Star Wars fans show their love for the beloved sci-fi films in nearly as many ways as the galaxy has stars. Some dress up like their favorite characters, others collect super-rare Star Wars stuff and even more binge watch the movies two, three or four at a time before standing out in the cold, hoping to get a coveted movie premiere ticket. And even though Star Wars first hit the silver screen back in 1977, fan fever has yet to go away.
Some of the most high-profile Seattle Star Wars super-fans around are the members of the 501st Legion: Titan Garrison. These 180 Lucasfilm-approved Star Wars cosplayers can be seen in their Stormtrooper armor, Darth Vader outfits, biker scout gear and other villainous attire at events all around western Washington, from movie premieres to the State Fair to Comicon.
Basically, these guys are everywhere.
"The motto of the 501st Legion is 'Bad Guys Doing Good,'" said Matthew Brown, leader of the Washington 501st Legion. Brown says the only thing stronger than their love of Star Wars is their dedication to doing good. Brown says the WA 501st collects tens of thousands of dollars every year for local charities like Seattle Children's Hospital, Toys for Tots and The Make a Wish Foundation.
"As a kid, it hit me on many levels. Star Wars was just phenomenal," said collector Gus Lopez. "It was a film that changed the film industry forever, and pop culture."
Lopez mainly collects food items, toys, toy prototypes and film-used movie props and costumes. Needless to say, his collection is impressive. He has a display case full of blasters, creature masks used in the movies and even the original Death Star from "Star Wars: a New Hope".
"It didn't happen overnight," he said. "In fact, it started with me wanting to get all the loose action figures I din't have as a kid - and from there it kinda snowballed."
Lopez's home is chock-full of notable Star Wars stuff including original concept art, a jacket worn by a crew number while shooting "The Empire Strikes Back" on Planet Hoth and the framework for Jabba-the-Hutt's tail.
Oh - and he's got alarm systems, so don't get any ideas.