new you, so fuel your Force and join the fun.

Star Wars Rival Run Weekend is coming to Walt Disney World Resort, April 4-7, 2019! Visit runDisney.com for more information, and be sure to register to get your hands on your own finisher medals.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Get a First Look at the Star Wars runDisney 2019 Medals

Happy Holidays and Thank You For a Great Year!


What a year! In 2018, we saw the end of the Ghost crew in Star Wars Rebels, and the explored the beginning of Han Solo with Solo: A Star Wars Story. We welcomed new faces to join the cause in Star Wars Resistance, saved The Clone Wars, and helped younglings take their first steps into the larger world of Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures.

And 2019 is already shaping up to be even bigger, when Star Wars Celebration braves the windy city of Chicago for five straight days, we anticipate the end of the Skywalker saga with the release of Episode IX, and so much more!

All of us at StarWars.com thank you for being here with us every step of the way, to share in the stories and characters we love, debate our own unique points of view, and celebrate a fan community that’s been going strong for over four decades.

We’ll be taking next week off to relax in carbonite (or, you know, celebrate the holidays with friends and family) — although we can promise we will still be thinking and talking about Star Wars in our downtime.  And we’ll be back soon, fully rested from our hibernation and ready for everything 2019 has to offer!

Have a wonderful holiday and may the Force be with you.

– Your friends at StarWars.com

Happy Holidays and Thank You For a Great Year!

Meet the Winners of the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018!


StarWars.com and The Star Wars Show are pleased to announce the winners of the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018! We received thousands of entries across four genres — Long Video, Short Video, Visual Art, and Photo — and were continually amazed at the incredible talent on display. Thank you and Wookiee hugs to all who participated!

Check out the most impressive winners below, including recipients of the Filmmaker Select chosen by Dave Filoni, and Audience Choice awards voted by fans on StarWars.com! And learn more about how these passion projects were made in exclusive interviews with many of this year’s esteemed award winners.


Genre: Long Video


More Machine Than Man by Mark G.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I saw Star Wars for the first time when it was originally in theaters in 1977.  I was 11 years old. I’ve been all-in ever since. I remember seeing Return of the Jedi at the Thursday midnight special premiere screening where the ticket cost an outlandish $4.50. Star Wars was probably my primary inspiration for becoming a filmmaker myself. I learned everything I could about George Lucas, and even went to film school at USC on his example. I still maintain that original Star Wars is one of the greatest films of all time, in the same realm as Citizen Kane or Casablanca

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

I’ve had the idea for More Machine Than Man for years. Ever since we saw Obi-Wan Kenobi cut up Anakin and leave his roasting body for dead on that lava planet in Revenge of the Sith, we’ve known the REAL story behind all the things he told Luke about his father. Back in 1983, when Obi-Wan said Vader was “more machine now than man, twisted and evil” we never thought much about it. But seeing him dismembered, we now knew he had, among other things, robot arms and legs. He was LITERALLY more machine than man. And I though it was kind of cool that when making the original films, George Lucas must have had all that detail thought out that the casual viewer wouldn’t even think about.

Anyway, I thought about what Obi-Wan would have had to admit if Luke had pressed him for just a little more information. The actual story is so much more gruesome than the sugar-coated version we’ve had for years that it just struck me as funny. I mean, seriously! All he said was “He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader.”  He left out the key detail, “I cut off his arms and legs, let him catch fire, and left him for dead.”

I made my own Obi-Wan Kenobi costume from dyed curtain lining material. We shot on a green screen, and then I built a miniature set, about 2 feet by 2 feet to shoot for the backgrounds. I lit the model, blew in canned smoke, and photographed it on my kitchen table. The R2-D2 is the voice activated 13” R2 that I’ve had for years. The X-wing I bought off of eBay, and then dry-brushed it to weather the parts that would be visible. All the elements were shot separately and sandwiched together for the final shots. The most challenging effect was the Jedi ghost effect, which I made in Apple Motion. It needed to make me transparent and blue, but also glowing and sparkling around the edges. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

What does winning mean to you?

It is a great honor to win the Best Comedy as well as the Filmmaker Select Award. Star Wars has been an important part of my life for over 40 years. It’s what made me want to be a filmmaker in the first place. And I’m delighted that people with an actual connection to the franchise are seeing and appreciating my work. Thank you so much.



Like My Father Before Me: A Star Wars Story by Jack C.



The Kessel Run by Brian W.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I saw Star Wars as a child when it first released in theaters. The very moment the Star Destroyer appears in the opening shot of A New Hope, I was hooked. At that time, science fiction movies were very cheesy with everyone wearing aluminum foil costumes. Star Wars was the first genre movie that felt like it took place in a real universe.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

I wanted to do something with Star Wars characters that had not been overdone already. This is very difficult because there are already so many excellent Star Wars fan films out there. I wondered what characters had not had their own film yet, and I realized the dejarik pieces from the Millennium Falcon’s holochess board had never been given their due. I also thought they would be very fun to animate. It was, but I did not think about the fact that in most shots I would have to animate eight characters at once. It was a tremendous amount of work and I almost gave up several times, but the end result was worth it.

What does winning mean to you?

