Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, known for his role in Canada’s TV series Kim’s Convenience, shared how good fortune and a passion for cosplay centered around The Mandalorian helped land him a role on the Star Wars series.
His Cosplay Costumes Impressed Dave Filoni
Lee shared with CBC News that the chance to be on The Mandalorian was a dream come true for him in many ways.
“A Korean Canadian in the Star Wars universe gives hope to a lot of people that dreams do come true,” Lee shared. “…This is attainable. I think that’s Star Wars in a nutshell for me.”
Lee revealed that an old friend, Deborah Chow, was shooting The Mandalorian and helped him make the connection, CBC reported. She told Lee that Executive Producer Dave Filoni was a big fan of Kim’s Convenience and wanted to write a role specifically for Lee.
He told his friend, “You do realize I have seven or eight Star Wars cosplays at home that I’m actually working on?”
He showed her the photos, which she texted to Filoni. She said Filoni responded, “Well, he can show up in costume, we don’t need to do anything.”
Later on set, all his cosplay experience came in handy, CBC reported. Filoni said that during the fitting, the wardrobe department struggled with attaching an ejection harness to his costume.
Lee said he showed the wardrobe department how to do it, commenting: “If you guys don’t mind, I’ve actually built this costume and I have on my phone meticulously curated photos of how it works.”
He recalled how he played a New Republic officer in a costume tailor-made for him, and the experience was an intense simulation that felt real.
When asked how he felt when he first sat in the cockpit, he said: “I was five-years-old again… To finally be there, to be sitting there, I didn’t want to leave.”
He added that another amazing moment was when they needed to take a photo of him in costume, but only had a helmet from the original Star Wars to use. Lee said he immediately recognized the helmet as belonging to Biggs Darklighter, and he was so excited.
This Isn’t the First Time Cosplay Passion Has Helped Land Someone a ‘Mandalorian’ Role
In December 2019, CBR reported that a local Star Wars fan organization called The 501st Legion was recruited to provide Stormtrooper costumes for Season 1 episodes after the producers discovered they didn’t have enough.
The 501st Legion, first formed in 1997, builds accurate Imperial Stormtrooper costumes and other costumes based on villains in the Star Wars universe. They now have 13,000 members across the world.
Twitter user @TweetinJoshBe shared a photo from the set on December 28, 2019, and wrote: “So fun fact: for episodes 7-8 of #TheMandalorian, they didn’t have enough costumes for all of the Storm Troopers needed in a scene. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni enlisted the help of a local 501st Legion chapter, comprised of fans with their own costumes, to fill in those spots.”
The 501st Legion’s Twitter account first shared the news on December 18, 2019, writing: “If you watched the latest episode of The Mandalorian, you may have seen some familiar looking troopers from the 501st Legion.”
In April 2019, some photos from the premiere revealed the news early.