Young Star Wars fans in need of an adventure are going to get it with help from a new program from a galaxy far, far away.
Starlight Virtual Reality, a new VR initiative launching later this year, will put 270 VR headsets into hospitals across the country, and will feature content from the Star Wars universe, as well as from Google Expeditions, Daydream, Google Earth VR and Tilt Brush.
Star Wars: Force for Change is the founding sponsor of the program, which is receiving additional funding from Niagara Cares and VR technology powered by Google.
“We’re excited to announce the launch of Starlight VR, which we believe will be a game changer in the pediatric health care space,” said Chris Helfrich, CEO of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “We’re excited to have Lucasfilm and Disney, Google and Niagara Cares alongside us as we harness the power of virtual reality to bring more smiles to hospitalized kids when and where they need it most.”
The program will also provide Starlight Brave Gowns (see below), high-quality (and certainly more fun) garments for the children to wear — and it will facilitate visits from celebrities.
“At Lucasfilm and ILMxLAB, we strive to make the impossible, possible and to deliver stories that inspire and entertain,” said Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in charge, ILMxLab. “We are honored to use our immersive storytelling to spark children’s imaginations during the hospital stay.”
The Meet BB-8 experience (image preview below) will be available at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Fla., this week and is one example of the program that will roll out.
“We’re thrilled to support this Starlight program and use our virtual reality technology for good in hospitals around the United States,” said Amit Singh, vp Virtual Reality at Google.
The new initiative comes as Star Wars stars Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley announced a new Force for Change fundraising campaign Tuesday that will see winners get a trip to the Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiere, an overnight visit to Skywalker Ranch, as well as a possible walk-on role in the young Han Solo movie.
The Starlight Virtual Reality collaboration launches Wednesday at Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando, ahead of Star Wars Celebration beginning Thursday in the city.