Attack of the clones

By Greg Dixon

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a low-budget space Western was released into cinemas.

More than three decades on, the cultural impact of Star Wars, its sequels and prequels is without question, even for those born years after the original film's release.

At this weekend's Armageddon pop cultural expo in Auckland, some of New Zealand's most obsessive fans - those who dress as Star Wars characters - will again gather.

Canvas photographed eight of them in a galaxy far, far away from the Death Star - at their Auckland homes.

Dean Brown

Age: 32
Occupation: Event technician
Character: Darth Vader

"The costume has probably cost $3000 to put together. If I wanted to, and I do, I could easily make a $20,000 Vader costume. After a convention like Armageddon, you feel like a rock star because you lose count in the first half hour of how many photos have been taken of you."

Hayley Sharp

Age: 22
Occupation: University student
Character: Leia, Star Wars IV: A New Hope

"My hair's not long enough to recreate Leia's. I use hair extensions from The $2 Shop and weave them into my hair. If I'm being really attentive it can take 45 minutes to get them right, but usually it takes about 20 minutes."

Simon Tapp

Age: 35
Occupation: Painter
Character: Stormtrooper

"You can see bugger-all in the helmet. I got a couple of computer fans, put them in the cheeks and hooked them up to a 9v battery with a switch so that I can keep the lenses unfogged when I'm wearing the helmet. You see the look on kids' faces when you walk out in a costume, that's priceless, you making some little kid's day."

Michaela de Bruce

Age: 32
Occupation: Performer/costumer C
haracter: Padme, Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones

"There tend to be two streams of people who do this. There are costumers like myself who are mainly interested in recreating the costume because of the way it looks. Then there are the absolute fans of the movies and the characters ... I don't do the whole character thing at all."

Kristy Glasgow

Age: 25
Occupation: Mum
Character: Leia, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back

"My husband Matt proposed to me in the same place, Lake Como in Italy, as Anakin [who becomes Darth Vader] proposed to Padme in Attack of the Clones. I was wearing the same costume."

Dave Carlile

Age: 37
Occupation: IT
Character: Boba Fett

"You have lovely ladies coming up to you, and wanting to cuddle up to you and get photos and slipping you their phone number. I never followed up on them ... I guess the biggest thrill for me was when a Shortland Street actor came up to me and asked me for my photo. I thought 'sh*t, I'm not Dave Carlile, I'm this character that people want be seen with'. That was kind of a kick."

- NZ Herald

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