The man and his young son got to watch the film ahead of its official Dec. 20 release date after staff at Rowans Hospice in Purbrook, southern England ― where the man is a patient ― started a Twitter campaign because “time is not on his side.”
The plotlines of “Star Wars” films are usually kept under lock and key until their release. But the plea went viral and eventually came to the attention of Disney CEO Bob Iger, who announced on Thursday that the movie would be shared with the patient and his family.
The man watched the film on a laptop brought over to the hospice by a Disney employee, per the hospice:
He even got to see the movie before actor Mark Hamill, who stars in it as Luke Skywalker:
“I just want to say the biggest thank you to everyone that has helped to make this happen,” the man, who also enjoyed a “Star Wars”-themed party earlier in the week, said via a statement released by the hospice. “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!” he added. “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 a million pounds.”
The patient’s wife said the family had been “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,” she added. Lisa Davies, speaking on behalf of the hospice, said she was “utterly speechless” about the successful social media campaign.