Lucasfilm has always had a great track record of interacting with "Star Wars" fans. Last year at San Diego Comic Con they gave away lightsabers and even threw fans a private concert. There are also the reports that terminally ill fan Daniel Fleetwood got to see the film before he passed away in November.
Entertainment Weekly is reporting that not only did fans like Daniel get to see an early cut of the film, but as many as 24 ailing fans were able to see the film before it's release. This information comes from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" director JJ Abrams, who said, "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 described the process of taking the film to the homes and hospital beds of fans who knew they couldn't make the trek to the theater, "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."
Representatives from Lucasfilm would take the film to these fans, and Abrams would always introduce the film to the fans over the phone. "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."
These acts of kindness are another reminder that both Abrams and the team behind Lucasfilm are invested in the fans who love "Star Wars," and that there are ways for a large cinematic franchise to give back in such intimate and personal ways.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is currently out on Blu-ray and DVD.