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The 501st Legion is an international fan-based organization dedicated to building and wearing screen-accurate costumes of villains from the Star Wars universe. The 501st Legion, aka Vader’s Fist, is made up entirely of volunteers.


Formed in South Carolina by Albin Johnson and Tom Crews in August 1997, the Legion now has over 14,000 active members worldwide, with over 32,000 approved costumes. The Legion is active on 6 continents, with local units known as “Garrisons” and “Outposts” in over 60 countries.


Legion members make appearances at casual, promotional, and charitable events, often at the request of Lucasfilm’s Fan Events department. Although not officially affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Lucasfilm LLC., the 501st Legion is Lucasfilm’s preferred Imperial costuming organization.



Encourage interest in Star Wars

 While a growing number of people are experiencing a revival of their Star Wars fandom, new generations are searching for ways to celebrate their passion for George Lucas’s  modern mythology. The 501st Legion brings together these fans and strengthens the Star Wars saga’s place in our lives.

Facilitate use of costumes

Some fans are happy to collect action figures. Other fans want to be those action figures… Nothing shows your passion for Star Wars as much as building your own detailed replica of a classic Star Wars villain’s costume. There is nothing like the feeling that comes from bringing the characters from Star Wars into the real world and sharing the magic with others.

Giving back

While our organisation was formed to provide a collective identity for costuming fans with similar interests, the 501st Legion is proud to be able to use its resources to do some good by supporting local charity organisations in their work. Read more about our charity work here.


The Legion helps members to connect with fellow Star Wars costumers through two organizational networks: one based on geographical location and one based on costume types.


Local Units

As a worldwide organization that fields dozens of appearance requests daily, the Legion has set up local units to better handle tasks like event coordination, promotion, recruitment, and discipline.


There are three kinds of local units.


Garrisons are the largest type of local unit. A garrison must have at least 25 active members, but there is no upper limit on how many members can belong to a garrison. There are 76 garrisons worldwide, the largest of which is German Garrison, with over 1000 members.



Squads are subdivisions of garrisons, established to better serve members in distinct regions within a garrison’s territory. Squads are formed of at least 10 members of a garrison, residing within a reasonably close, clearly defined geographic region. There is no requirement for a garrison to have any squads, and many do not. Other garrisons, especially those that cover large geographic areas, have several Squads to better serve their members. There are 78 squads amongst the 501st Legion’s garrisons.


Outposts are the smallest Legion unit, and can have as few as one Legion member. They are most often established when a new member joins the Legion and lives in an area that lies outside the borders of an existing garrison. There are 30 outposts in the Legion worldwide.


While Garrisons, Squads, and Outposts contain members with all varieties of Legion costumes, bound by a common geographic region, Legion Detachments contain members who are tied together by a common costume, but who live all over the world.


There are sixteen Legion costume Detachments. Each is dedicated to researching, constructing, and promoting a distinct group of costumes in the 501st. The Legion’s costume references are stored on the Detachment websites, and their message boards contain tutorials on how to build the costumes that they have domain over.

Imperial Cog