5:00pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Star Wars VII' Cast and Crew Thank Fans for Fundraising Efforts
Star Wars fans got an early holiday gift Friday afternoon, with the release of a new video from J.J. Abrams thanking those who donated to the Star Wars: Force for Change fundraising campaign.
Following a montage of cast and crew from next year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens saying “thank you” to the viewer — including cameos from both R2-D2 and Chewbacca, who hasn’t aged a day, impressively — Abrams appears to reveal why everyone is so grateful: Between donations to the campaign from fans and Lucasfilm parent company Disney, the Force for Change campaign raised $4.26 million.
The Force for Change campaign launched earlier this year, allowing fans to be entered into a drawing to win a visit to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens set (and a cameo in the movie itself) in exchange for a donation. (The winner of the drawing was D.C. Barns, it was revealed in August.)
The funds raised “means thousands of children all across the globe will benefit from UNICEF’s pioneering efforts to increase access to education, health resources and improved communication during emergencies for those who need it most,” Abrams explained in the video.