I am thrilled to win. There are a large number of excellent Star Wars fan films out there, some made by Hollywood professionals with high-end equipment. To stand out among the crowd is a great feeling of validation both as an animator and a Star Wars fan.



Exile: A Star Wars Fan Film by Noel B.



Star Wars: The Toys Awaken by Raymond M.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I was born in 1974 and grew up with the original trilogy being a huge part of my formative years. Watching The Empire Strikes Back in the theater in 1980, and taking in Yoda’s wisdom and Vader’s galaxy-shattering revelation, made a lasting impression on me. I was hooked at that point and have been a lifelong fan since ever since. I didn’t realize it then, but my Star Wars fan creativity was in its beginning stages just after Return of the Jedi came out in theaters in 1983. I wrote two short stories complete with illustrations, naturally titled The Jedi Strike Back and Return of the Empire. I don’t think they were very good, but I was so proud to share them with my family.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

The inspiration for my film goes back to 2012 when Disney announced it would purchase Lucasfilm and start making new Star Wars movies. After living for years with the reality that there would be no more Star Wars movies after Revenge of the Sith, this news re-ignited the fan in me. Being anxious for any and all Star Wars news, I checked StarWars.com daily and read that Lucasfilm would resurrect the Star Wars Fan Film Awards and present awards at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in April 2015. I always had an interest in video production and had just switched careers from electrical engineering to running a freelance business in motion graphics and visual effects. I knew the Fan Film Awards would be the perfect opportunity to produce my first short film, share my fandom with the world, and actively participate in Star Wars Celebration (for which I already purchased a four-day pass). Because my excitement for Star Wars was at an all-time high, I wanted to produce a fan film about a fan whose toys come to life to help him out of a jam. I was fortunate enough to have my first fan film, Star Wars: A Toy Story, selected as a finalist and nominated for Best Visual Effects.

I was honored to be a finalist in 2015, but failing to win one of the coveted awards left me feeling incomplete. Falling short drove me to produce a film for the 2016 Star Wars Fan Film Awards. I wrote the script for Star Wars: The Toys Awaken in early 2016 and kicked off production in April. Ultimately the scope of the film was too wide, and I didn’t have enough time to complete the film before the deadline. I put it on hold and switched gears when I learned of Lucasfilm’s #GoRogue fan film contest leading up to the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I managed to complete a 2-minute film for the contest, The Rogue One: A Star Wars Toy Story, but unfortunately I fell short of winning once again.

Lucasfilm did not hold the Star Wars Fan Film Awards in 2017, but I eventually came back to The Toys Awaken late in 2017. I had gotten so many great people involved in my initial production effort (about 40 people for the movie theater scene from local fan groups Star Wars Steampunk Universe, San Diego Star Wars Society, and Science Fiction Coalition), I felt a responsibility to complete the film even in the absence of a Lucsafilm contest. By early 2018 I had completed a significant portion of the stop-motion animation. I had to put it on hold once again due to work commitments. But then this past summer I learned that Lucasfilm would hold the 2018 Star Wars Fan Awards. That announcement provided me the impetus to make the final push to complete the film.

The story is set on the opening day of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and tells the story of a young Star Wars fan whose toys come to life. The young fan, Riley, is played by my daughters Maliya and Nora, who are two and a half years apart in age. For the shots we filmed in April 2016, Maliya played the role of Riley. By the time we got around to completing production two and a half years later, she was too old for the role, so I had Nora, who was the right age, step in and complete the shots. I shot Nora so that we never see her face directly, and I only shot extreme close-ups of Maliya’s eyes when we needed shots of her face. The timing worked out perfectly. I’m so happy that it took three years to complete the film so that both Maliya and Nora could play significant roles in it. I’m ecstatic that we won two awards, but I’m even happier that this film has provided us with a very personal family experience that we’ll never forget.

What does winning mean to you?

Winning means everything to me. Having Lucasfilm officially recognize my work as a Star Wars fan is a tremendous honor. Having entered three Lucasfilm contests, I have seen how high the bar is, how talented the competition is, and how rare winning is. Being a finalist in 2015 and not winning, and having made three fan films to get to this point is extremely satisfying. It means even more to me that my daughters have been a part of this journey. I hope they see this as a life lesson that hard work and sticking with their passions can lead to positive outcomes even though the journey can be difficult.


Genre: Short Video


Ice Cream To Go by Jordan G. and Cody G.



Vader: Misquoted by Jared H.



Grievous Versus Praetorians by Brian W.



Simple Tricks and Nonsense by Jason Y.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

Star Wars has always been around in my life for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories consist of my family and I sitting around the TV watching the original trilogy together on VHS. My brother and I enjoyed scrapping together costumes from random items around the house and reenacting scenes from the films. We would spend countless hours playing with Star Wars action figures, and even made a few of our own fan videos with them.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

As I was thinking about my entry for the Star Wars Fan Awards, I really wanted to capture the essence of my love and appreciation for Star Wars. Growing up, I loved collecting and playing with the toys available at the time. My love for collecting Star Wars toys continues today, which I get to share with my three children, who have become avid Star Wars fans in their own right.

