Terminally ill Star Wars fan granted wish to watch Force Awakens

People dressed as Storm Trooper characters standing in front of toys that went on sale at midnight in advance of the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Manhattan, New York.
People dressed as Storm Trooper characters standing in front of toys that went on sale at midnight in advance of the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Manhattan, New York. PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - A terminally ill Star Wars fan, who was given just a few months to live, was granted his wish to see the new The Force Awakens film on Thursday (Nov 5), nearly two months before it comes out in theatres.

Mr Daniel Fleetwood, a 31-year-old Texas man suffering from an aggressive form of cancer that has spread to 90 per cent of his lungs, was able to watch an early cut of the highly anticipated new Star Wars film, due in theatres on Dec 18, his wife Ashley Fleetwood said on Facebook.

"Daniel just finished watching an unfinished version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!!! We would like to thank the awesomely talented J.J. Abrams for calling us yesterday to tell us Daniel was getting his wish granted!" she said.

Mr Fleetwood's dying wish to see The Force Awakens went viral on social media in the past week with the hashtag #ForceForDaniel, which garnered the support of Star Wars actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and newcomer John Boyega.

Hamill tweeted on Thursday that he was "elated" that Mr Fleetwood had been able to see the film.

Mr Fleetwood and his wife have been documenting his health on social media and in September, he posted an update saying he had been given one or two months to live, due to how fast the cancer had spread.

Disney said on Thursday that the screening for Mr Fleetwood had taken place and that "all involved were happy to be able to make it happen". The company did not say where the screening took place, but given Mr Fleetwood's poor health, it is likely to have been at his home.

The plot of The Force Awakens, the seventh film installment in George Lucas's widely popular Star Wars universe that will see the return of franchise veterans Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mayhew, has been kept tightly under wraps. Fans have only been given three brief teaser trailers in the past year.

Pre-sales for the opening of The Force Awakens have already broken US and international records.