Countdown to 'Star Wars'

Force is strong with Abrams

J.J. Abrams and Disney deserve kudos for granting wish.
J.J. Abrams and Disney deserve kudos for granting wish. Richard Chambury/Invision/AP

It is easy to get caught up in all of the commercialism and merchandising that’s going on with “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” It’s almost impossible to turn to any entertainment outlet and not hear the film referenced.

Stores are loading their shelves with all kinds of “Force Awakens” items.

What should not be lost in all the hype and hoopla is the kind gesture director J.J. Abrams made to a dying fan. Longtime “Star Wars” fan, Daniel Fleetwood, who had been battling cancer for two years, was given a chance to see an early copy of “The Force Awakens.”

It was his last wish. Fleetwood, 31, died just a few days after seeing the movie.

The screening came about because of support from other fans including a petition that was signed by “Star Wars” star Mark Hamill.

Abrams and Disney didn’t have to show Fleetwood the film. Both the director and studio have made it very clear that the film has been put under a tight security out of fear many of the spoilers would be revealed.

When I say they didn’t have to show Fleetwood the movie, I mean they weren’t legal obligated. But, it’s great to see that Abrams and Disney did feel morally obligated to make the screening happen.

“Star Wars” has been a uniting force over the years. People of all race, creeds and sexuality have come together to celebrate the fun that comes from being a fan of the franchise. It’s also been a nice link between generations.

Screening the film fit the positivity that has been the force that has brought “Star Wars” fans together.

No matter what “The Force Awakens” does at the box office, Abrams and Disney already have shown themselves to be winners because of a very kind gesture.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1