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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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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