The 501st Legion is the largest costume enthusiast club dedicated to the Star Wars universe. Founded in 1997 by Albin Johnson, it is currently present in over 55 countries and, as of January 2019, has over 13 200 members.
The Legion’s specialty is to represent the “bad guys” of Star Wars. Along with its allied groups, the Rebel Legion, the Mandalorian Mercs and the R2 Builders, it helps bring to life the Star Wars universe to all fans big and small.
All club members are volunteers. Although it is not directly sponsored by Lucasfilm or Disney, the 501st Legion is Lucasfilm’s favourite cosplay group for villains. The company often calls upon the Legion for promotional and corporate events.
The 501st Legion distinguishes itself by the quality of their costumes. Each costume worn by a member has been through a rigorous construction and approval process where every detail was scrutinized in order to match the quality of the original movie costumes.
The 501st Legion is also proud to boast a large variety of costumes. Although the original group only consisted of stormtroopers, it now has over 300 different costumes covering the original trilogy, prequels, animated series, comic books, and the latest movies.
For more information on the 501st Legion, we invite you to visit the organization’s main web site at www.501st.com.
The Forteresse Imperiale
The Forteresse Imperiale Garrison is the Quebec chapter of the 501st Legion. It was founded in 2009 as a sub-group (squad) of the Canadian Garrison.
With the increasing popularity of the Star Wars movies, its membership has grown fast. In January 2019, it had over 120 active members. Also in 2017, following the examples of the Ottawa region and the western provinces, the squad became an independent garrison.
Every year, the Forteresse Imperiale participates in over 50 events. The most important of those is without a doubt the Montreal Comiccon, which is held every July at the Palais des Congrès.
For that event, and also the Quebec-city Comiccon, the Forteresse created a life-size replica of the Emperor's Throne Room from The Return of the Jedi. It has been used ever since as a backdrop for our photo booth where people can get their pictures taken with us in exchange for a voluntary donation to a charity organization.
Other notable events include the Montreal Santa and St-Patrick’s Day parade, visits at children’s hospitals, and of course in theatres when new movies are released.
The Forteresse Imperiale also has the privilege of having other groups with them during events. With these allies, the club is able to offer a wider and more complete experience to the public.
The Rebel Legion - Canadian Base
The Rebel Legion is the sister-club of the 501st Legion. Unlike the 501st, which specializes in the villains of Star Wars, the Rebel Legion represents the heroes of Star Wars with the Rebel Alliance, the Resistance, the Jedi, and other characters of the Old Republic.
Although there is no specific Quebec division of the Rebel Legion, there are many here who are members of the Canadian Base and they often participate in the same events as the 501st.
Mandalorians are a warlike people from the Star Wars universe. To the general public, two are particularly known: Jango Fett, and his son Boba Fett. Aside from their fierce and military-style outfits, Mandalorian costumes have the advantage of being easily adaptable and customizable.
In Quebec, the Mandalorian Mercenaries (often called Mandos) are represented by the Gaht Kyr’bes Clan, a group founded in 2013 which included 26 member in early 2017.
It’s hard to think about Star Wars without thinking about droids. But building a fully functional droid is not an easy task. The R2 Builders’ Club was founded so that builders could help each other in making their own droids.
Having droids in our various events is always a crowd pleaser. Although the Quebec chapter of the Builders’ Club is quite new, it has a very good start in helping to share knowledge on droid creation and to promote cooperation with the Forteresse.