For my entry I created a short video inspired by the original Kenner action figure TV commercials, but used modern action figures from the Black Series line that we collect together as a family. Needless to say, we had such a fun time creating the video together!

What does winning mean to you?

As a Star Wars fan, it is an incredible honor to be among this year’s winners of the Star Wars Fan Awards — I’m proud to represent the greatest fandom in the galaxy. Thank you for your votes and support, and as always, may the Force be with you!



A Close Call by Jared P.


Genre: Visual Art


Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning photo recreation of the Star Wars: A New Hope poster using Black Series action figures.

A (Tiny) New Hope by Trevor W.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I saw Star Wars the day it opened at a drive-in on my birthday (May 25th!) and as soon as Darth Vader walked through the door of the Tantive IV…I was hooked! I collected everything I could get my hands on and afford or I begged my parents for it. Action figures were, of course, always a part of that collection.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

I’m a toy photographer on a semi-professional and hobby basis and try to do a big, iconic Star Wars shot every year. This year, I got my hands on the Hasbro full-size Vader helmet and it looked perfectly scaled to use with 6″ and 3.75″ figures to recreate the iconic Star Wars poster. I had to “redesign” (cut up and add pieces to) Leia’s dress to match the one in the illustration. Lighting and getting the fog just right probably took 150+ shots! Having it work as well as it did was worth all the effort though.

What does winning mean to you?

My work has been recognized before, but this is a BIG DEAL! Being recognized officially by the people at StarWars.com and Lucasfilm/Disney is a fan artist’s dream come true!



"Balance" Star Wars Fan Award winning painting of Rey and Kylo Ren.

Balance by Madison T.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Star Wars fan. My older brother was already really into it by the time I was old enough to become interested in the films, so I grew up watching both the original trilogy and the prequels. In fact, my first Star Wars memory is crying because I wasn’t allowed to go see Attack of the Clones on its opening night. (I was only six at the time.) But when Revenge of the Sith came out three years later, I finally got to have the magical experience of seeing a Star Wars movie in theaters for the first time!

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

For me, the Force has always been the most fascinating element of the Star Wars universe. Its portrayal in the Mortis arc of The Clone Wars is especially beautiful, complex, and thought-provoking. It raises just as many questions as it does answers about what balancing the Force means, and about what the Force actually is as an entity. I love how the Father, Son, and Daughter represent certain aspects of the Force, and I think that is also the case with certain characters in the saga films. That is why I chose Rey and Ben Solo/Kylo Ren as the two characters I wanted in this piece. Light and dark, if you will.

Creating the final design of the composition was a long and difficult process. I started with a lot of sketches, and after narrowing the options down to a single idea, I began the process of digitally painting it. That design then went through several major alterations and transformations along the way. The composition I ended up with is quite different than what I originally imagined, but I think that it is stronger because of its numerous iterations. This is definitely one of the more difficult pieces I’ve ever worked on, but it is also one of the most rewarding.

What does winning mean to you?

To have my work recognized by fellow fans and by Lucasfilm’s panel of judges is an incredible honor for me. As an artist who is passionate about both my work and about Star Wars, seeing that people have responded so positively to the piece has been really wonderful. The sheer volume of support far surpassed what I ever could have expected, and I’m extremely grateful for and humbled by it. The Star Wars community truly is like a family, and I’ve never felt that more than during this process.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning Enfys Nest costume.

Enfys Nest Costume by Michaela M.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I always kind of grew up watching Star Wars movies but I really got into it with The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. It’s become a family event; we all cosplay as different Star Wars characters together.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

As soon as I saw the costume design for Enfys Nest I fell in love with it. Once I actually saw Solo, I knew I had to try making it.

The entire costume was a nonstop, 10-week project. The helmet alone took five of those weeks. It was easily the most complicated project I’ve ever undertaken. I spent hours researching details of the costume, some of which could only be seen on action figures of the character. I tried to create a screen-accurate costume, right down to the scuff marks. I also wanted to incorporate the working technology of the costume as much as possible. The electroripper staff, belt, and chest box all light up. I also built the vambraces to open and close on my arms, as well as a working voice changer in the helmet.

What does winning mean to you?

It’s an honor to have all my hard work be recognized by fans of the franchise. I originally created this costume as a personal project and a challenge to myself. The positive response has been overwhelming.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning Forgotten AT-AT diorama.

Forgotten AT-AT by Mirko M.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning krayt dragon custom figure.

Krayt Dragon Action Figure by Brad H.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

It happened the moment my mom popped in the VHS of A New Hope. The gears of my young imagination were set in motion and there was no going back. Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

The skeleton of the krayt dragon in the desert of Tatooine in Episode IV always caught my eye. It was one of the many blink-and-you-miss-it moments that has me re-watching Star Wars to this day. Growing up, very much alive and ferocious krayt dragons showed up in several video games I played. In the MMO Star Wars Galaxies, krayt hunting was a community event. Groups of eight or more players banded together to take down the massive beasts and claim the loot on the other side of victory. Years after regularly playing Galaxies, I was learning digital sculpting and looking for a challenging project to give myself. I found a screenshot I took in-game during a krayt hunt, and the fond memories fueled this project to completion.

