At 6-foot-4, Steven Umholtz is a tall Han, three inches taller than Harrison Ford himself, but he undeniably looks the part of everyone’s favorite space smuggler. Umholtz has the “Star Wars: A New Hope” look. The shirt, the vest, the hair (a wig), the belt, holster, blaster. (The costume, Umholtz said, cost about $2,000 to make.)
He’s such a good Han, in fact, that he was invited to attend the world premiere of “Solo: A Star Wars Story” last week at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. Umholtz wasn’t the solo Solo. He was one of six Hans roving around the red-carpet event. All the invited “Star Wars” cosplayers later got see the movie and attend the after-party, as well.
“It’s quite the honor,” said Umholtz, a 48-year-old UPS driver who lives in Lincoln. “You always try to make the best costume you can, and you hope people like it. But this is the ultimate honor.”
Umholtz, who is a member of the “Star Wars” costuming group the Rebel Legion, helped work the crowd at Thursday’s red-carpet event, getting to meet a few famous people in the process. This included some of the cast of “Solo,” an origin story prequel (which opens May 25) that tells of Han’s escapades prior to “A New Hope.” Umholtz got to meet the new Han himself, actor Alden Ehrenreich, as well as Donald Glover and Woody Harrelson. He got autographs from and selfies with a few of the stars, along with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and actor Nathan Fillion (who’s not in “Solo” but was attending the premiere).
“It was an amazing evening,” Umholtz said. “I still can’t believe it happened. And when we were done with the red carpet, we were like, ‘We still get to go see the movie!’ ”
He doesn’t want to ruin the film for anyone, but he will say that he loved it, that it was entertaining, that Ehrenreich nailed the part.
Umholtz can’t say he ever really anticipated being a “Star Wars” cosplayer attending world premieres of summer blockbusters. Cosplaying was just something fun (and expensive) to do. (He also has a tremendous Indiana Jones costume, by the way. He and Ford are kindred spirits.)
This all got started about a decade back. He bought a “Star Wars” blaster replica. Then he bought the holster. Then other parts of the costume. He wanted to justify the expense, so he turned it into a Halloween costume. It was a couple’s costume, actually — his dog went as Princess Leia.
“I got a picture taken and showed it to somebody,” Umholtz said. “They said, ‘You should join the Rebel Legion.’ I said, ‘What’s that?’ ”