Advance screening of new Star Wars film confirmed for dying fan

By Ben Mitchell, PA
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Advance screening of new Star Wars film confirmed for dying fan

Staff at a hospice which appealed for help to arrange an advanced viewing of the latest Star Wars film for a dying fan have spoken of their gratitude after Disney confirmed the screening will go ahead.

The Rowans Hospice near Portsmouth, Hampshire, reached out on Twitter for help for their patient.

The final instalment of the nine-part saga – The Rise Of Skywalker – is due for release in UK cinemas on December 19, but time is of the essence for the patient.

The hospice tweeted: “Can you help? We have a patient who’s a HUGE #StarWars fan. Sadly, time is not on his side for the 20th Dec.

“His wish is to see the final Star Wars film #RiseOfSkywalker with his young son. If you know ANYBODY who might be able to make it happen, please share with them. Thank you.”

Social media users offered help, suggesting email addresses and Twitter handles to get in touch with, before Star Wars actor Mark Hamill responded.

Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker originally, tweeted: “Contact @Disney. They are the only ones who can make this happen. Good luck!”

Walt Disney company chief executive Robert Iger got in touch the next day, replying: “Please provide me with the necessary details and we will certainly try.”

Disney chief Bob Iger confirmed a special screening has been arranged (PA)

Now Mr Iger has confirmed the screening will go ahead.

He posted: “On this Thanksgiving, we @Disney are grateful to be able to share #TheRiseOfSkywalker with a patient and his family @RowansHospice. May the force be with you and with us all!”

Lisa Davies, the healthcare support worker who brought the patient’s wish to the attention of the rest of the staff at Rowans, said: “I am utterly speechless. We cannot thank Disney enough for confirming that they will be able share the film to fulfil our patient’s wish.

“We totally appreciate that they have had to move mountains to make this happen.

“The response from everyone, including the Star Wars community, has been absolutely phenomenal over the last few days. So a massive thank-you to every single person that has shared our post and given their time to help make this possible.”

The success of the appeal was welcomed by many people on Twitter, including Michael Eisner – the owner of Portsmouth FC who is a former Disney chief executive.

He posted: “Very happy to see that this is happening! The whole community of Portsmouth on the south coast of England appreciates what @Disney has done.”

The patient, who does not wish to be named, said he wanted to thank everyone who had helped him see the film that he had been waiting for since 1977.

He said: “I just want to say the biggest thank you to everyone that has helped to make this happen. During what is just a horrible situation to be in, you have helped to make some wonderful memories and bring some joy to my family.

“I am a huge Star Wars fan and what I am going through is completely dire. Then, to top it all, I thought I wasn’t going to see the film I have been waiting to see since 1977. I still can’t believe it.

“The only way I can describe this to you is to say that this must be what it feels like to be told you have won £1 million.”

His wife said: “We are truly humbled by everyone’s support. What has happened over the past few days has been truly mind-blowing.

“From a simple conversation to witnessing the outpouring of generosity has been amazing.

“The massive Star Wars community has been incredible. The amazing people who have visited, along with the messages and gifts we have received have provided us with an opportunity to talk to our son more about the reality of his dad’s condition.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped to make this happen. We will be forever grateful for these wonderful memories.”