What does winning mean to you?

Winning means a lot to me because I feel like I am contributing to the larger Star Wars community and getting to share my work on its biggest platform with people who will love the krayt dragon as much as I do.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning Kirie art with Rey and Kylo Ren.

切り絵:白と黒の共闘 (Kirie: Black and White Joined in Battle) by Yukiko K.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

Forty years ago, when I was a little child, I saw Star Wars for the first time. At that time, sci-fi animation was a fad in Japan, so I was interested in sci-fi. Space, robot, science, and future technology. I thought they were very cool! That’s why I was also interested in Star Wars. So I became a fan.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

I saw the scene where Rey and Kylo Ren fight together against a common enemy in The Last Jedi. I came up with the idea of expressing their “shape” of the Force with white and black feathers.

What does winning mean to you?

My dream is for many people to know Japanese paper cutting art (called “Kirie”) and my Star Wars fan artwork.
I was chosen as a winner, so more people will see my Kirie artwork. That’s a very happy thing for me, and I was chosen as a finalist for the Audience Choice award. I’m so happy!



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning illustration of Darth Maul.

Darth Maul Drawing by Justin M.


Genre: Photo


Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning family photo.

Rey, BB-8, & Chewbacca on Jakku by Brianna E.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I don’t remember the exact moment because I grew up on Star Wars. Even my first celebrity crush as a kid was Harrison Ford. Star Wars has always been a classic to me, a series of movies you can watch over and over again, in different orders, and never tire of.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

My children are my biggest inspiration, so combining the love for my children, my dog, photography, and Star Wars seemed like a no-brainer!

What does winning mean to you?

Winning means so much to me! I’ve never won anything for any of my photography. And for my first two awards to be for one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken, it really warms my heart.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 Audience Choice award winner photo of a father (dressed as Rex) and his daughter (dressed as Rey).

Rex and Baby Rey Family Portrait by Isaiah T.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I have been a HUGE Star Wars fan for my entire life! For as long as I can remember. The original trilogy was basically playing all day long in my house. One of my favorite Star Wars memories was going to see the midnight showing of The Phantom Menace on opening night! I just remember sitting there, hearing the music and seeing the text crawl on the big screen for the first time! Gives me chills just thinking about it! Star Wars was a huge part of my childhood and remains a huge part of my life. It’s so awesome to be able to share my passion for it with my own children now!

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

My entry for the Star Wars Fan Awards happens to be a shot taken on Halloween with my daughter and me. I was dressed as one of my favorite characters, Captain Rex. She was her most favorite, Rey. We decided to have a little photo shoot in the backyard and my wife was able to snap this perfect shot! If you know our daughter, then you know it is no easy task getting her to stay still for a picture. This moment snapped in time will be one of my most cherished memories for the rest of my life.

What does winning mean to you?

Winning this award, especially the Audience Choice award, is so humbling and incredible! To have this picture chosen by other Star Wars fans amongst so many other amazing shots is such an honor! We just want to take the opportunity to again thank everyone who voted for us! We are so grateful and appreciative! Thank you also to Star Wars and Disney for the amazing opportunity! May the Force be with you always!



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning photo of Ewok figures looking at a real chicken.

You Think This Is Weird…Wait Till You See the Egg by Aaron A.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

The way I became a Star Wars fan is the reason why I still love it today — it’s a chance to just relax and get drawn into a world where the stress of everyday life can’t get to me. With my two young children we can enjoy it together, and they have the opportunity to experience the fun and adventure that caught my attention all those years ago.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

To just try to be a part of the fantastic Star Wars universe. It’s been such a big part of my life since I was young and the opportunity to have my name attached to even a little piece of it was my main focus. Like nearly every Star Wars fan out there I have my own movie and creative ideas floating around my head and to have a way to express that with like-minded fans is incredible.

What does winning mean to you?

Winning a Star Wars Fan Award is such a great moment, it’s going to be an awesome way to show my children that you can achieve things if you just put yourself out there and try.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning Nien Nunb salad.

Nien Nunb Prosciutto Salad by Atsuko W.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I have been watching the movies since I was a little, but I think that I have gradually understood [it more] deeply since becoming an adult. Now my son is a Star Wars, fan so we enjoy it together.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

All the materials of the work are familiar. Work was done in the kitchen with chopsticks, kitchen scissors, and petty knife. I shot it using a smartphone on the dining table.

After shooting, I ate everything.

What does winning mean to you?

My dream is to have work on the Star Wars website, so I’m very happy.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning photo of a dog dressed as a porg.

A Dog Hope by Kazuya O.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I saw Episode IV at a movie theater as a child. Since then, I’ve been a Star Wars fan.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

I love Episode VIII’s interaction between Chewbacca and the porg. So the idea was that I wanted my dog to interact with a porg.

What does winning mean to you?

Of course, this honor is a treasure of a lifetime. Thank you very much. It may be an exaggeration, but I feel like a part of Star Wars history.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winning photo of a Rey action figure called "Scavenger."

