The 501st Legion
The 501st Legion is an international fan-based organization dedicated to the construction and wearing of screen-accurate replicas of Imperial Stormtrooper armor, Imperial officer uniforms, Clone Troopers and other villains and nefarious characters from the Star Wars universe. Members of the 501st Legion make appearances at casual, promotional, and charitable events, often at the request of Lucasfilm's Fan Relations department. Formed by South Carolina residents Albin Johnson and Tom Crews in 1997, the group boasts more than 5500 active members in 47 countries as of January 1, 2012.
Based initially on the white-armored troops stationed aboard the Death Star, the 501st Legion quickly expanded to encompass many other canon trooper variations, Sith Lords, bounty hunters, and other villains from the Star Wars saga. Custom creations are not eligible for membership, and all applicants are reviewed prior to approval in the 501st member database.
As a tribute to the dedicated group of fans, the blue clone troopers led into the Jedi Temple by Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith were officially designated as the 501st Legion, with the nickname "Vader's Fist" due to his exclusive use of the unit. Although not mentioned in the film itself, all of the licensed support material and merchandising for the film make this reference, including Hasbro's 501st Legion action figures, the DK Publishing Star Wars Visual Dictionary books, and the Star Wars: Battlefront II game (the story-driven campaign mode of Battlefront II even expanded the role of the 501st Legion to the main fighting force in almost every battle in the "Clone Wars" and "Galactic Civil War" eras of Star Wars, from the Battle of Geonosis to the Battle of Hoth). There are also references to the 501st in other Expanded Universe material including novelizations and the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars feature film (2008) and television series.
2015 will mark the Legion's third appearance at XCON World.