On Thursday at the Bad Robots headquarters, J.J. Abrams hosted the 12th Annual Oscar Wilde Awards, and while he met with members of the press on its red carpet, Megan Pormer asked him about granting Daniel Fleetwood's dying wish of seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens before its official release.
"He was one of a number of people who were tragically not going to live to see the release of the movie," he said of Fleetwood, who passed away less than a week after seeing a rough cut of the film. "And so, it was very important to us that those who were reaching out to us — as much as we could, and we couldn't get everyone of course — got a chance to see the movie even though it was unfinished. There were a couple of people from the editorial department that we sent throughout the country to go to the homes of the people who were ill to show them the movie. And some were children and some were adults, and they got to watch the film. And I spoke with almost all of them before and after they saw the movie.
"And it was incredibly meaningful to all of us working on the movie that it meant so much to other people at a point where they were literally in their last weeks and even days — that's what the cared about," he continued, while getting a bit choked up recalling the emotional and heartwarming experience. "And so it was a great reminder... It's very humbling. And, of course, I hated that these people...passed away. But it was meaningful to all of us that we could do something to help them.
Set thirty years after the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens picks up the story of a galaxy turned upside-down with the deposition of the evil Empire and the rise of the Rebel Alliance to take its place. With the cruel First Order rising to fill the void left by the Empire's destruction and the Resistance dedicated to eradicating their influence, heroes Finn and Rey will need to stop the villainous Kylo Ren and the First Order from assuming total control of the galaxy, with the help of old heroes Han Solo and Leia Organa.
The cast featured the reteaming of original Star Wars stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, along with Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew. They were joined by newcomer Daisy Ridley, John Boyega (Attack the Block, Imperial Dreams), Adam Driver (Lincoln, Girls), and Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, The Bourne Legacy).
Star Wars: The Force Awakens was directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt. Lucasfilm president and eight-time Academy Award nominee Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams, along with his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, are the film’s producers.
MORE: Star Wars Fan Daniel Fleetwood Passes Away / John Boyega Pays Tribute To Star Wars Fan Daniel Fleetwood / Daniel Fleetwood To Be Placed To Rest In Lightsaber-Shaped Urn / Advanced Force Awakens Screenings Held For Dozens Of Terminally Ill Fans