The force will be with D.C. Barns, a lifelong Star Wars fan who won a walk-on role in Episode VII in the franchise’s Force for Change charity contest. Barns was surprised with the news while recording a donor video for Omaze — the fundraising platform that helped run the contest — in which he talked about seeing the first Star Wars when he was just five: “It really split my head open,” he recalled. “There’s movies that I love, and then there’s Star Wars.”
While trying to remember his favorite Star Wars moment, a film crew busted in and delivered Barns the good news. After gathering himself, he proclaimed: “This is probably my favorite Star Wars moment.”
Barns won the grand prize after donating $10 to the Star Wars: Force for Change contest, which ultimately raised $4,261,410 for UNICEF (enough to fund multiple new UNICEF Innovation Labs). Disney — which bought the rights to the franchise last year and planned the reboot — also donated $1 million.
Along with the cameo, Barns and a guest will get a behind-the-scenes look at the secretive Episode VII shoot in London, and a chance to meet the cast, including the stars of the original trilogy Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Our condolences go out to all who won’t get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — especially this kid.
While director J.J. Abrams is keeping the big secrets of Episode VII close to home, he tweeted a new snippet of what the movie has in store: A possible droid’s hand — or maybe even the robotic limb of a certain Skywalker — holding a place card congratulating Barns on his win and fans for raising so much money. It’s not as ridiculous as the updated X-Wing, but no one’s complaining.
Though Star Wars: Episode VII will be the de facto litmus test for the franchise’s reboot (it hits theaters December 18th, 2015), Disney is already planning for the future: Looper director Rian Johnson was tapped to helm Episode VIII, while Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Josh Trank (Chronicle will each handle a stand-alone spinoff film.