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‘Star Wars’ fan with terminal cancer hopes to see ‘The Force Awakens’ early

He's already defied the odds.


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Published Nov 1, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 5:27 pm CDT

A lifelong Star Wars fan in Texas is making a plea to J.J. Abrams and Disney to fulfill his dying wish to see The Force Awakens.

Daniel Fleetwood has been a fan of the Star Wars movies since he was around 8 or 9. Since then, he’s obtained plenty of merchandise, written fanfiction, and even made local news for camping out for one of the prequels. But he has spindle cell sarcoma, which is a rare form of cancer that affects connective tissue, and was given two months to live by his oncologist back in July.

Fleetwood, who is currently in hospice care at home, has already defied the odds but he doesn’t think he’s going to live long enough to see The Force Awakens in theaters in December. He hopes that Abrams or someone at Disney can make it happen, even if it’s supervised by a studio executive.

“It’s a commitment and he still has that commitment, that drive, and that love and I think that it’s a beautiful thing,” Fleetwood’s wife Ashley told Click2Houston. “Even if it’s just a movie. That’s magic for a lot of people.”

Fleetwood’s plea has already gotten support from Mark Hamill, and Abrams fulfilled a similar wish in the past. In December 2012, he and Paramount Pictures arranged a private screening of Star Trek Into Darkness for another terminally ill fan with cancer.

Update 7:57am CT, Nov. 3: The push to let Fleetwood see The Force Awakens is gaining traction among cast members of the Star Wars films. The Force Awakens star John Boyega (Finn) retweeted the same message as Hamill calling for Abrams and Disney to let Fleetwood watch the film.

Actors Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Daniel Logan (Boba Fett in Attack of the Clones) have retweeted a similar message.

Boyega’s co-star Daisy Ridley (Rey) took her support straight to her Instagram account, promising Fleetwood that “We will all do what we can to make your wish come true.”

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Update 3:51pm CT, Nov. 5: After #ForceForDaniel gained worldwide attention and support from members of the cast, Ashley Fleetwood updated supporters to let them know that thanks to their efforts, Disney and Lucasfilm arranged for Fleetwood to see an unedited version of the film.

“Today the wonderful Disney and Lucasfilms made his final dream come true, in the amazing typical Disney way, they really do make dreams come true!” she wrote.

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Hamill, upon learning the update, also expressed his gratitude to Disney and Lucasfilm for making Fleetwood’s dream come true.

Update 6:37am CT, Nov. 10: Daniel Fleetwood has passed away at the age of 32.

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H/T Comic Book | Screengrab via Star Wars/YouTube

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*First Published: Nov 1, 2015, 5:26 pm CST