Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Stormtrooper Marches 645 Miles To Comic-Con In Memory Of Late Wife

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your tax-deductible financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

A man dressed in a Stormtrooper costume is trekking 645 miles from San Francisco to San Diego on foot to Comic-Con this year as a tribute to his late wife.

Kevin Doyle, a 57-year-old illustrator and photographer from Minnesota, and his wife, Eileen, were huge Star Wars fans. The couple met through the 501st Legion, a Star Wars costume guild. Doyle proposed to her in 2009, dressed like Darth Vader. The couple married in 2010 and R2D2 was their ring bearer.

Unfortunately, their happiness was short-lived. Eileen died in November of 2012 from pancreatic cancer, and Doyle told The San Diego Union-Tribune that he's struggled to cope with her death ever since. He quit his job, which caused him to lose his house.

"In the time since she died, I've struggled with how to deal with the loss. I've been self-destructive and my art has suffered," he said.

Support for LAist comes from

In an attempt to find peace and to salvage his creativity, he decided to do a three-day walk for a breast cancer nonprofit in Minnesota while in his Stormtrooper outfit.

After he decided to travel to Petaluma, Calif. to check out a Star Wars museum, it occurred to him that he might also like to visit Comic-Con in San Diego. When Google Maps told him that San Francisco and San Diego were 501 miles apart—a callback to the 501st Legion—he decided it was fate. Doyle's route along the coast, not along the highway, makes it 645 miles.

It's been hot, of course, but Doyle said that many people have been kind to him, offering food, water and hugs as he makes his way. Some people have invited him to dinner, or to meet up after Comic-Con, or have walked with him. He pushes a stroller to carry his supplies, and camps along the way. He doesn't always wear his helmet so that he can see and hear, but he wears it for photos. Doyle was gifted with a hotel stay and a four-day Comic-Con pass, and plans to take the train back up the coast. Comic-Con kicks off this Thursday.

While Doyle's walk is both therapeutic and in memory of Eileen, it's also for a good cause. He is raising money for Eileen's Little Angels, a charity he founded that will provide bags full of coloring books, toys, blankets and other comfort objects for kids dealing with chemotherapy. Donations can be submitted here, and you can follow his journey on Twitter here. May The Force be with you, Kevin.