As moviegoers are well aware, today is Star Wars Day. For years, May the 4th has been a day to celebrate the galaxy far, far away and all it means to so many people. This year, in preparation of the holiday, Lucasfilm partnered with CrowdRise to launch a new Force for Change charity campaign. Introduced back in 2014 when Star Wars: The Force Awakens was still in production, the initiative has proven to be very beneficial for a variety of causes around the globe – including $10 million raised last year during the buildup to the Episode VII premiere.
Offering fun rewards like an autographed stormtrooper helmet and a chance to meet Mark Hamill at 2016’s Star Wars Celebration, fans had plenty of incentives to donate and make a difference. With the current Force for Change campaign closing on May 4, the team has taken one last opportunity to thank all who have participated and push the grand prize of a trip to Skellig Michael in Ireland, the location used to film Rey’s iconic meeting with Luke Skywalker in Force Awakens.
In a short video (watch it above), franchise star Daisy Ridley express gratitude for the people who have contributed to the cause. As of this writing, more than $2.1 million has been raised, exceeding the goal Lucasfilm set when Force for Change 2016 was first launched. The clip takes a turn for the humorous when a costumed alien gives Ridley a Star Wars Day gift from John Boyega: an action figure of his character, Finn.
As Ridley says, Force for Change has illustrated the “amazingly generous spirit” of the Star Wars community. This aspect has been on full display during the property’s revival, and not just through the charity campaign. Thanks to a social media movement, terminally ill fan Daniel Fleetwood was able to see an early cut of The Force Awakens before he passed away (about a month prior to the film’s official premiere), and the beloved astromech droid R2-KT (who has a heartwarming story behind her creation) was included in the movie. After viewers worldwide made Star Wars the pop culture juggernaut it is today, it’s nice to see Lucasfilm give back in so many ways, which only strengthens the bond between the two parties.
This most recent version of Force for Change may be winding down, but those in the giving spirit can rest assured this won’t be the end of the movement. As was the case in 2015, it’s very likely that there will be more campaigns throughout the year, especially as the debut of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story draws near. It’s obviously made a tremendous impact and helped so many in a relatively short span of time, Lucasfilm would be wise to continue it and keep raising money for excellent causes.
In the meantime, for today (May 4, 2016) only, fans can enter for a shot to win that coveted VIP trip to Ireland, which as previously mentioned includes a visit to Skellig Michael Island. All it takes is a small donation of $10 to be eligible, meaning that this sweepstakes is in anybody’s budget. Given that Skellig Michael is such a hard place to access, the Star Wars: Episode VIII crew had to rebuild it at Pinewood Studios, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity many won’t want to miss out on.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Star Wars YouTube Channel