Scavenger by Carlo V.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

I was introduced to Star Wars when I was around five years old by my dad and grandad, who are huge fans. I would sit and watch the original trilogy with them on the weekends and they would also encourage me to collect action figures. Star Wars turned into a sort of family tradition, and now I share it with my own family.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry, and how was the experience making it?

Rey was the main inspiration for my photo. My hobby is action figure photography and I build all of my sets from scratch using recycled materials, pretty much the same way Rey scavenges for parts. It just felt right for me to take that concept and recreate with an action figure.

What does winning mean to you? 

It validates my hard work and passion for the 3.75” line of toys that I have loved and cherished since I was a child. Having my art recognized publicly is surreal and makes me very grateful and encourages me to keep on sharing my work with this community of fans and creators who have inspired us since we were kids.



Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 winner - vintage photo of a young Star Wars fan opening toys.

Vintage Joy: In Between Star Wars and Disney by Adam M.

How did you become a Star Wars fan?

The Empire Strikes Back is the first film I remember seeing in a theater, and it remains my favorite film of all time. I have a weird memory of staring into the mirror and attempting to fast forward time so I could know if Vader REALLY was Luke’s father or not. It didn’t work.

What was the inspiration for your Star Wars Fan Awards entry?

I have a glass case where I keep a few of my childhood Star Wars toys on display, and this photo of me at age five sits atop the case. While there are plenty other vintage photos of me with various Star Wars memorabilia, I’ve always felt this one was particularly special. You can see how filled with joy I am, and the connection of Star Wars and joy has never dissipated for me.

What does winning mean to you?

It seems preposterous, to be honest. I know there were many, many equally deserving entries. I just happened to be really happy in a photograph.

Watch The Star Wars Show‘s Star Wars Fan Awards 2018 special below!

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Meet the Winners of the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018!

Vote Today in the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018!


It’s the final day to cast your ballots in the Star Wars Fan Awards 2018.

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. PST tonight, which gives you just a few more hours to let your voice be heard in the judging of this year’s finest Star Wars fan-made creations.

Our panel of judges has narrowed it down to the best of the best, and we need your help to make the final call over at StarWarsFanAwards.com.

The entries with the most votes will win the coveted Audience Choice award in the genres of Long Video (up to 5 minutes long), Short Video (up to 15 seconds long), Photography, and Visual Art.

Remember to check back in December when the full list of winners, including those chosen by a panel of Lucasfilm judges, will be announced in a special episode of The Star Wars Show!

An expansion of the Star Wars Fan Film Awards, a longstanding Lucasfilm tradition, the Star Wars Fan Awards are here to celebrate the unique talents in the Star Wars fan galaxy.

StarWars.com All Star Wars all the time.


How Starlight Xperience Turns Ailing Kids into Astro-Mechanics


You can almost smell the stink of oil baths and grease in the air as BB-8 arrives, beeping plaintively as he plops down on the repair bay platform. As a technician aboard General Leia Organa’s ship, the Resistance is counting on you to keep the most essential astromechs in working order and help fix those who have fallen into disrepair.

For the last year, ILMxLAB’s VR experience Star Wars: Droid Repair Bay – Astro-Mechanic for the Resistance has been transporting fans to a galaxy far, far away through immersive virtual reality. Now it’s part of an innovative new platform that’s giving hospitalized children the chance to help a one-of-a-kind orange and white droid in need without ever leaving their beds.

Chris Helfrich speaks at an event to launch 'Starlight Xperience.'

Recently, Starlight Children’s Foundation announced Starlight Xperience, the ambitious and groundbreaking new technology program that brings comfort to seriously ill children through virtual reality headsets, both as a reprieve from the boredom of being cooped up in the hospital and a form of “distraction therapy,” says Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “Happy kids heal faster. That’s why we do what we do,” Helfrich says. “What inspired it was the question that we ask ourselves everyday, which is: How can we make the hospital experience for seriously ill children better? How can we bring joy and excitement to kids in this otherwise really difficult time?”

Starlight Gowns

The foundation’s noble efforts to bring comfort and joy to children in hospitals runs the gamut from low-tech ideas to improve outdated essentials to cutting-edge technology, specially modifying commercially available platforms to meet strict infection safety protocols.

Samples of Starlight Gowns are shown.

About two years ago, the organization launched Starlight Gowns, an innovative redesign of hospital-issue robes that incorporates costumes from Star Wars characters including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and R2-D2. “It’s our effort to improve the hospital experience by turning a source of misery for a child — an old, uncomfortable hospital gown that hasn’t been redesigned in any significant way in over 100 years — and turn it into a source of joy for a child,” Helfrich says. The line offers a softer, more comfortable alternative, “like your favorite T-shirt,” that still gives physicians and other medical professionals the access needed to perform tests and procedures. “They tie down the side instead of down the middle of the back so there’s good privacy and your butt’s not hanging out,” Helfrich adds.

The gowns can also be a source of empowerment, and a way for children to express their individuality. “We’ve been able to transform these kids into their favorite Star Wars characters,” Helfrich says.

‘Healers in the world of Star Wars’

This summer, a pilot program for Starlight Xperience was launched and tested at five children’s hospitals: Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford; Children’s Hospital Colorado; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul, Minn.; and Texas Children’s Hospital. The headsets include several different pre-loaded experiences, games, and puzzles, including Droid Repair Bay. “For us, it was an idea that was rooted in our longstanding commitment to make the hospital experience as fun and entertaining as possible,” Helfrich says.

