By Joseph Nuzzo

Eternal Con, Long Island’s annual comic book and sci-fi convention, returned to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City this weekend, but some used the fun and games to do good.

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Among the cosplay, sci-fi celebrity meet-and-greets and comics booths were members of the Rebel Legion, a group fans who bring Star Wars characters to life with highly detailed costumes and make appearances at children’s hospitals, walk-a-thons, libraries and charity events.

“When a child looks at you, and you know that the child believes you are this character, it takes my breath away, to have that moment of happiness with a child,” Rebel Legion member Christine Evans, who bears an uncanny resemblance to actress Carrie Fisher, said while in costume as Princess Leia. “That is the type of joy we need in the world.”

The all-volunteer group makes appearances upon request, free of charge. Their only request, in return, is a donation made in the name of the Rebel Legion to a charity the group supports. Among those causes are education and assisting museums in teaching children about the science in science fiction.

Joe Imholte, director of Special Exhibits at the Science Museum of Minnesota, attested to their authenticity.

Christine Evans, a member of The Rebel Legion, dressed as Princess Leia at Eternal Con in Garden City, N.Y. (Photo by Joe Nuzzo)
Christine Evans, a member of The Rebel Legion, dressed as Princess Leia at Eternal Con in Garden City, N.Y. (Photo by Joe Nuzzo)

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“The Rebel Legion’s members added an incalculable value to The Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit,” Imholte said in a statement. “Their personal interactions with visitors to the museum were a huge overall plus to the visitor experience. The exhibit would not have been the success it was without their involvement.”

Characters such as Evans really get into the part, since they have deep personal connections to the roles they play.

“My strongest memory of my childhood is seeing Star Wars for the first time when I was 5 years old,” Evans told the Press. “I remember lying in the backseat of my parents Ford LTD on the way home, looking up at the stars, looking for the Millennium Falcon.”

She later pretended to be Princess Leia while playing in her backyard. So it was a natural fit when a friend who was moving out of town asked her to take over her role as Princess Leia in The Rebel Legion.

Throughout the day both children and adults lined up to take a quick photo with Evan’s Princess Leia. It was easy to spot the joy on children’s faces as they posed with this beloved Star Wars character. To the children, there could be no doubt she was the real deal.

To find out more about becoming involved in The Rebel Legion or to book them for a charity or educational event, visit them online at rebellegion.com

Eternal Con: The Long Island Comic Con returned to the Cradle of Aviation Museum this weekend (photos by Joe Nuzzo)
Eternal Con: The Long Island Comic Con returned to the Cradle of Aviation Museum this weekend (photos by Joe Nuzzo)
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