'Avengers' Assemble on Social Media to Support Marvel Fan

Stars of "Avengers" and "Agents of SHIELD" support campaign for private screening of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" for a dying fan.
Marvel Entertainment

The second movie in Marvel’s Avengers series may still be a year away, but the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes re-assembled for a mission more down to earth that fighting alien invasions or killer robots — standing in solidarity with one man’s desire to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier before he dies.

60-year-old Stratford Caldecott, a lifelong comic book fan — and Marvel fan in particular — has only 12 weeks left to live from advanced prostate cancer, an illness that left him too sick to see the last Captain America movie in its theater release. Last week, his family decided to try and help him see the movie nonetheless.

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“We’re going to try and get in touch with Marvel to ask if they can fulfil dad’s dying wish by sending us a copy of the film for him to watch at home,” Sophie, his daughter, blogged. “But I think we can go further than that. We’re also going to tweet the Avengers actors and see if they will take a picture of themselves holding a sign saying ‘Captain America/Thor/Iron Man [insert name of character here] for Strat!’ so that we can surprise him with their messages of support and encouragement.”

It worked. Thanks to the Twitter hashtag #CapForStrat, actors from both Avengers and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD posted images of themselves supporting the campaign, starting with Mark Ruffalo. Here are just a few:

Fans also joined in the campaign, sending images of themselves in costume. More importantly, Marvel got in touch to organize a screening for Stratford upon his release from hospital. “We’ve been truly bowled over by all the messages of support and the interest in what we’ve been doing here,” Sophie updated last Friday, adding “If we all take anything away from all of this, let it be that the world can be a good and gentle place, despite what we often hear to the contrary, and that the kindness of strangers is very real.”

It may not be fighting cyborg former comrades now controlled by forces that aren’t exactly on the side of good, but this was arguably a far, far more honorable thing to do, all told.