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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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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

via GIPHY

IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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