The Force Awakens - J.J. Abrams

Last year, J.J. Abrams made headlines when he allowed Daniel Fleetwood, a terminally ill Star Wars fan, to see The Force Awakens early. Fleetwood died only a few days after his screening. While Abrams and Lucasfilm didn’t advertise what they did, Fleetwood’s friends and family spread the word. Now, it’s been revealed that Abrams’ generosity goes beyond a single fan. Entertainment Weekly spoke with Abrams and learned that there were many other early screenings for fans who did not live long enough to see the film in theaters:

You know, there are a lot of examples of passionate and excitable people but the most, I think, profound experience was that in the time before the movie came out — about a month before — we had a couple people go around to those fans who were not going to survive because of terminal illness until the movie came out. The movie was screened probably two dozen or so times to various people who, tragically, were struck with illness that would prevent them from seeing the movie otherwise.

Abrams would also introduce each screening by phone and speak with the fans afterward:

I would speak with these people before and after. Sometimes they were adults and other times they were children and it was always… it was the most profound thing to be reminded in such a clear and wonderful and heartbreaking way how important this world was that George Lucas created, what it meant to these people.

Don’t let anyone ever say that Abrams isn’t a straight-up gentleman and scholar.

jacket auction

Speaking of people in Star Wars doing good things for good causes, Harrison Ford recently auctioned the jacket he wore in The Force Awakens to raise money for FACES (Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures). Bidding began at $15,000, but the jacket ultimately sold for a cool $191,000.

onAnother day, another person seemingly discovering additional dialogue hidden in the sound mix during Rey’s big flashback scene! We were already aware of vocal cameos from Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, but according to this new deep dive, we can hear Obi-Wan Kenobi saying “You will be tempted, but you can not control it” as Kylo Ren executes an unnamed character, a line that was originally used in The Empire Strikes Back. Even more interesting is an apparent Emperor Palpatine snippet from Revenge of the Sith, where the big bad of the original and prequel trilogies can be heard saying “Any Jedi” as the film cuts back to Rey. Make of all of this what you will.

One of the most weirdly human moments in The Force Awakens comes during the climactic lightsaber duel, where the wounded Kylo Ren repeatedly punches his own blaster wound. Although the scene is an easy read – Ben Solo is dealing with extreme pain and is trying to psych himself up – the always valuable Star Wars Minute took a deeper dive. As you can see in the video above, the “legends” stories of the former expanded universe feature several examples of Dark Side followers using pain to increase their strength and connection to their powers. So there you go.

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