“Anyone can wear a Star Wars costume, but it takes somebody special to be a member of the 501st Legion”


The Central Garrison is a unit of the 501st Legion, an all-volunteer, international Star Wars costuming club. The Legion was started in 1997 by a Star Wars fan in South Carolina named Albin Johnson and has since grown to over 6000 members in nearly 50 countries around the world. The Central Garrison has over 100 members and serves Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

By focusing on building screen-accurate costumes of iconic Star Wars villains like Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Stormtroopers, the 501st Legion has earned the honor of being recognized as Lucasfilm’s preferred Imperial costuming group. We frequently appear at charity fundraisers and other community events and we take great pride in being able to contribute to something greater than ourselves. As one measure of this, since 2010 the 501st Legion has helped raise over $30 million for charities; truly an example of “Bad Guys Doing Good”!


From Article II of the 501st Legion Charter:

  1. The 501st Legion is an international STAR WARS costuming organization dedicated to celebrating the STAR WARS universe through the creation, display, and wearing of quality character costumes that represent the villainous characters from the STAR WARS sagas.
  2. The Legion promotes interest in STAR WARS and facilitates the use of these costumes for STAR WARS-related events as well as contributes to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work.

To elaborate:

Celebrating the Star Wars universe
While a growing number of people are experiencing a reawakening of their Star Wars fandom, new generations are seeking ways to celebrate their passion for George Lucas’s modern mythology. The 501st Legion brings these fans together, reinforcing the enduring longevity of the Star Wars saga.

The creation, display, and wearing of quality character costumes
Some fans are content to collect action figures…other fans want to be action figures. Nothing professes your passion quite like building your own detailed costume replica of a classic Star Wars villain, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling that comes from bringing the characters of Star Wars into the real world and sharing the magic with others.

Contributes to the local community
While our organization was founded to simply provide a collective identity for costuming fans with similar interests, the 501st is proud to put its resources to good use through fundraising, charity work, and volunteerism.

Every member of the Central Garrison contributes in their own way and for their own reasons. Through our differences we unite to create something new and wonderful for our families, friends, communities, and Legion.


Central Garrison members have appeared at almost 700 events in our region in just the last five years alone (2008-2012). Charity appearances are one of the cornerstones of the Central Garrison’s foundation, and our members have had the honor of appearing at events supporting a wide variety of organizations in our region including the Alzheimers Association, American Cancer Society, Autism Society of Nebraska, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children and Families of Iowa, Make-A-Wish Foundation, March of Dimes, New Directions Down Syndrome Association, and many more. In addition to our charity work, Central Garrison members also make appearances at community events such as parades and Halloween “zoo boos”, and at events promoting reading and educational programs at libraries and museums.

Over the years the members of the Central Garrison have come together to create a family of friends. It is these relationships that are the true success of the Central Garrison, and the 501st Legion as a whole.