May with force be with you. On May 21 ABC News reported that there is a contest for fans of the "Star Wars" franchise to appear in "Star Wars: Episode VII" by donating to UNICEF. The news was revealed in a video from J.J. Abrams, who is directing the new film, and is currently on the set in Abu Dhabi. The nearly two minute video also features a special guest which many fans will recognize from the earlier films.
The video includes information about "Star Wars: Force for Change," which is the partnering of UNICEF and the new film to give two people the chance to appear in the film. All fans have to do is donate money and have their name entered to win a chance to fly to the set of the film in London and get a VIP tour. They will also be given hair and makeup for their role in the film, and hotel and airfare costs are included.
All of the money donated will go to UNICEF, and the packages range from ten dollars to thousands of dollars. Each package has it's own set of rewards, much like a Kickstarter project or any other crowd funded idea. The rewards range from a digital thank you note from the cast and crew to T-shirts and more. Giving five hundred dollars means receiving concept art from the film, and ten thousand gets a fan a signed copy of the script.
The biggest reward is for fifty thousand dollars, in which people can schedule their own advanced screenings of the film ahead of it's December 2015 release date. All rewards won't be given out until the film is released, with the exception of the largest reward. Donating the minimum of ten dollars earns anyone an automatic entry into the contest, which ends July 18. Sharing with friends and having them sign up through your link also increases your chances.
Entertainment Weekly also posted on May 21 that there is no guarantee that the scene filmed with a fan will make the final cut of the movie, but the producers will do everything to ensure the scene stays. The money raised with help UNICEF's Innovation Labs, which helps create technology fixes for remote areas of the world. Some of their work includes adding solar power kits to African nations and helping disaster victims get into with families with mobile phones.
The highly anticipated science fiction adventure was first announced last year when Disney bought Lucasfilm Ltd., the company that owned and created the "Star Wars" world. The film is scheduled for release on December 18, 2015. George Lucas will still be involved as an executive producer and Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the original film scripts, also wrote the new film.