“We know that VR has the potential to transport us to other worlds and establish deep and intimate connections with characters, but Droid Repair Bay, in particular, had a clear and obvious alignment with the Starlight Children’s Foundation program,” adds ILMxLAB’s Vicki Dobbs Beck. “In the experience, your mission is to assist the Droid Doctor and nurse droids in repairing injured or malfunctioning droids, so they can return to their posts and continue supporting the efforts of the Resistance. It was a unique and empowering opportunity for children in the hospital — one in which those seeking healing in the real world become the healers in the world of Star Wars.”

“If you have a child in the hospital it can often be a sad and scary and anxiety-provoking time and so being able to prevent or stop a child’s fear or anxiety and replace it with a smile has real positive consequences,” Helfrich adds. “Our programs, first and foremost, are designed to bring happiness to sick kids. I think the medical benefits from that are fantastic.”

The headsets can be used as a reprieve from boredom, a reward for being brave during a long day of tests, therapy, and procedures, or even a way to distract from scary or painful experiences as they transpire.

“Whether it’s having their port accessed, their blood drawn, or burn bandages changed, we’ve seen this program being used effectively to reduce fear and anxiety during those often painful procedures,” Helfrich says. “[A child] can get through a procedure just by being immersed in a headset and he or she can go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef or on a trip to the Eiffel Tower.” Or by joining the Resistance and becoming a part of the Star Wars story.

“The deeply immersive nature of VR is truly transportive, and, as such, has the potential to completely absorb you in the richness of another world, and engage you with the opportunity to explore and discover,” Dobbs Beck adds. “Well-crafted experiences can also be multi-sensory — enchanting you through what you see, hear and feel.”

Children meet BB-8 at the Starlight Children's Foundation event to launch 'Starlight Xperience.'

2,000 units

Starlight plans to distribute about 1,000 of the first Starlight Xperience units by the end of 2018, with the hopes of at least doubling the number of headsets in use next year, reaching children in over 200 different hospitals by the end of 2019. “All kids deserve to experience all of the magic and wonder of childhood,” Helfrich says. The programs have also proven effective for entire families, including parents and siblings. “For parents especially, the joy it brings parents to see a smile on their child’s face as he or she battles a serious illness or goes through a serious injury, it’s important.”

Starlight Xperience launched last month in collaboration with Star Wars: Force for Change, one of the program’s founding sponsors, Lucasfilm, and The Walt Disney Company.

“We believe Starlight Xperience has the potential to transform the hospital experience for millions of seriously ill children and their families,” says Helfrich, making children in need fell more powerful than they could have possibly imagined.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you love most about Star Wars!

How Starlight Xperience Turns Ailing Kids into Astro-Mechanics

Our Star Wars Stories: What is Your Favorite Star Wars Event Experience?


In StarWars.com’s new digital series Our Star Wars Stories, Jordan Hembrough travels the country talking to fans about the many ways that Star Wars has impacted their lives. In addition to the series, we’ve asked these fans some essential Star Wars questions. This week, the Perales family answers a big one: What is your favorite Star Wars event experience? Watch their response below!

But that’s not all — we also posed this question to some Lucasfilm employees. Check out their answers, and let us know your pick in the comments!

John Williams with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy after his surprise performance at Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017.

Pete Vilmur of Lucasfilm with his Star Wars Celebration Orlando badge and ticket and wristband for the 40th anniversary panel.

“Picking my favorite experience from an event was tough, as I’ve been attending science fiction conventions since the early ‘80s. But if I had to choose, my favorite moment was actually quite recent — the surprise John Williams Star Wars concert hosted at Star Wars Celebration Orlando in 2017, which closed out the 40th anniversary panel. I’d seen Williams in concert before, but not one dedicated exclusively to Star Wars, and certainly not one that was totally unexpected. When the lights came up following the Carrie Fisher tribute, I was absolutely floored to discover that Williams was actually on stage to lead the symphony (my in-the-know Lucasfilm colleagues had held the secret very close). His opening with his classic “Princess Leia’s Theme” (my favorite of the entire saga) made this a home run of a Celebration experience, and one of the most emotionally poignant for me.” – Pete Vilmur (Senior Writer, Lucasfilm Publicity)
Amanda Jean Camarillo of Lucasfilm getting an R2-D2 tattoo.
Amanda Jean Camarillo of Lucasfilm showing off her Star Wars tattoos.

Star Wars Celebration is my favorite convention to attend, and one thing that I love to do there is to get a tattoo from the artists at Ink Fusion Empire. My first time getting one at Celebration was in 2015, when I got an R2-D2 with a heart hologram by Josh Bodwell. The experience was a lot of fun; it gave me a chance to get a tattoo from an artist I love that isn’t local to me, and I got to leave the convention with a permanent souvenir. I loved it so much that I got another tattoo at Celebration London in 2016. That time, I got a tauntaun with rainbow glitter guts by Rizza Boo. I can’t wait until Celebration Chicago next year to hopefully get another.” – Amanda Jean Camarillo (Digital Production Coordinator, StarWars.com)

Pablo Hidalgo of Lucasfilm rides a dewback fan-made prop at Star Wars Celebration.

