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SYFY WIRE Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

Disney screens The Rise of Skywalker for terminally-ill Star Wars fan ahead of world premiere

By Josh Weiss
Rise of Skywalker

In a move that truly reflects the generous spirit of the holiday season, Disney allowed a terminally ill Star Wars fan to see The Rise of Skywalker at a private screening this week.

“I just want to say the biggest thank you to everyone that has helped to make this happen. 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," the patient, who preferred to remain anonymous, said in a statement to ABC. "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 that this must be what it feels like to be told you have won a million pounds!”

"On this Thanksgiving, we at @Disney are grateful to be able to share #TheRiseOfSkywalker with a patient and his family @RowansHospice. May the force be with you and with us all!" wrote Disney CEO Bob Iger on Twitter.

“We are truly humbled by everyone’s support. What has happened over the past few days has been truly mind-blowing," added the patient's wife in her own statement. "From a [simple] conversation, to witnessing the outpouring of generosity has been amazing. The massive Star Wars community has been incredible. The amazing people who have visited, along with the messages and gifts we have received, have provided us with an opportunity to talk to our son more about the reality of dad’s condition.”

The Mouse House has a heartwarming history of making exceptions for certain fans to see major blockbusters early. Back in January, we learned that a Marvel Studios fan with a debilitating illness was allowed to see Avengers: Endgame prior to its wide theatrical release at the end of April.

Even when Disney's isn't involved, it's nice to see fandoms coming together to make someone's last wishes a reality. For instance, there was the Vietnam vet who, despite being bedridden due to colon cancer, was still able to see The Last Jedi when it opened in the fall of 2018.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, the highly anticipated film won't open to the public until Friday, Dec. 20.