After a long battle with spindle cell sarcoma, “Star Wars” superfan Daniel Fleetwood died on Nov. 10. Just days prior to his death, Disney and Lucasfilm arranged for an unfinished screener of the upcoming film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to be delivered to him to fulfill his dying wish.
According to The Wrap, Fleetwood had been a “Star Wars” fan since he was a child and was very excited that there would be another chapter in the iconic franchise. Unfortunately, the terminally ill man knew that waiting until the film’s Dec. 18 release date was not necessarily an option for him. A viral campaign began to convince the powers that be to pull some strings and let Fleetwood see the movie early.
As Us Weekly notes, not long after the campaign caught the attention of stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and John Boyega, “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams personally called Fleetwood at his Texas home and informed him that he, Lucasfilm and Disney were going to make his dreams come true. Although he’s no longer with us, Daniel Fleetwood will go down in “Star Wars” history as the first fan to see “Episode 7.”
— ScreenCrush (@screencrushnews) November 10, 2015
Boyega, a newcomer to the “Star Wars” franchise, was among the first to share his condolences for the departed fan on social media.
#ForceForDaniel glad you got to see the movie more importantly that you slept in peace. God bless you man x x you inspire me xx
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) November 10, 2015
News of Fleetwood’s passing was confirmed by Fleetwood's wife by way of a Facebook post Tuesday in which she thanked everyone for their support and broke the bad news.
“Daniel put up an amazing fight to the very end. He is now one with God and with the force. He passed in his sleep and in peace,” Ashley Fleetwood wrote. “He will always be my idol and my hero.”
Those in the “Star Wars” fan community are pleased that the franchise they love would grant one of their own such a special request. Fans can pile in to theaters on Dec. 18 to see the film for themselves, knowing that Fleetwood got his big wish.