Pablo Hidalgo of Lucasfilm.

“My favorite thing at Star Wars conventions is the large scale builds delivered by such fan groups as the Belgian Star Wars prop crew, the German Project X-1 team, or the 501st Legion in the case of the beloved Roxy the Rancor. Any Star Wars Celebration is a showcase of passion and dedication, but these are the ones that literally stand above the crowds — things like a full-scale TIE fighter, a recreation of the Millennium Falcon interiora sixth-scale AT-AT walker, or the life-sized dewback I once rode at Celebration Japan 10 years ago. Back in the day when Lucasfilm wasn’t in production on a film, Celebration was literally the only place to see anything like that.” – Pablo Hidalgo (Senior Creative Executive, Lucasfilm Story Group)

In case you missed it, be sure to check out the Perales family’s episode of Our Star Wars Stories.

Watch Our Star Wars Stories on the official Star Wars YouTube channel and on StarWars.com/OSWS.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Our Star Wars Stories: What is Your Favorite Star Wars Event Experience?

Star Wars Costumes of Halloweens Past


Since 1977, Star Wars and Halloween have been conjuring up a colorful connection like no other. Almost instantly, the film’s distinct wardrobe and imaginative character design flew off the screen, landing into the collective consciousness of trick-or-treaters and Halloween costumers. Appropriately enough, some of the earliest Star Wars licensees hawked Halloween-related goods. (Some are on display at Lucasfilm right now.)

This merchandise niche has since transformed into a creature of wampa-like proportions, with far too many product highlights to mention. To celebrate this frighteningly fun history, StarWars.com scares up a few of the ghosts of Halloweens past.

Ben Cooper Inc. Costumes

When the first Star Wars film arrived, Ben Cooper Inc. was the 800-pound pumpkin in the Halloween costume business. They specialized in simplistic and affordable kiddie outfits, each featuring vacuum-formed masks made of thin plastic, an elastic string on the back to keep it in place. The accompanying slip-on suit — made of either thin cloth or vinyl-like material — typically skipped any hint of realism with a bold, dynamic illustration of the character on the front.

Ben Cooper Star Wars Halloween masks.

Above and below: Ben Cooper Princess Leia costumes from Star Wars fan Justin Haynie’s personal collection.

Ben Cooper Princess Leia costumes.

“Instead of costuming and trying to represent the character, you were almost a walking billboard on Halloween, showing how big of a fan you were,” says Star Wars memorabilia collector Justin Haynie of Lawrenceville, Georgia.

In the late 1930s, Ben Cooper made its mark with a Mickey Mouse costume, and continued its decades-long success creating outfits based on popular kid-centric characters. By 1977, the company had enough foresight to snag the Star Wars license before the movie’s release.

That Halloween, not even five months after Star Wars hit, young fans were clamoring for Ben Cooper Star Wars gear, causing a shortage at some stores throughout the country. You could choose from Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and C-3PO.

Cheralyn Lambeth, ready to help R2-D2 deliver the Death Star plans.

Cheralyn Lambeth of Charlotte, North Carolina, was lucky enough to grab a Threepio costume that first Halloween, and wore it as part of a troop of candy-seeking friends, each donning their own Star Wars duds. More than 40 years later, Lambeth creates elaborate props for film, TV, and live events. Yet, she holds serious fangirl affection for that kitschy C-3PO costume, and still owns it today.

In tandem with the release of the original trilogy, Ben Cooper continued rolling out more Star Wars costumes, from Princess Leia to Boba Fett. Collectors often salivate over the four featuring Revenge of the Jedi (the original title of Return of the Jedi) branding on the costumes themselves: Wicket, Admiral Ackbar, Gamorrean Guard, and Klaatu.

Brann Dailor's vintage Star Wars Halloween masks.

Brann Dailor’s vintage Star Wars Halloween masks.

As a child, Brann Dailor, drummer for hard rock band Mastodon, fell under the spell of Star Wars Ben Cooper costumes. His mom had a knack for costume creation, so Dailor says he would often bypass the suit portion and pair the mask with homemade and found apparel and accessories. When rocking the Yoda mask, Dailor had a rubber snake, a walking stick, and a DIY robe. Bundling up bode well, he says, on cold Halloween nights in upstate New York.

“One Halloween I wore the Ben Cooper stormtrooper mask and white long underwear,” Dailor says. “We packed it with stuffing and used a black magic marker to draw the outlines of the armor.”

Today, the Grammy-winning musician keeps his original Ben Cooper masks in his Star Wars collection, alongside the popular Don Post stormtroooper and Darth Vader helmets from the late 1970s.

Don Post Studios

This company, whose namesake developed the first over-the-head latex mask, knew a screaming good opportunity when they saw one and became an early Star Wars licensee. The denizens of Lucasfilm’s galaxy fit right in alongside the ghouls, goblins, classic movie monsters, and other characters Post and his crew were immortalizing in latex.

