Star Wars fans offer hope

Roger Moore, the movie critic at the Orlando Sentinel, reports on a new documentary that chronicles the Fighting 501st
and their volunteer work that is decidedly on the light side of The Force.

The men and women of the 501st
Legion are ordinary, anonymous folks who put on black leotards and white
plastic chest, back, knee and thigh plates and big, scary helmets they call
"buckets." They pop up at conventions, sure. But more often, they visit
hospitals to spread a little sci-fi joy to children going through the worst
experience of their lives.

Thompson’s documentary, Heart of an Empire: The Life and Times of the
Fighting 501st, is about them. It will have its Southeastern premiere at the
Orlando Science Center on Saturday at 6 and 9 p.m. Upwards of 80 Storm
Troopers will be there, "but it’s not really for us," Stafford says. "We know
what we’re about. This is for everybody else, so that they know we’re not just
fans dressing up in costumes."

The 501st will also be out in force at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends. They run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday June 1st through June 24th at Disney-MGM Studios.