Star Wars Subway Car

Produced by Charlie Todd and Matt Adams / music by Gustav Holst, arranged by Tyler Walker

For our latest mission, we staged a reenactment of the first Princess Leia / Darth Vader scene from Star Wars on a New York City subway car. The white walls and sliding doors on the train reminded us of the rebel ship from the movie, and we thought it would be fun to see how people would react to a surprise appearance by the iconic characters. We spread out the actors along the train line, staging it so they would enter the right car at the right time. Enjoy the video first and then go behind-the-scenes with the photos and report below.

Shot by: Matt Adams, Jason Eppink, Erik Martin
Photography: Katie Sokoler (photo credit for all photos on this page.)
– Princess Leia – Cody Lindquist
– Stormtroopers – Patrick Cassels, Brian Murphy, Josh Ruben
– Darth Vader – Alex Scordelis

Soaked Stormtroopers: Agents Cassels, Murphy, and Ruben

This mission took place on an incredibly rainy day. Fortunately we were going to be underground for most of it, but our intrepid Stormtroopers got a little bit wet on the way to the mission. The Stormtroopers were played by some of our friends at College Humor. They had bought the costumes for a couple of great videos they produced, and were nice enough to loan them (along with the Vader costume) to us for the mission.

The Vader costume was really awesome. It had like ten different components and included a remote control voice box that made the breathing sound effect. It was a bit of a puzzle getting Agent Scordelis dressed, but we finally figured it out.

We used our beloved 6-train stop at Brooklyn Bridge for the start of the mission. We staggered our agents, sending Darth and the Stormtroopers ahead on one train to meet up with Leia later in a second train. We planned to stage the mission several times over the course of a couple of hours. If you’ve got all those awesome costumes together, you better do it more than once!

Agent Lindquist waits for the first train to depart

Stormtroopers and Vader riding the staging car to their assigned stops

The mission started when Leia entered her train. She had two full stops by herself before the other actors entered.

I created a book for Leia to read using a template I found online. I printed out the fake cover and attached it to one of my favorite prank books, which just so happened to be the right size and color.

Agent Lindquist got a few funny looks from the passengers around her. She was unmistakably Princess Leia with her hair buns and white robe. Yet seeing one person in a costume on the subway isn’t all that strange. Maybe she’s going to a party? Unless you took the time to notice the book she was reading, you might not think too much of it.

The Stormtroopers got a nice reaction when they entered. The car wasn’t very crowded the first time we did it, but those who were there were laughing, particularly when the Stormtroopers grabbed Leia.

At the next stop, Vader’s entrance got a great reaction. Agent Scordelis entered the car with force and authority, but unfortunately didn’t account for the height of his helmet. He knocked his head on the door when he entered! It was hysterical, and we should have video of it in an upcoming “outtakes” video.

The people on the train went crazy for Vader. I think they thought the joke was over once the Stormtroopers got on, but Vader just topped it so well. One thing we learned is that almost every human will immediately take out their camera when they see Darth Vader. We’ve done lots of crazy missions on the subway over the years, but I have never seen so many people taking photographs of our performance. How can you not take a photo of Darth Vader? It’s impossible to resist!

Leia being taken away, after her intense scene with Vader

A guy snaps one last photo of our cast

After the agents exited, we reset to stage the mission again. We were now closer to midtown, so we knew we’d have a larger audience for the next run.

Leia about to enter her train for the 2nd run

This guy was completely perplexed (as seen in the video)

Stormtroopers wait for the passengers to exit the train before entering. Proper protocol!

My job during the mission was to act as Vader’s handler, making sure Agent Scordelis was where he needed to be. He didn’t have great visibility out of his mask, so someone needed to be there in case he needed help. It felt like the two of us were on our own mini-mission. It was hilarious to see Darth Vader standing all by himself at the end of a subway platform, patiently waiting on the train.

Vader got all kinds of funny looks from people as they passed by or gawked at him from across the tracks. At one point, a young guy came up to him and said, “Sith Lord, would it be OK if I took your photo?”

Vader’s entrance the second time went much more smoothly (he remembered to duck!) and the crowd roared when he appeared.

A guy takes a self-portrait with our Stormtroopers

We staged the mission around four times in total, heading uptown as far as 125th Street, and then back down to Union Square.

It was fun watching the reactions of the passengers, young and old. We encountered a few kids throughout the day, and not surprisingly they seemed to be the most excited by the mission. Some seemed flat out amazed.

Watching the characters walk away

Stormtrooper Graveyard

We finally made it down to Union Square and the actors got out of their costumes, helmets littering the station floor. It was a really fun afternoon. It’s always satisfying to see a subway car full of strangers come to life when something hilarious unexpectedly happens. Folks were laughing and chatting with other passengers while they snapped away on their camera phones. A good time was had by all.

Mission Accomplished


Watch other Movies In Real Life episodes:

– Episode 1: Rocky In Real Life
– Episode 2: Indiana Jones In Real Life
– Episode 3: Lord of the Rings In Real Life
– Episode 4: The Matrix In Real Life
– Episode 5: Back to the Future In Real Life
– Episode 6: Jurassic Park In Real Life
– Episode 7: When Harry Met Sally In Real Life
– Episode 8: Harry Potter In Real Life
– Episode 9: Spartacus In Real Life
– Episode 10: A Christmas Story In Real Life

Agent Sokoler’s Flickr Set

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241 Responses to Star Wars Subway Car

  1. Matt says:

    Nice job!!!

    • Derek says:

      Loved it!!!
      Maybe next time Luke and Chewbacca could be waiting for them with a light sabre or two???
      Great one guys!

      • RebelPandur says:

        Chewie was no jedi.
        Luke and Obiwan would have been perfect.