The initial 1977 release featured Darth Vader and stormtrooper helmets, and C-3PO and Chewbacca masks. The latter, with its open-mouthed face, was discontinued after a 500-piece run. Unhappy with the likeness, Don Post Studios resculpted Chewie’s mug and gave the Wookiee a closed mouth for the 1978 version.

Long before online shopping, countless fans bought their masks via mail order ads found in the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland and other genre magazines. This included a then 13-year-old Bob Bean of Atlanta, Georgia, who deemed himself too old for Ben Cooper. After stocking up allowance money, Bean received his Vader helmet in time for Halloween.

“So I started making the rest of the costume myself,” recalls Bean, who now works as a professional prop maker in the entertainment industry. “I used vacuum cleaner parts to make a lightsaber, and my grandmother gave me an old cape.” You can see the most impressive results to the right.

An array of other Don Post masks followed, including a Yoda to coincide with the release of The Empire Strikes Back. The mask even scored a cameo in the trick-or-treat scene in 1982’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Star Wars fan Blake Morgan in his Nute Gunray mask.

Send in the droids: Star Wars fan Blake Morgan in his Nute Gunray mask.

Up until 2000, Don Post Studios continued producing Star Wars masks, including characters from The Phantom Menace. These masks still attract teens, including 18-year-old Blake Morgan of Acworth, Georgia, whose collection not only stirs up his own Halloween spirit, but stokes the fires of his Star Wars fandom.

Morgan marvels at the attention to detail, from the tiny whiskers on Watto’s chin to Nute Gunray’s cloth headdress. “When you put on the Gunray mask and look through the lenses,” he says, “it gives you distorted vision as if you were him.”

The Tradition Continues

After more than four decades of Star Wars Halloween, today’s generation of trick-or-treaters carries the lightsaber. Like Vader and the Emperor, Star Wars and Halloween go together as the perfect pair. The cinematic series claims a Death Star-size niche within the season, forging its own kind of tradition within.

“People want to live in the Star Wars universe,” Haynie says, “and the costuming aspect of Halloween really plays into it.”

Jon Waterhouse is an award-winning journalist, radio show host, and performer whose byline has appeared in a variety of print and online publications including EsquireBlackBook, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and on MTV.com. He helms the geek travel blog NerdsOnHoliday.com.

Star Wars Costumes of Halloweens Past

Our Star Wars Stories: Who Was Your First Star Wars Friend?


In StarWars.com’s new digital series Our Star Wars Stories, Jordan Hembrough travels the country talking to fans about the many ways that Star Wars has impacted their lives. In addition to the series, we’ve asked these fans some essential Star Wars questions. This week, FJ answers a big one: Who was your first Star Wars friend? Watch his response below!

But that’s not all — we also posed this question to some Lucasfilm employees. Check out their answers, and let us know your pick in the comments!

Chris Hawkinson of ILM holds a photo of himself and his daughter, his first Star Wars friend.

“My friends were all into it as long as I can remember, and we shared midnight screenings of the Special Editions and every new Episode, but I never felt a more impactful bond than when I watched Star Wars for the first time with my daughter Amelia Blue. We’ve read Star Wars books to her since she was born, and when she was four years old we decided to try watching A New Hope. To my surprise, she sat through it with popcorn in hand. It was a special moment when her eyes lit up at the sight of a lightsaber, or when she smiled as she learned Leia was a princess, or cowered when she first saw Darth Vader. The third time she requested that we watch Empire Strikes Back for our Friday family movie night, I knew she wasn’t just entertaining her geek-dad. It’s something we share together as a family, and we look forward to the next film ever year.” – Chris Hawkinson (Digital Media Manager, ILM)
Lucasfilm's Michelle Halevi with a photo of her family -- her first Star Wars friends.

“The first to introduce and share Star Wars with me were my parents and older sister. My parents were software engineers that met working on the International Space Station, so you can imagine that space and sci-fi movies were celebrated in our household. A New Hope was frequently on our TV, but my first impactful memory in a galaxy far, far away was seeing Episode I in theaters in 1999. I was obsessed. It was the first movie theater experience that really stuck with me past that first day — it was so immersive, I wanted to see it again and again. Huge thanks to my parents and sister for encouraging the ‘nerdy’ stuff and getting me into the Star Wars universe!” – Michelle Halevi (QA Brand Lead, Lucasfilm Games Team)

Billy Ray Chubbs of ILM holds a photo of himself and a childhood neighbor, his first Star Wars friend.

Mine was a girl named Kelly Martin. We became friends because our parents took us to see Star Wars in 1977, and we basically met that day. We lived next door to each other and played together our entire lives, and we are still BFFs to this very day. I’m her son’s godfather, and she’s my kids’ godmother, and when we were little we swore we were gonna grow up to build the Millinnium Falcon together! So, Star Wars was pretty much the reason we became friends.” – Billy Ray Chubbs (Motion Capture Performer, Lucasfilm)

In case you missed it, be sure to check out FJ’s episode of Our Star Wars Stories.

Watch new episodes of Our Star Wars Stories on the official Star Wars YouTubeTwitter, and Facebook pages, and on StarWars.com every Tuesday.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Our Star Wars Stories: Who Was Your First Star Wars Friend?