MythBusters Grant Imahara Inducted into the 501st
April 7, 2011
words & photos: Bonnie Burton
Amongst the cosplayers, droids, and comic book fans attending this year’s WonderCon in San Francisco, California, MythBusters Build Team member Grant Imahara was inducted as a 501st Legion Honorary Member by the Golden Gate Garrison (with special help from theSouthern California Garrison.)
WATCH VIDEO: The 501st induct Grant Imahara at WonderCon
Grant is well-known on Discovery Channel’s hit show Mythbusters, but he started at THX then went on to make some amazing sets, droids and props at Industrial Light and Magic as a modelmaker. His robot-building skills are legendary — not only for his work on R2-D2 alongside ILM’s Don Bies, but for the lovable Energizer Bunny, his intimidating fighting robots, and his latest creation of first robotic talk show sidekick Geoff Petersen, for Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show.
I first met Grant way back in 2004, when I was sent down to Los Angeles for StarWars.com to cover Junkyard Mega-Wars: At The Movies which the ILM rock stars were asked to compete in. Grant and his ILM team made a gigantic, flame-throwing R2-D2, and of course won the competition.
You can see that awesome R2-D2 in action here:
WATCH VIDEO: Junkyard Mega-Wars: At the Movies
Grant has also been featured over the years on StarWars.com for PuttingStar Wars to the MythBusters Test, for being a big fan of The Clone Wars and for his w00tstock spoken word performance about dressing up as C-3PO.
So it was a real treat to see my old friend and past co-worker Grant get inducted into one of the coolest Star Wars groups in the galaxy — The 501st Legion. I chatted with Grant about his induction and whether this means we can expect his droids to be moonlighting for the Empire…
Was it a complete surprise?
Actually yes! You kept hinting at a surprise during WonderCon, with a specific time and place that I needed to be. If you watch the video, I don’t actually realize what’s happening until they announce it! You know, I talk on camera all day long and I’ve done tons of public speaking, but I was so surprised and overwhelmed in that moment that I feel like I was a bit tongue-tied.
If you’re now in the 501st, does that mean all robots you build will be secretly working for Darth Vader?
Ha! I think all my robots secretly work for me! Think about it: the Energizer Bunny, Geoff Peterson (the robot skeleton sidekick from The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson), my combat robot Deadblow, and certain R2 units… that would be a pretty formidable army!
Why are you proud to be part of the 501st Legion?
It’s a real honor to be inducted into a group that not only strives for accuracy in representing these characters from a saga that I love, but also does volunteer community service and is considered a part of Lucasfilm’s “extended family.”
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