Disney screens Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker early for dying fan

"The patient and his family are completely over the moon of Endor about it all."

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
2 min read

A British man with a terminal illness got to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker a few weeks early, Disney CEO Robert Iger confirmed on Twitter. "On this Thanksgiving, we at Disney are grateful to be able to share The Rise of Skywalker with a patient and his family at Rowans Hospice," Iger wrote. "May the Force be with you and with us all!"

Rowans Hospice, in Hampshire, England, cares for patients with life-limiting illnesses. The organization shared an image of a Disney representative arriving with the film. 

Few details were given about the patient, who does not wish to be identified. Rowans Hospice Chief Executive Ruth White told NBC News the whole thing started when employee Lisa Davies spotted a "Star Wars" tattoo on the man's leg.

The hospice confirmed the screening in a tweet, writing, "Our amazing patient has now seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with his son."

Magician Sean Boon shared a photo of the patient and others keeping their anonymity by wearing Star Wars costumes. "I'm the tall handsome Stormtrooper in the pic," Boon wrote.

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

Watch this: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Official Trailer (2019)

The film was watched not just by the patient and his son, but by his wife, another son, and the patient's two brothers, NBC News reports. Everyone in the room had to sign a non-disclosure agreement before watching the movie on a large iPad , according to NBC.

Star Wars cast members expressed happiness the man's wish was fulfilled. Mark Hamill , who plays Luke Skywalker in the series, wrote on Twitter, "Hope the Rowan Hospice patient not only enjoyed the film, but gets an extra special satisfaction in knowing he saw it before I did."

Warwick Davis, who played Wicket the Ewok in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, wrote, "This is wonderful and sad in equal measure."

And the hospice responded with a Star Wars reference, writing, "The patient and his family are completely over the moon of Endor about it all."

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will open worldwide Dec. 20, with previews Dec. 19.

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