Mark Hamill and John Boyega have expressed their support for Daniel Fleetwood, a superfan with terminal cancer
Daniel Fleetwood, a 32-year-old Star Wars fan with terminal cancer from Houston, Texas, might not live to see Episode VII of the franchise, The Force Awakens, when it is released this Christmas. But stars from the franchise have leant their voices to a Twitter campaign for Fleetwood’s being allowed to see the film early.
Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill and John Boyega, who plays Finn – an ex-Stormtrooper and the rumoured hero of the new film – have expressed their support for Fleetwood by retweeting the hashtag #ForceForDaniel, which is now trending on the social media platform:
Fleetwood has been a Star Wars fan since he was eight. When he was 21 his local newspaper ran a story about how he camped outside his cinema for days in order to be the first person to get a ticket to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. He had been the first person to get tickets for the previous two movies.
Though Fleetwood has been doing well by medical standards – his doctor gave him two months to live in July – he worries that he will pass away before the American release date of the film, which is December 18. “Judging by how progressive the disease has gotten in the past two months, I really don’t think that I’ll be able to make it,” he said on Houston’s news channel KPRC.
Fleetwood suffers from an aggressive, rare form of cancer called spindle cell sarcoma, which begins in the tissue under the skin or between organs, and can spread easily before being detected. Until now, he has believed he has been hanging on to see the film. “I just love Star Wars,” he said. “With everything I got I love Star Wars.”
His dying wish is to see a version of the film before its official release, whether or not that is under the supervision of a Disney executive. In an exhortation to viewers of the station, Fleetwood – who is now in hospice care at home with his wife Ashley – asked: “please do what you can. Help me.”
This all began with a Facebook post from one of Ashley Fleetwood’s friends last Tuesday, which was shared 300 times and then picked up by Reddit users. It has since gone viral.
JJ Abrams has a history of granting similar wishes. In 2013 he showed film buff Daniel Craft a rough cut of Star Trek Into Darkness five months before it was released. Craft was terminally ill with cancer, and died days after seeing the movie.
In fact, one might call it Disney form to make this kind of dream come true. In 2009 Pixar flew an employee to the bedside of Colby Curtin – a 10-year-old sufferer of vascular cancer – with a DVD of Up before it was released in cinemas. Curtin had been desperate to see up from the moment she saw a trailer. She passed away the next day.
This is boss.