Paul Kristen Wiig 1920

Dressed to Obsess

The Best Star Wars Cosplay in Pop Culture

Visit a galaxy far, far away (the '70s) with the That '70s Show gang Mondays & Tuesdays 6-11P on IFC.

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Universal Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Once a niche hobby, these days cosplay transcends all interests and obsessions, it pays no mind to genre, and it’s practiced by almost everyone at some point. Simply put, superfans love playing dress-up. Everything from A-Rod jerseys to Joker facepaint, the gear and attire that identify our beloved heroes can make us feel like the heroes themselves. So it’s no surprise that one of the most celebrated fandoms of all time lends itself to some very serious and elaborate cosplay — on and offscreen. And through the years, many movies and TV shows perfectly captured the thrill and devotion of dressing like characters from a galaxy far, far away.

Here are the 10 best instances of Star Wars cosplay from television and film.

10. The cast of Star Whores, Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Weinstein Company

Weinstein Company

If you knew nothing about director Kevin Smith — and chose to cram alcohol-soaked cotton balls into your eyes and ears since 1994 — then you might’ve missed that he’s pretty keen on Star Wars. So it stands to reason that Zack and Miri, his two leads who turn to the adult film industry to raise some coin, would choose the Lucasfilm franchise for a pornographic parody. Starring Hung Solo, Princess Lay-her, and a cast of scantily clad droids and Jedis, it’s exactly the type of porno you’d expect Smith to direct.


9. Jennifer Aniston as Slave Leia, Friends

Informally dubbed “The One That Made a Hackneyed Sci-Fi Fetish Go Mainstream,” this episode of Friends couldn’t have played more into the hands of teen boys in 1996 than if Mira Sorvino was spotted in a Barbarella outfit. In it, Ross confesses his Slave Leia crush to his GGG girlfriend Rachel, who happily fulfills the fantasy. And as truly unsettling as it is to see a sexually charged David Schwimmer, it’s always nice when a primetime sitcom shows a couple explore something new in the bedroom.


8. Kristen Wiig as Boushh, Paul

Everett Collection/Universal Pictures

Everett Collection/Universal Pictures

Anyone could order a Vader helmet off Amazon or braid their hair into danishes to qualify as a Star Wars cosplayer, but it takes a real fan to craft the costume of a Lucasfilm deep cut like Boushh. Briefly seen at the end of the Simon Pegg-Nick Frost comedy Paul, Kristen Wiig is wearing the same bounty hunter disguise that Leia donned to infiltrate Jabba’s palace and rescue Han in Return of the Jedi. It’s the kind of obscure and esoteric reference that earns a rare nod of respect at a comic convention.


7. The Point Place, Wisconsin Gang, That ’70s Show

Carsey-Werner

Carsey-Werner

Like any geeky kid during the late ’70s, Eric Forman (Topher Grace) was obsessed with Luke, Obi-Wan and the rest. So when the gang donned costumes for a full-on fantasy sequence, it made for one of the show’s most memorable moments with Red as a Jedi master of insults.


6. Redd Foxx as Obi-Wan, Kris Kristofferson as Han Solo, Paul Lynde as Grand Moff Tarkin, Donny & Marie

Given how popular the franchise still is today, it’s hard to imagine a Star Wars parody that’s nearly four decades old. But this clip of Donnie and Marie Osmond cavorting with Redd Foxx, Kris Kristofferson, and Paul Lynde in Star Wars getups shows every one of those 40 years. Between the painful song-and-dance numbers, Lynde hamming it up, and Foxx clearly not understanding the bit, this treasure trove of so-bad-it’s-flawless kitsch should definitely replace the unbearable Star Wars Holiday Special for all future Life Day parties.


5. Kevin Spacey as Han Solo, Saturday Night Live

At first blush, a premise like “What if Jack Lemmon auditioned to play Chewbacca?” sounds like a hacky Evening at the Improv bit, but that would be underestimating Kevin Spacey’s talent as an impressionist — as well as the endless entertainment Norm Macdonald’s Burt Reynolds always brings. Doing what SNL does best, this sketch rolls out rapid-fire celebrity impressions and highlights each actor’s confusion with familiar premises. All in all, we’d gladly trade The Phantom Menace for two-and-a-half hours of this.


4. Trick-or-treater as Yoda, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Speaking of The Phantom Menace, freeze-framers already know that a group of E.T.s attend the Galactic Senate, thus linking both movies’ universes. But the overlap was already implied 17 years prior in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial during the trick-or-treating scene. Wearing a surprisingly detailed Yoda costume, one diminutive candy-seeker prompts our beloved alien to approach him and repeat “Home! Home!” And while it certainly piques our interest into the relationship between the species, we wouldn’t want to tempt Spielberg or Lucas to explore it in another prequel.


3. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, The Simpsons

20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

Showcasing his talent as a voice actor, Mark Hamill plays himself dressed as Luke Skywalker for Springfield’s Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con in the episode “Mayored to the Mob.” In the middle of his cash-grab pitch for Sprint, Hamill is surrounded by rampaging nerds and requires the bodyguard assistance of Homer to escape — but not without faking an injury so that he can be carried outside to safety. Hilariously self-deprecating with some great takedowns of convention-goers, the guest spot has us wondering if Carrie Fisher ever wanted to stop by The Town With No Discernible State.


2. Everyone in Spaceballs

Cosplay doesn’t always have to be dead-on accurate down to every detail. Occasionally, the inspiration allows the wearer to broaden the scope to include, say, a nebbish and bespectacled version of Anakin Skywalker in an oversized Vader helmet. Mel Brooks’ take on the Star Wars franchise offers up a rich series of classic gags and performances by Joan Rivers, John Candy, and Dom DeLuise, who plays crime boss Pizza the Hutt. Very silly, very goofy, but definitely funny.


1. Diehard Star Wars fans as Triumph’s unwitting targets, Late Night with Conan O’Brien

It wasn’t too long ago that being a nerd actually earned you ridicule and scorn rather than a shared celebration of a work with another stranger. And managing to squeeze in one giant verbal wedgie before the entire world turned into geeky, Robert Smigel slipped on his Triumph the Insult Comic Dog hand puppet and visited the line outside the Attack of the Clones premiere for a classic segment on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Fans — as well as the Conan audience — were unprepared for Smigel’s barrage of putdowns, the best of which involve Vader’s chest button panel and the lifelong virginity of an unborn child. Brutally funny, this is both Smigel and Star Wars fandom as their very best.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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