There’s no disturbing lack of faith when it comes to Force followers in Cincinnati.
Star Wars Day – held each year on May 4, or May the Fourth (be with you) – typically brings out the region’s Jedi, Sith and creatures from a galaxy far, far away, delighting fans of George Lucas’s space saga.
But local legend “Fluke Skywalker” seems to have a few Midi-chlorians to spare, especially when it comes to supporting charities for children.
Cincinnati’s own version of Luke Skywalker has been cosplaying since 2017, after people began commenting that he looked like Mark Hamill, who has portrayed the character throughout the film saga. This eventually spurred him to ask his wife for a replica of Skywalker’s Jedi costume for his birthday so that he could distribute toys to children at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati that holiday season while in character.
“The kids love running around, beating each other up with lightsabers, as kids will do, and the parents started something that has never stopped since I’ve been doing this,” he reveals. “They walk right up and say, ‘Mr. Hamill, can I get a picture with you?’”
“Fluke” – who has asked CityBeat to withhold his name in order to keep the attention on his craft and on the charities he helps – tells everyone that he’s not the real deal, but admirers insist on capturing moments with their favorite Force user anyway. With his tattered Jedi robes and top-of-the-line lightsaber, “Fluke’s” resemblance to the beloved character is uncanny enough that even Hamill himself has tweeted about it, saying, “He looks more like me than me” in 2019 after seeing a photo of “Fluke” at San Diego Comic Con.
Since beginning this adventure, “Fluke” has grown his Skywalker costume collection and frequently appears at Ronald McDonald House and other children’s charities along with friends who portray Star Wars characters Rey, C-3P0 and the Mandalorian.
“Fluke” says that his entrance into cosplay was a little different from the norm.
“They (other cosplayers) are like Star Wars, Star Wars, Star Wars first, and then they find out at the end they can join (cosplay organizations) the Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion and do charity work around town. I’m the inverse of that,” he says.
The charity aspect is the draw for “Fluke,” who has been volunteering with his family at Ronald McDonald House for years even before his Star Wars cosplay began. A former educator, he greets kids at the hospital as Skywalker and frequently brings a collection of Star Wars toys for the youngsters. “Fluke” doesn’t charge for any appearances there or at the many events he’s invited to, instead insisting that hosts donate to the charity. On his website imflukeskywalker.com, “Fluke” features links to donate directly to Ronald McDonald House or to a GoFundMe for Star Wars toys that are distributed there during the winter holidays.
But those who don’t frequent the Ronald McDonald House can still find “Fluke” around Cincinnati. He’s often asked to be part of major Star Wars events throughout the region, including pop-culture conventions, comic book shops and theme nights for the local sports teams. “Fluke” credits Cincy Shirts co-owner Josh Sneed with booking him for his first charity fundraiser when the Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story was released.
“I owe Josh big time. That kind of gave me the courage to continue on, making my cosplay better and doing more events,” he says.
“Fluke” says he’s looking at involving more businesses and corporations in his charity work, and he’s trying to make plans to surprise a few local celebrities who are Star Wars fans.
“You can’t name a single demographic that doesn’t love that movie. It always blows me away,” he says, adding that he saw the original Star Wars film in 1977 when he was age 13. “It’s a universal appeal.”
For more information about “Fluke Skywalker” or to donate to children’s charities, visit imflukeskywalker.com.
Where to find 'Fluke Skywalker' next:
- May 4, Star Wars Day fan gathering, Washington Park, 1230 Elm Street
- May 4, Star Wars Night, FC Cincinnati, 1501 Central Parkway, fccincinnati.com
- Event details TBD, Star Wars Night, Cincinnati Reds, Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, reds.com
- Sept. 23-25, Cincinnati Comic Expo, Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., cincinnaticomicexpo.com