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Star Wars in Discovery Gardens

Dubai-based die-hard Star Wars fan enthralls young and old alike with his handcrafted screen-accurate costumes

  • Giovan Paz and his collegues in Star Wars costumes, guns and props which they design at home.Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/XPRESS
  • Giovan Paz and his collegues in Star Wars costumes, guns and props which they design at home.Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
  • In battle gear: Monro Reyes, Ian Japitan, Giovan Paz and Edgar Jyrwa.Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/XPRESS
  • Giovan Paz with his proud collection at his Discovery Gardens homeImage Credit: Virendra Saklani/XPRESS
  • Friends from outer space: Kids in Discovery Gardens are excited to see Giovan Paz and his colleagues in Star Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/XPRESS

Dubai: A die-hard Star Wars fan is enthralling both young and old at Discovery Gardens with his screen-accurate costumes. Giovan Paz, a digital designer, has a built substantial collection of real-life Star Wars gear that now amounts to a small fortune.

“We do it purely for fun. I’ve always been fascinated by the movie since I first saw it in grade school,” said the 38-year-old Filipino who works for a Dubai media company.

Making armours and helmets out of discarded plastic trash bins, fibre-glass resin and PVC pipes put together by Velcro – as well as components bought online – has become a weekend preoccupation for the father of two.

Paz has converted a small storage room in his Discovery Gardens unit into a workshop, where he keeps every kit and caboodle, bends things around using a heat gun and paints them over. To boost his collection, he also sources costume components from eBay – though he himself has made most of helmets, costumes and replica guns in his current Star Wars stockpile stored in a glass cabinet in his living room and in cardboard boxes. The guns may look real, but a closer look shows they are made out of chewing gum canisters or discarded wood.

He also works with a Dubai sculpture to do detailing for him. He even bought a sewing machine and asked his nanny, 44-year-old Elena, to help with the sewing.

His friends have caught the costume bug, too, and they formed a group called Order 66, a throwback to the emperor’s order in the film epic to liquidate the Jedis.

The name was coined by Fahed Sabbagh, the organiser of the Nerdycon event in Dubai held in May, where Paz’s group won an award. “Sometimes, it’s fun to be a child again and bringing to life these Star Wars characters,” said Paz’s friend Edgar Juyrwa, 33, an Indian real estate agent, who forms part of the group.

“There’s that inner child in every person that needs to be satisfied,” said Ian Japitan, who wears the Storm Trooper costume. “Wearing these costumes gives me that satisfaction.”

“Our kicks come from the reaction of children – or even adults – when they see us,” said Paz. His groupalso joins charity parties for kids when invited. “In the end, the movie and our lives are all about the triumph of good over evil.”


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