Cosplay—the act of dressing up and performing as a character other than yourself—is always a big draw at pop culture conventions, and Celebration is no exception. When I arrived Thursday, I was a little shocked to see just how prevalent costuming really was. I saw characters from ever facet of the saga; major film characters, like Han Solo and Darth Vader, were joined by major EU characters, such as Thrawn and Mara Jade. Of course, there were plenty of Jedi, plenty of Clone and Stormtroopers, plenty of Rebel pilots, and a plethora of Mandalorian mercs to join them; though not representing specific characters, per se, each costume matched an organization in the Star Wars universe. In addition to all of these, I've noticed several mashup characters—characters from other franchises, adapted to fit into Star Wars— and even a few costumes mimicking some elements in the saga's real-world history, such as a Kenner Hammerhead figure. Even characters from The Force Awakens, like Rey, who have been shown on screen for mere seconds, have representations present. Everywhere you look, there's someone in costume; the fun is figuring out who—or what—they're representing.
Once I knew I was going to be at Celebration, I knew I wanted to dress up. Though I'd done some low-key venues in costume before, I'd never done one in an actual convention setting, so I was quite excited at the prospect. It didn't take long for me to decide on memetic Star Wars bad-ass Kyle Katarn, and I whipped up a suitable costume in the few weeks I had before the start of the con. I have not been disappointed with my choice. On Friday, I joined the huge crowds milling around the convention floor in my Katarn outfit and was immediately recognized. Several people throughout the day stopped at the Wikia booth solely to complement me on the outfit. One rebel pilot, after taking a picture, mentioned that he was "collecting Kyles"—I was his fourth of the con. I managed to find one of these other Kyles and take a picture myself.
The amount of care and detail these fans put into their outfits is nothing short of astounding. I learned firsthand how difficult it can be if you're shooting for an accurate costume. Many hours are spent pouring over images and descriptions to figure out how items fit, deciding and collecting materials for the piece, and fitting and fabricating the outfit itself. However, at least for me, all of that work and time paid off as soon as I heard that first "Kyle Katarn!" Knowing that you've been recognized, that someone felt compelled to stop and shake your hand because you're portraying a character they know... it's a great feeling.
Have you seen any Star Wars costumes at Celebration (or any convention) that you've really liked? Who would you choose to cosplay if you had the chance? Leave a note in the comments below!