        Awesome work. :thumbs up:

        • Jon says:

          You don’t need to be a Jedi to wield a lightsaber

          • Chris says:

            Yeah you do.

          • internerd says:

            No you just have to be a jedi to make a lightsaber..

          • Sammy says:

            Griveous was a cyborg. In his last fight against Kenobi, he wielded four lightsabers. He was no Jedi nor Sith. But Kenobi, being a Master Jedi, had full mastery of the Force and control of the lightsaber. That helped him win that fight.

          • Sammy says:

            Here? the scene…


            “Back away! I will deal with this Jedi slime myself!”
            ?General Grievous[src]

            After the Republic received word that Grievous was hiding on Utapau, General Kenobi was sent to kill him. Still weak and injured from his encounter with Windu, he immediately revealed his four arms and attacked the Jedi. During the duel, Grievous’s craven reflexes kicked in, and his inability to penetrate Kenobi’s Form III defense made his offense grow sloppy. Kenobi took advantage of this and altered the angle of his parries to cut Grievous’s wrists. Grievous lost two of his hands to Kenobi before Clone Marshal Commander Cody and the 212th Attack Battalion arrived, ambushing the droid army. Fighting broke out all over Pau City between droid and clone forces.[2]
            General Grievous squares off against Obi-Wan Kenobi on Utapau in what would be his final match.

            Grievous fled on his wheel bike, surprised and angered by Obi-Wan’s ability to fight and gain an advantage in a one on one battle. Pursued by Obi-Wan on a varactyl named Boga, after a prolonged chase and running duel, the two crashed onto Grievous’ private landing dock where the Soulless One’ waited. As they fought hand-to-hand, Grievous made use of his mechanical body and superior strength, although Kenobi managed to rip open Grievous’ previously damaged chest plates, revealing the synth-skin gut-sack containing his remaining organs. Angered, Grievous tossed Kenobi off the platform, but the Jedi managed to catch hold of the edge.[2]

            Grievous, deprived of most of his arsenal, picked up a electrostaff and charged at Kenobi, raising the staff to finish him off. But before he could deliver the killing blow, Kenobi used the Force to summon Grievous’s personal blaster to his outstretched hand. He fired five shots through the gap in Grievous’ chest plate into the general’s gut-sack. The oils preserving Grievous’ organs burst into flames, incinerating his remaining biological components and killing the famed cyborg.

        • well we don't know that says:

          chewie may have been a jedi, it was never confirmed nor denied, though he certainly didn’t need a light sabers.

      • Masa says:

        Great performance! I wanna see you in my hometown, Tokyo JAPAN!

    • Larry Colen says:

      The camera you needed for this mission:

    • DP says:

      The best..I remember going to Star Wars at 16 years old…the subway thing was fab

  2. Agent Reeves says:

    Love this one… my new fav IE mission!!!

  3. Kristen says:


  4. meowbooks says:

    Awesome performance. Leia had the right amount of royal dignity and indignation, Vader was imposing and the troopers were efficient.

    • Phil says:

      Storm troopers really lose something when they don’t have their blaster rifles. I know they couldn’t for obvious reasons.

      • MrJest says:

        Yeah, I thought the same thing… I went to such pains and expense to get my blaster right for my costume (yes, I am an Enormous Nerd)

  5. J says:

    Now that I know Pat Cassels is one of the Storm Troopers makes it funnier for me. haha

  6. David says:

    Fantastic! That woulda been something to write home about.

  7. Diem-face says:

    Now that’s awesome!

  8. Hamish Annan says:

    This mission was awesome! The reaction from those ladies was soo funny! I don’t think I could have helped not taking a picture of Vader either! Great job guys, can’t see what you come up with next!

  9. pete says:

    wow you guys really effing rock!! bravo!!!

  10. Joyce says:

    Oh my goodness I am so happy that College Humor and Improv Everywhere are finally teaming up! My two favorite comedy groups together! I can now die in peace.

    I wish I was there to witness it but still glad you guys always have these blog entries to make it seem as if I really was. I am proud to be a New Yorker. THANKYOU!

  11. Cyrik says:

    Wonderfully, this is exactly what IE is here for. ^_^ Good job everyone!

  12. Jiko Hitasura says:

    You guys make me wish I lived in New York XD This totally made my whole day!

  13. Andrew says:

    How is this your latest mission in NYC. If everyone is dressed like it’s winter?

    • Ryan says:

      They said it was a rainy day, don’t you put on warm clothes when its a cold rainy day?

    • Charlie Todd says:

      We did it in March. It’s the latest mission on the site. We pretty frequently do missions and then release them months later for a variety of reasons. In this case, we didn’t want it to be back-to-back with our Ghostbusters video.

      • Sharon says:

        The weather in NY is unpredictable at times, it’ll be 100 degrees one day, and 50 the next. We’re used to seeing crazy on the carts, but this is fun crazy! Awesome job!

  14. Iggy says:

    Oh wow. I really, really wish I lived in New York. Right now. Actually, before this happened. But still. Me. New York. Now. Must happen before next IE prank. *frantically writes to-do list

  15. ginny rea says:

    This is really cool! I hope to be at the open event in the Fall. You guys are the best!

  16. Fab says:

    Money……… absolutely money!

  17. Reyna says:

    I wish so much that things like this happened in my area. XD I love your videos!

  18. Raibaz says:

    You guys are pure genius, but this is no news :)

  19. Ryan says:

    They said it was a rainy day, don’t you put on warm clothes when its a cold rainy day?

  20. armann says:

    hehe nice awesome act i want to join Improv Everywhere but becose i live in iceland and do not plan to move or even visit america in the next years than i cant…