Recently, Hollywood blockbusters are providing more than just hours of entertainment value and escapism; they're looking for ways to give back to the community via charitable outreaches. Some of the biggest tentpoles in the last couple years, such as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Star Trek Beyond, have used their high profiles to increase awareness for a variety of causes through contests that offer fans fun prizes. These can be walk on roles in the finished film, or an opportunity to attend the world premiere.
Star Wars is no different. During production of The Force Awakens, Disney and Lucasfilm launched the Force for Change initiative in an effort to find "creative solutions" to some of the world's largest problems. Initially working with Omaze to raise funding for UNICEF, it expanded to benefit 15 other worldwide organizations by the time the film was ready to hit theaters. Force for Change proved to be very successful, raising more than $10 million in total during 2015. It shouldn't come as any surprise then, that Lucasfilm is relaunching the campaign in 2016.
In a special video announcement (watch it above), Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and series star Mark Hamill shared the latest Force for Change details. After humorously commenting on his minimized role in Episode VII, Hamill revealed that four charities will be supported this time around: the Make-a-Wish Foundation, UNICEF USA, the American Red Cross, and the Boys & Girls Club of America. It will run from April 5, 2016 to May 4, 2016, with different challenges and prizes each week. Force for Change will match any donation up to $1 million.
When it comes to giving to charity, every little bit helps, and the smallest gift can yield amazing results. Just for participating, anyone who donates at least $10 will be entered to win an all-expenses paid trip to Ireland. It includes a visit to Skellig Michael (sponsored by Tourism Ireland), the location used to film the final scene of Star Wars 7 and portions of Rian Johnson's Star Wars: Episode VIII. The so-called "bonus challenges" involve higher dollar figures. For instance, this week's giveaway of a signed Force Awakens Blu-ray will be given to the first 20 individuals that give $500 or more. So whatever your budget, there's a way to take part. However, it's worth noting that the prizes are available only to United States residents.
Those interested can visit crowdrise.com/ForceForChange to make a donation to one of the organizations, set up their own fundraiser, or learn more information. Regardless of whether or not one wins a prize, this is still a great way to make a difference and help others who are in need, which is arguably the greatest reward of all. Odds are, Force for Change will continue to leave a positive impact on the world as fans celebrate the return of the galaxy far, far away.
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