Slave Leia, however, was a free agent. "I'm not part of any group," she said. "I just heard about this event and showed up."
By 8:30 am, the weather was already warm enough to make onlookers stare enviously at Reggie The Alligator as he soaked in his clear, cool, waterfall-equipped swimming pool. Still, the Rebel pilots, Imperial officers, Tie-Fighter pilots, and Stormtroopers soldiered on.
A bit of Star Wars trivia: Stormtroopers, it turns out, have fans in their helmets. And Ewoks have ice packs in their bellies.
Saturday turned out to be one of the hottest days of the year, with the thermometer topping out at over 100 in some parts of town. That meant sweaty fanboys and sweatier Stormtroopers sweltering as they posed for photos with throngs of Star Wars fans. Nearby, bewildered meerkats wondered why no one was paying them any attention.
Other educational lectures included discussion of the similarities between headbangin' Billy the Elephant and a Bantha, and Jabba the Hutt and a hippopotamus. The zoo missed an opportunity to educate the public about the Sarlacc-infested La Brea Tar Pits, but perhaps that will come next year.
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A six-year-old girl in an Ewok costume ducked behind a building and removed her mask, and a zoo official rushed over to remind us that the dark lord explicitly prohibited any photographs of event cosplayers with masks off. So with the terror of a Lucasfilms lawsuit looming, the girls' mother rescinded permission for the photo.
Perhaps cosplayers are much like Darth Vader himself in that regard: they can't survive for long with their masks off.
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