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Episode Recap: A Night at the Space Opera
The cosplayers must create an original character inspired by their favorite space operas.
We all dream of a world where we can be someone else – maybe someone powerful, someone beautiful, or someone mysterious. For many, cosplay is that world. Some of the best cosplayers on the planet join our stage tonight where they will take on a rigorous challenge for a chance at bragging rights and $10,000!
Here to introduce the cosplayers to this wacky challenge is Super Fan and Community star Yvette Nicole Brown. She brings her enthusiasm to the workroom where our competitors are getting acquainted with the playground of their dreams – every glue gun, heat gun, bit of warbla, and L200 you could imagine. Oh yeah, and paint in colors that would make a sunset rethink its life choices.
Yvette tells them that she’ll be joined on the judges’ panel by world-class cosplayer LeeAnna Vamp and costume creator Christian Beckman (Tron Legacy, Star Trek). They’ll create full characters, complete with backstory, that would be at home in the contestants’ space opera of choice. The first phase of their challenge is to make a headdress – a helmet, mask, or something similar – that will crown their characters. They’ll have just eight hours to complete it – not the days or even months they might give themselves at home! The winner will be given a special advantage going into the second phase of the challenge, and one cosplayer will be eliminated.
Fred, a 49-year-old here to prove that age ain’t nothin’ but a number, LOVES Star Trek – it was his gateway drug to sci-fi, if you will. His character will be Martin Cromwell.
Xavier once created a Star Wars fan film (Redemption looks pretty cool, you should check it out) so that world is his space opera home. He creates a helmet with elements of both TIE fighter and X-wing Starfighter pilot helmets for his low-level crime lord character.
Grace is a full-time cop who loves Guardians of the Galaxy, so her character is a bounty hunter who only catches the dudes who really deserve it. Chasing bad guys? Kind of her thing.
Alicia does not feel comfy in this theme, but she loves the medieval feel of the armor in Chronicles of Riddick. She creates a badass diadem for a young warrior seeking revenge on the Necromongers after they destroy her home.
All four of them are keenly aware of what’s at stake as they walk onto the runway for the judges to evaluate their headdresses: a shot at $10,000, or getting shot down and going home. Grace is up first, and while the judges love the way she was able to make foam look like weathered metal, they note that her character, Polaris, wouldn’t be able to see through the very nifty thermal goggles she wears. Fred is up next, and his character Martin Cromwell’s mask and respirator are so clean, the uneven surfaces of the dome skull protector stand out as rough and unfinished.
Alicia’s headdress has a beautiful weightiness – it looks so much like metal, the judges almost worry about her getting a headache! For Xavier’s space helmet, there’s nary a critique (Christian says it could use some asymmetry) but when he dons it and chastizes them to respect the power of the dark side, they’re all sold. He’s the clear winner! And though it was a painful choice, they have to let Alicia go – she just didn’t produce as much work as the others.
Xavier’s advantage will be to choose first among the three props the remaining artists will have to use to create some sort of flying device. He picks the leaf blower – it has a backpack/jetpack aspect to it, so he knows it’ll save him tons of time in the design phase. Grace and Fred discuss between themselves who gets the air vents and who the muffler – Grace wants the former and Fred the latter, so it’s an easy talk!
Two days fly by (no pun intended, but we won’t kick it out of bed), and before they know it, the cosplayers are donning their costumes and transforming into their characters. Fred has swapped his bumpy headpiece for a sleek, metallic prosthetic that fits over half his face, is covered with gore, and looks terrifying in the most fun way! The only trouble is, his original helmet no longer fits due to the added bulk of this mask.
Grace enters the stage straight from the galaxy where there are Guardians, and has hit that balance of feminine and belligerent with head-to-toe armor and glittering jewels accentuating her lovely face. Her jet pack has some amazing design features, but Christian notes that the proportions are slightly off, especially considering aerodynamics (it’s the opposite of teardrop shaped).
Xavier hits the runway and he’s unrecognizable – and not just because he has a mask on! This soft-spoken gentle transformed into a crime lord of the Outer Rim who loves hand-to-hand combat! As he slices his vibra spear through the air, the judges literally get goosebumps.
Although the work and transformations of each of the contestants was phenomenal, Xavier is once again the standout. When his name is announced, the tears of joy spring to his eyes. As a former shy kid who was bullied, this win is a redemption, and a realization of his dream to always have a superhero by his side to defend him. He is the superhero! And this win teaches us all that we have that power within us.