West Virginia's #1 Source for Food, Music, Shopping, Theatre, and Events!

On Star Wars Day, May The 4th Be With You!!

Photo taken during the 2021 Huntington Toy and Comic Con.

Star Wars Day is upon us! This informal holiday, celebrated annually on May 4th, pays tribute to all things related to the media franchise Star Wars. 

While people world-wide celebrate this holiday in different ways, we at HashtagWV wanted to celebrate by finding one of Star Wars’ biggest fans and bringing their story to our readers. 

We began our search in galaxies far, far away, but as it turns out, we didn’t need to travel that far–although Kashyyyk was a great place to visit.

We began our search in galaxies far, far away, but as it turns out, we didn’t need to travel that far–although Kashyyyk was a great place to visit. (There were so many wookiees.) 

Right here at home, in the city of Beckley, Ryan Pereira, 38, is a simple man trying to make his way in the universe, just like his alter ego – bounty hunter Jango Fett. 

Every so often, Ryan gears up in a self-made costume to bring the armor-clad character of Jango Fett to life. However, Ryan tells us that he never dreamed he would one day make his own costume and become part of the Star Wars world. 

Ryan Pereira in costume as Jango Fett at Causeacon in Beckley, WV.

Right here at home, in the city of Beckley, Ryan Pereira, 38, is a simple man trying to make his way in the universe, just like his alter ego – bounty hunter Jango Fett. 

Growing up only 10 minutes away from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, he says that he developed a love of all things space-related. He started watching Star Wars movies when he was very young, but didn’t really grasp their significance until the release of Star Wars Episodes I, II and III. 

When he did realize their importance, he said that it was the bounty hunter characters that captured his attention the most. 

“I didn’t know much about them. You know, they didn’t really have a big part in the movies.” 

Soon after, he started researching Star Wars bounty hunters and found international costume clubs, including The 501st (the bad guys), the Rebel Legion (the good guys) and the Mando Mercs (bounty hunters). 

He started reaching out to those involved in the costume clubs and learned they are non-profit organizations dedicated to creating movie-replica Star Wars costumes and doing good deeds, like visiting children’s hospitals in character, assisting with charity organizations and much more. 

The organizations are broken down into chapters, with West Virginia’s Mando Mercs chapter being the Black Mountain Guard. 

Ryan says that once he made contact with members of the state chapter, he knew it was time to make his own costume. 

Using a 3D printer, and following strict guidelines, it took Ryan about three years to complete his Jango Fett costume. 

Star Wars replica helmets made by Ryan Pereira.

After it was finished, Ryan started attending birthday parties and various local events as Jango Fett. He also once made a Halloween visit to the kids at Mabscott Elementary in Raleigh County where his wife, Valerie, is a teacher. 

When Covid hit, and Guard members couldn’t make it to hospitals in person as they once had, they started making specialized videos, in complete character, to help brighten a child’s day. 

“We are all over the state,” Ryan says of Guard members, adding that anyone who has an interest in making their own Star Wars costume is welcome to join the Guard, or any of the other groups. 

For those who are interested in joining, Ryan notes they may go to the ‘’Black Mountain Guard” Facebook page or website for more information. 

“We do it because we love Star Wars and we love helping our communities,” Ryan adds. “The best thing about all this is seeing kids smile and the excitement on their faces when they see that a Star Wars character is right there in front of them.” 

“The best thing about all this is seeing kids smile and the excitement on their faces when they see that a Star Wars character is right there in front of them.” 

– Ryan Pereira

In addition to costume making, Ryan, with his wife’s support, has turned his carport into what he calls his “nerd dungeon.” 

“I think it’s really cool what he does,” Valerie tells us. “I am not into it, but he is very artistic. He loves it. If I can’t find him, I know where he is–he is in his room working on something.” 

View of Ryan Pereira’s “Nerd Dungeon.”

To learn more about Ryan, or to see if Jango Fett can make an appearance at an event, check out his Facebook–Ryan Pereira. 

To watch short videos of both his Jango Fett costume creation and his dungeon transformation, check out his TikTok @xmandolifex

On a final note, Ryan tells us that he will probably be watching The Mandalorian series, the Book of Boba Fett or Star Wars movies to celebrate the day. He might even play Star Wars video games and spend time with like-minded friends–all great suggestions for those who love Star Wars, or for those who are just getting involved in the franchise. 

From all of us here, we hope you enjoy Ryan’s Star Wars story as much as we do! We wish you a Happy Star Wars Day and May The 4th Be With You.

+ posts

Get the Dish on the Dish Cafe w/ HashtagWV this April!

This month, get the dish on the Dish Cafe in Daniels (Raleigh County) w/ HashtagWV! The restaurant is celebrating its ninth anniversary this month and …

Read More →