Trisha’s Take: Four ways I would fix the second season of “Heroes of Cosplay”

Live up to the name of the series

Heroes in Star Wars costumes walk for charity © Scott Loxley
Heroes in Star Wars costumes walk for charity © Scott Loxley

For a show that has the word “Heroes” in its title, you’d expect to see many noble and uplifting moments; sadly, this was not the case for many of the episodes.

As an example, the second episode featured Han’s negative remarks about fellow professional cosplayer Jessica Nigri as well as comments from some of the group members about how some people shouldn’t cosplay against their body type.

Though Han and Nigri would later collaborate on a video where the former tried to make it clear that they were good friends and her remarks weren’t meant to be negative and Han and LeCotey attempted to place their remarks about cosplayers and peoples’ natural bodies in context, there was still an uproar amidst the cosplay community when the episode first aired.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Rather than labeling these women and this man as “heroes” and then proceed to highlight circumstances where their words or deeds are less than noble, why not actually showcase some people who costume and actually do heroic things?

The best example of this would be the Star Wars Galactic Empire-themed cosplayers who have banded together to be known as the 501st Legion which was formed in 1997. Together with their “good guy” counterparts the Rebel Legion (some 501st members are also Rebels), their official mission includes a component which focuses on charitable works in the members’ communities.

With the unofficial approval of Lucasfilm, members of the 501st Legion have made costumed appearances at various events like Star Wars-related film premieres and book signings, donating any and all appearance fees to charitable causes. Troopers, bounty hunters, and Imperial officers have also made appearances in pediatric wards in hospitals and charity fund raisers for organizations like the March of Dimes and the MS Foundation as well. One trooper from Australia named Jacob French even raised almost $100,000 for the Starlight Children’s Foundation by walking all the way from Perth to Sydney—a journey of 5,000 kilometers (just over 3,100 miles)—all while in his Stormtrooper costume. And as we speak, another Australian named Scott Loxley is attempting to top French’s feat by circumnavigating all the states and territories in Australia in his Sandtrooper costume for about 18 months to benefit Monash Children’s Hospital.

But it’s not just Star Wars cosplayers who have been donning their costumes, raising funds for charities, and visiting children in hospitals. A younger group of costumers and prop makers known as the Heroes Alliance recently formed as a non-profit in 2012 and have since made group appearances at events like the Hill Country AIDS Ride in Austin, Texas and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Halloween Superhero Bingo party just this past Halloween.

As for this particular group of cosplayers, Han, LeCotey, and Lee have already done work for charity, taking part in the Cosplay for a Cause charity fund raiser calendar which raised about $30,000 during 2011 and 2012 to benefit the American Red Cross. The organization’s website states that they aren’t doing another fund raiser calendar for 2013 or 2014, but why not? With SyFy’s support, I can see an episode or two dedicated to putting another calendar together, organizing with all the various photographers, meeting more women and men both in and out of costume who are dedicated to cosplaying for great causes.

So that’s edict number two: Produce more episodes about the positive influences that cosplay can have in the local community.