Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger marked the Thanksgiving holiday by allowing the studio’s upcoming holiday tentpole “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” to screen three weeks early for a terminally ill “Star Wars” fan at Rowans Hospice in Hampshire, England. The medical center confirmed the patient and his son watched “Rise of Skywalker” on November 29, 2019. Iger wrote on social media that Disney was “grateful to be able to share” the film early, adding, “May the force be with you and with us all.”
Rowans Hospice issued a statement on behalf of the patient, who has decided to remain anonymous. “I just want to say the biggest thank you to everyone that has helped to make this happen,” the patient said. “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 a million pounds.”
Disney has a history of allowing sick “Star Wars” fans to screen new entries in the franchise ahead of release. Daniel Fleetwood, who had an aggressive form of lung cancer, memorably screened an unfinished version of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in October 2015. Fleetwood passed away the following month before “The Force Awakens” theatrical release.
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“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is opening in theaters nationwide December 20.
This morning, a very nice man named Jonathan from Disney turned up at our Hospice with a laptop that had a very important movie on it. Our amazing patient has now seen #StarWars #RiseofSkywalker with his son 💚
— Rowans Hospice (@RowansHospice) November 29, 2019
— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) November 28, 2019