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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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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