Force is with these good bad guys
IF YOU think you've seen a squadron of Darth Vader's stormtroopers patrolling the streets of Rockhampton, your eyes weren't playing tricks.
The foot soldiers of the dark side were sort of real - local members of charity organisation the 501st Legion.
Volunteer Michael Schroeter said the 501st Legion was a global costume organisation dedicated to Star Wars "bad guys doing good".
He said there were thousands of members worldwide, with the Queensland cohort now having more than 80 members.
"Simply put, we are a bunch of people who don't take ourselves too seriously and dress up as the bad guys and gals from the Star Wars and have fun raising funds for charity," he said.
The Rockhampton group have recently been raising funds for the Queensland Cancer Council while promoting the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D.
Mr Schroeter said the group had been visiting places such as Stockland, collecting donations.
"It's just so rewarding," he said.
"The interaction with the kids and the big kids, the smiles, the laughter, all for a good cause ... it's definitely not an experience you get every day."
Mr Schroeter said most of the group had full-time jobs, yet still found the time to volunteer.
They even made their own costumes.
The group will appear at the midnight premiere of the 3D movie tonight at Rockhampton's Event Cinema, giving fans an opportunity to take photographs with them.
They will also be at Friday's 6pm screening and Saturday's 2pm session.
Mr Schroeter encouraged anyone interested in joining the troop to visit http://www.501st.com.au.
"I would like us to have sufficient members to do some big charity events," he said.
"We are also available for commercial bookings if the organisation simply makes a donation to charity, so please consider booking us for your next big promotion or event."