A while back we talked about “Force for Change,” a charity tie-in with the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, where fans could win a small role in the film for donating money to UNICEF and their continuing efforts around the globe. Director J.J. Abrams appeared in a couple of videos that not only revealed the contest and prize, but also showed off some of the practical special effects that will appear in the movie. He even revealed a new version of the iconic X-Wing Fighter in the process. The contest is now over, and today he delivered a thank cool thank you note for fans, as well as revealing the winner.
“Force for Change” was a rousing success, raising more than $4.26 million dollars for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, which are aimed at addressing serious issues facing children all around the globe, like nutrition, education, and access to clean water. These efforts include MobiStations, which are portable, solar-powered educational stations that can go anywhere they’re needed, as well as Rapid FTR (Family Tracing and Reunification), which is an app for mobile phones that is designed to bring together families that have been separated by natural disasters.
Abrams’ message came via the Bad Robot Twitter account, and was accompanied by this photo of a mechanical hand clutching the handwritten note. Now we’re free to speculate wildly on the nature of this appendage. At first glance it appears to belong to a droid and continue up past the wrist, but you can’t help but wonder, with all of the crazy rumors that have been floating around lately involving hands, if maybe this could belong to Luke Skywalker? Granted, I’m probably just imagining something where nothing exists, but this is Abrams we’re talking about, and he’s not above dropping cryptic hints and teases (we all remember the Khan/not Khan situation with Star Trek Into Darkness).
In addition to this, Disney and Lucasfilm also announced the winner of the contest, a Colorado resident named D.C. Barns. A lifelong Star Wars fan who saw the first film when it opened in 1977, he will fly to the London set of Episode VII, get an extensive behind-the-scenes tour, and, of course, get fitted for a costume and film and actual scene in an actual Star Wars movie. Check out the video of him being surprised by the “Force for Change” team informing him that he’d won. It’s pretty adorable to listen to him talk about what Star Wars means to him and almost fall off his chair when the team busts into his Denver office.
Star Wars: Episode VII stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Davis, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac, Max Von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie, and many others, and opens everywhere December 18, 2015.
Here’s the video of Abrams with the X-Wing…
…and here he is with the adorable little puppet guy.