Interview with a Stormtrooper
He goes by Lord Volvo, aka TK-1984. Lord Volvo is a 41 year old government media professional from Dayton, Ohio. But when he’s not working in his media job, Lord Volvo enjoys music, meteorology, Volvos, amateur acting, and ‘Stormtrooping.’
PS: Did you say ‘Stormtrooping?’
LV: Yeah. I’m a member of the 501st Legion, Ohio Garrison which is a group of folks who buy and assemble authentic-looking Star Wars costumes, but only the bad guys.
PS: How did you become involved in this?
LV: A guy I work with told me about this club and one day walked into my office wearing his Stormtrooper outfit. Immediately I was hooked and joined the group a few months later.
ISA: What’s it like to wear the Stormtrooper costume?
LV: Awesome. And uncomfortable, but you get used to it. Since it’s made of plastic panels that conceal parts of your body, it doesn’t breathe and you sweat a lot. My black undersuit is a dancer’s unitard which does breathe well but only where the plastic isn’t covering it. My helmet is tricked out with fans to keep me cool and prevent the eye lenses from fogging up.
PS: Where do you go wearing your costume?
LV: We raise money for charities, primarily those that benefit children. We also attend sci-fi conventions, march in parades, surprise kids at their birthday parties, and any other reason to play dress-up. Many local philharmonics perform concerts of the music of John Williams. Naturally, they dedicate a good portion of the show to Star Wars. Often we are asked to attend these events either as greeters or doing a short bit on stage, which I’ve done several times. Weird Al Yankovic asks the local 501st if they would like to perform a skit on stage with him during his Star Wars songs; I’ve done that three times so far.
PS: How long have you been participating in these events?
LV: Since 2003.
PS: What events stand out the most to you? And which events do you think are the most fun?
LV: My most memorable event was the first concert I did for Weird Al in Cincinnati. (There’s video of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N32osSc0TXw I’m the second trooper from the left.) The audience went nuts when we walked on stage, and there’s nothing like seeing all of those camera flashes going off.
PS: What makes you do it?
LV: It allows me to keep in touch with the kid in me. I remember watching Star Wars for the very first time at age 9 and being blown away at the sight of those Stormtroopers invading the ship at the movie’s beginning. Now I can bring that same fascination to young kids. The looks on their faces when they see us for the first time is priceless.
PS: Is this a paid job?
LV: No, strictly volunteer. We couldn’t get paid anyway because of copyright, patent and trademark laws since Star Wars is the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. But it was never the 501st goal to make money; we only want to bring smiles to people’s faces and have fun.
PS: Most people tend to empathize or relate with the ‘good guys’ in a story. You are playing one of the perceived minions of an evil empire. What made you choose a ‘bad guy’ to portray?
LV: I think many people are fascinated by the bad guy. Darth Vader is quite the evil fellow, but he is arguably the most popular and recognized Star Wars character. The power of fear that comes from being a bad guy is cool, even though all of this is for fun.
PS: Are there any events coming up that you will be portraying a Stormtrooper soon?
LV: Lucasfilm is taking Star Wars on tour with a series of concerts featuring the music from all six films. They will perform in Cincinnati and Columbus in December 2009 and I’ll be there with other 501st members.
Thanks to Lord Volvo, aka TK-1984, Stormtrooper of the 501st Legion, Ohio Garrison. We hope you’ll keep us posted on upcoming events and share more about your troops movements!
– Pael Spelle
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FTC disclosure: iseealiens.com and its companion sites do not have an association with the 501st Legion or its members. We also do not have an association with Lucasfilms or any of the studios for Star Wars. We just love aliens!