Back in 2000, Dennis Resell had an idea. He wanted to form a 501st Legion unit in Denmark. He talked to the Legion, got everything approved and the Danish Outpost was formed. Little did he know that at the very same time, not so far, far away in Finland, Toni Hovi was making similar plans but on a larger scale. Toni’s idea was to create a single garrison covering Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. This would lead to more members for the garrison as well as greater stability and a wider range of resources being made available. Everyone thought it was a great idea and thus, Nordic Garrison was born.
The garrison grew steadily but struggled to really make a mark on the Star Wars map. Large events were few and far between with the only regular conventions being the Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game and Film Convention held in Gothenburg, Malmö and Stockholm each year. Even there the troopers had no real mission, they just wandered around looking cool.
Slowly but surely, more members came onboard and a plan was formed to attend our first event outside our territory. The target was to be the London Film and Comic Con in 2006. Contact was made with the UK Garrison and five of our fearless troopers were welcomed with open arms. In London we were able to see how the UK Garrison worked. They were much larger and better organised than Nordic Garrison had been. They had a stand where they showed off what the 501st Legion was all about and also offered people the chance to take photos with the troopers against a cool Star Wars background. We really got inspired and decided to push on with major changes to how Nordic Garrison portrayed ourselves at our larger events.
Back in our home territory, we laid out our plans and, at the Scandinavian Sci-Fi, Game and Film Convention in Stockholm in 2006, Nordic Garrison’s members made our first attempt to collect money for charity. We hadn’t yet decided who we would make our donations to, just that we wanted to do our bit to help. We asked the public to pay 25SEK to take a photograph with us against our Death Star background. The result was much better than we hoped and we raised 7000 SEK. We then stepped things up and offered the chance to buy a printed photograph, then a photo mounted on a homemade background and finally a photo in a professionally printed folder just like you get at theme parks all around the world.
Now that we had the money, what would we do with it? We contacted a local children’s hospital and asked if they would be interested in a few troopers coming to entertain the kids for a while and also hand over a cheque for the money we had collected. Sadly, they did not really understand what we were offering and declined. We looked around a bit more and eventually tried contacting Barncancerfonden. The response couldn’t have been more different. They were thrilled with our idea and invited us to join them onstage at a talent show they had organised. There we were able to talk about what Nordic Garrison was and also present Barncancerfonden with a huge cheque.
For the next big event, we upped our game again. As well as being allowed to take photos with your own camera, we could also offer to take a photo with our own camera and then print it out, just like you get on the rollercoasters at big theme parks. It was a huge success and we ended up running out of ink and paper before the end of day one!
After that, we really took off. Members began to flood in, we started getting contact from large companies who wanted to use us for events and, most importantly of all, we made contact with Lucasfilm’s own promoters in Scandinavia and began working with them.
By this time our original logo was looking a bit dated so we gave it a refresh. The new one much better reflected our multi-national heritage but still kept the snowtrooper that has always been an important part of Nordic Garrison’s identity.
As we expanded, we were able to arrange ever larger and better events. One of our highlights was the 2008 opening weekend of Star Wars: The Exhibition in Örnsköldvsik. The entire museum had been given a makeover for this once in a lifetime exhibition and Nordic Garrison was to be the star attraction for the official opening ceremony. Over 50 members of the garrison from all four countries were on site entertaining the crowd as well as enjoying the exhibition themselves. Darth Vader cut the red ribbon, Darth Maul fought Jedi in the park in front of the museum and troopers kept the crowds under control all around the town. It was amazing!
Since our territory covers Finse, Norway where the exterior scenes of the ice planet Hoth were filmed, we decided to organise a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back by organising a trip there for troopers from all over the 501st Legion. People came from as far away as California to join us. We had a guided tour of the filming locations, watched a special documentary about the movie while looking out on the snowfields of Hoth and also held the first Star Wars Winter Olympics.
In 2011 we celebrated our 10th anniversary (also know as NG-X). This occasion was celebrated with the creation of some exclusive merchandise (now among the most sought after within the 501st Legion due to its rarity) and a huge party where members from all across our territory came together for weekend of fun.
In 2017 our Danish members decided that they had grown large enough to leave Nordic Garrison and form their own garrison concentrating fully on Denmark. The Danish Garrison has been a huge success and have grown steadily since its formation.
Nordic Garrison has changed massively and gone from being a tiny, thinly spread group to one of the 501st Legion’s largest garrisons. We currently have 207 troopers and attend regular events all over our territory.
As well as our professionalism during events, we are well-known all around the world for our fun attitude. We do not take ourselves too seriously and if Nordic Garrison are at an event then there’s usually a party going on!
If you want to join us or find out more about us, please get in touch. We are happy to help with all your enquiries.