For over two decades, the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers has been dressing up as bad guys to do good things. With over thirteen thousand active members worldwide, the 501st has been making appearances in costume at charitable and promotional events since it was founded by two South Carolina Star Wars fans in 1997.
This past Thursday, on the first night of Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago, the 501st Legion banded together with six other Star Wars fan groups (namely Droid Builders, Mandalorian Mercs, Galactic Academy, Saber Guild, Rebel Legion, and The Dark Empire) to hold an all-out Multi-Club Bash at the city’s jaw-dropping Museum of Science & Industry.
Themed as “A Night at Canto Bight,” this year’s 501st Legion Bash took on a decidedly casino-like atmosphere, with Earth-bound casino games like craps, roulette, and blackjack (sorry, no Sabacc) available for free to all attendees. You couldn’t win anything, but there was nothing to lose in doubling down on your bets either. Guests also received a bag of Bash logo chips marked with the emblems of each group.
Beyond the casino games, there was an open bar and plenty of “heavy hors d’ouvres” finger foods with (perhaps coincidentally) Star Wars-inspired names like Wedge Salad. On tap for entertainment was live music like the Star Wars, sci-fi, and 80s tribute bands Darth Elvis & The Imperials, Wesley and the Crushers, and the excellent Blues Harvest, in addition to Star Wars Celebration mainstay DJ Elliot spinning intergalactic tunes alongside emcees Mark Daniel and David Collins.
Perhaps the absolute best part of the evening at the 501st Bash was the fact that the Museum of Science & Industry’s exhibits were open for attendees to explore at their will throughout the night. Plus, special guests like Star Wars Rebels voice actor Taylor Gray (AKA Ezra Bridger) and George Lucas’s son Jett even showed up to join in on the festivities.
It was an amazingly fun way to kick off Star Wars Celebration 2019, and a perfect evening to pay tribute to all the wonderful fan groups that do such amazing things for the community at large. For more information on the 501st Legion, be sure to visit the club’s official website.
Mike serves as Laughing Place’s lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars podcast. He’s been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general since a very young age and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.