Character Approval

People often ask us if a character is eligible for 501st membership. We've put together this page to help explain the criteria we use to make those decisions. As always, whenever you begin work on a new costume, it's always best to connect with your local GML early on to avoid potential issues as you go.

Canon Characters, Expanded Universe and Alternate Realities

As a starting point, we establish whether or not the character is based on an official Star Wars canon source.

The first tool we used to help make this decision is the Lucasfilm Holocron.

Lucasfilm maintains a database called the Holocron. This system tracks everything that is Star Wars, and is the perfect starting point for our assessment of a character.

There are 5 levels of canon currently defined in their system:

  • G: Anything in the live action movies or directly from George Lucas
  • T: Theatrical and TV versions of Star Wars stories, including live action and animated.
  • C: Continuity, more commonly known as the EU.
  • S: Secondary Continuity is the older material: Marvel comics, old novels, and other materials that don't quite fit with the G, T and C levels.
  • N: Non-canon, materials that blatantly conflict with more established levels.

Assuming the quality of the build is in keeping with the level expected of the 501st, and that the character is affiliated with the darker side of the stories, anything from the G, T or C level is eligible by default.

S and N canon costumes will be judged on a case-by-case basis by the Legion Membership Officer(s).

A note from Leland Chee, current maintainer of the Holocron, regarding information moving from one level to another:

There is a secondary "S" continuity classification used for older published materials created when there was less attention to making everything in the EU fit with everything else in the EU. But, if it is referenced in something else it becomes "C". Similarly, any "C" canon entry that makes it into the films can become "G" canon.

Additional Notes

Beyond the Holocron database, there are a few other important notes on what makes a 501st costume:

  • The costume must work within the constraints of human anatomy. Costumes that can only be accurately rendered as puppets (IG-88, Battle Droids) are considered props and as such not allowed.
  • Video game characters must be part of the official storyline of the game, and cannot be player customized. For example, Starkiller's Sith Stalker costume is acceptable, but a player character from Star Wars Galaxies would not be.
  • The character must be represented visually by an officially authorized Star Wars publication. Full body front/back/side reference must be available. Costumes based only on text descriptions cannot be approved.
  • An action figure may be used as supplemental reference, but cannot not be the only reference for the character.
  • Some costumes, while approved for Legion membership, may be deemed inappropriate for certain events. The local command staff / event coordinator reserves the right to make this judgement as needed.
  • Effective June 1 2012: characters appearing in the Clone Wars 3D animated series must use armor sculpts accurate to the character and animation. We do not permit the use of Attack of the Clones armor sculpts for the creation of Clone Wars characters. Note that the armor changes significantly between season 3 and season 4.
  • Effective July 19 2013: McQuarrie concept characters (which are considered "S: Secondary Continuity") are open for legion consideration... on a "case-by-case basis" as mentioned above.
    • Eligibility for McQuarrie concept characters will be determined on the extent, or lack thereof, of available (official) reference materials. Full body (front, back and side) references are primarily encouraged. If back and side references are not available, the missing areas must be obviously inferred (for instance the character has a cape that would clearly cover the entire back side, or is wearing simple trousers). Characters that would likely have extensive details that are not documented by official reference sources, and thus left to open interpretation, will not be accepted.

New Characters to the Legion

Thinking of building a character or costume that has never been tried before? Outstanding! As long as it meets the criteria above you should be OK. As with any costume build, whether they be ‘New To The Legion’ or otherwise, it is vital that you do all the research you possibly can before you start. Contact your local GML, and visit the appropriate detachments to find out all you can about the costume and its construction methods and materials.

Also, be aware that all ‘New To The Legion’ costumes will obviously come under additional scrutiny when submitted. So please ensure that you provide the LMO with all the reference pictures which you used in creating your costume, and you will also be required to provide a detailed summary of both your choice of materials and your reasoning behind the choices.

Along with clear hi-res photos of each aspect of your new costume, this information will form the basis of the principal CRL for this new addition to the Legion.

The Legion has a reputation for the highest standards in costuming, and your CRL will be used to continue that!

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The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm's preferred Imperial costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. Used under authorization.