6:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
'Star Wars' Charity Campaign Offers 'Last Jedi' Premiere Trip and Han Solo Movie Role
After campaigns that allowed fans to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and attend the movie's premiere, online charity platform Omaze and Lucasfilm have teamed for the biggest Star Wars: Force for Change project yet: one that celebrates the past, present and future of the franchise with three separate prizes to delight fans.
The new campaign, which launches Tuesday, offers something for every generation of Star Wars fan: One winner and their guest will get to spend a night at Skywalker Ranch, all expenses paid, with a private screening of Star Wars: A New Hope and tour of the Star Wars archives thrown in for good measure; a second will get to attend the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with a guest, complete with red-carpet walk and access to the afterparty; a third will visit the set of the Han Solo movie, meet directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller and have the chance to appear in the finished movie. (Additionally, one winner will get to experience all three past, present and future experiences.)
Outside of the main sweepstake prizes, there are multiple rewards for different levels of donations, including exclusive Iron-On Patches or Postcard Sets at the $50 level, or a choice of four T-shirt designs at the $100 level.
The latest Force for Change campaign is the third collaboration between Lucasfilm, the Walt Disney Company and Omaze, and follows two campaigns linked to The Force Awakens in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The first collaboration alone raised a total of $4.26 million for UNICEF Innovation Labs, a figure that remains the high watermark for an Omaze campaign to date.
"Our goal at Omaze is that we believe that any audience has an opportunity to create impact," Omaze co-founder Ryan Cummins tells Heat Vision, "To be able to partner with a property like Star Wars, there's no bigger audience. To be able to launch these type of experiences, it definitely makes giving fun and easy."
The California-based company's relationship with Lucasfilm and Disney dates back to 2014, when The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath were in early discussions with the studios about the potential of Star Wars beyond movies. "While they were launching [The Force Awakens], they wanted to see whether they could do more than just launch the movie, but whether they could create something that could have a real impact," Cummins says.
He continues, "We were fortunate to be involved in those conversations early on, and it was really at the time that [Lucasfilm, Disney and Abrams' Bad Robot] were coming together. In some ways, Omaze was really fortunate to be sitting in the middle to offer them an opportunity to leverage that fan base toward good. We couldn't be more grateful that they were willing to take a chance on us, and we couldn't be happier with the result."
The result goes far beyond creating opportunities for fans to meet their idols or appear in their dream movies — and also beyond the funds raised for worthy organizations. (The latest Star Wars campaign will benefit UNICEF and Starlight Children's Foundation.) For Cummins and Omaze, the success of each campaign builds toward a much bigger ultimate goal.
"As big as this campaign is, I think we're only scratching the surface of what can be accomplished in the charity world," he says. "Individual giving, just here in the U.S., is a $330 billion market, and about 7 percent of that — just 7 percent — takes place online. Really, the whole philanthropic market is living in the past. We really see these types of campaigns as just the beginning for being able to run more and more and more of these, scaling up the number of campaigns and partnering with foundations so that they can amplify their influence, and then taking all this experience international. We really want to innovate philanthropic giving, and make it fun."
More information about the new Star Wars: Force for Change campaign can be found here.