Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Secret Star Wars Community The Mandalorian's Katee Sackhoff Joined

Contains spoilers for The Mandalorian season 2

It's fair to say that Katee Sackhoff is nerd royalty at this point. Between her breakout role as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, her recurring work playing Blacksmith on The Flash, and the fact that her sci-fi clout landed her two appearances playing herself on The Big Bang Theory, she's more or less stuck with the geek life for the rest of her days.

Recently, Sackhoff made a splash in the Star Wars community when her Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels character Bo-Katan Kryze made the leap from animation to live-action — appearing in the season 2 episode of The Mandalorian entitled "The Heiress." While a specific corner of Twitter erupted with "Yub Nub"s at the sight of Sackhoff surrounded by real-world Star Wars characters, an even more specific group went, "Pfft — seen it." This, they knew for a fact, wasn't the first time Sackhoff had been within spitting distance of Stormtroopers.

That's because Sackhoff, like some 14,000 other Imperial loyalists around the world, is a member of the 501st Legion, aka "Vader's Fist." They're an elite squad of all-volunteer Stormtroopers and Imperial officers, hiding in plain sight — just waiting to exit the shadows, hold you at blaster-point, and hastily change their minds about which droids they're looking for.

This isn't Katee Sackhoff's 501st rodeo

A movement made up of Palpatine-loving, red-blooded space patriots, the 501st got its start in South Carolina and was an early-days entry in the world of internet communities dedicated to niche geek enthusiasm. Soon after the 501st's founding in 1997, fans from around the world trickled into the group, showing off their custom Stormtrooper helmets, Imperial armors, and uniforms. 

The movement spread, with 501st squads making appearances at conventions and events, and by 2005, it was too big to ignore — and too impassioned not to love. The "501st" designation was brought into the official Star Wars continuity, with the Revenge of the Sith novelization referring to Vader's squad of youngling killers as "the 501st." The video game Star Wars: Battlefront II piled even more responsibilities onto the Legion's shoulders, placing them at the battles of Geonosis, Naboo, and others.

In 2012, Katee Sackhoff's Facebook page tossed up a photo of her induction into the group, showing her surrounded by Vader's own and grinning from ear to ear. According to the Star Wars website, Sackhoff was given a Bo-Katan helmet as part of her welcome package, which she says she keeps at home next to her Starbuck helmet, on a mantle that would no doubt put most nerds into an excitement coma.