Star Wars: The Force Awakens” continues to break box office records over the festive period but the mega franchise’s global reach extends far beyond the images we see on the silver screen. Let’s take a look at some of the heartwarming stories that have recently made the news around the world.

Mark Hamill backs GOSH appeal

Hollywood star Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker in the original Film) ‘used the force’ to put a smile on sick Children’s faces during his time in the UK to help promote the latest film. A visit to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London allowed the 64-year-old to meet some young sci-fi fans, including four-year-old Jake Morgan who has been recovering from a kidney transplant.

Rather than appearing on “The Great Norton Show” in the company of other members of the Star Wars cast, Hamill opted to visit GOSH and was clearly affected at the sight of the poorly kids he saw. As he attempted to spread some seasonal cheer, Hamill urged the readers of the newspaper “i” to get behind their “Give to GOSH” campaign.

Recognising that the Star Wars films are meant to be “optimistic and hopeful stories”(which people ‘need’ in their lives), Hamill also acknowledged that by comparison to what can be achieved through such visits they are “very trivial.”

Fan raising funds online

A 43-year-old New York fan who changed his name to “Darth Vader” last year has become a fund raiser. Originally named Eric Welch, the former marine from New York was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2002 and is now attempting to raise funds online for a bone marrow transplant.

Star Wars themed service

For their pre-Christmas church service, the Zion Church in Berlin, Germany decided to adopt a slightly unusual format to spice up the festivities. Their Sunday morning service paid homage to Star Wars from yesteryear, including treating attendees to scenes from the 1983 film “Return of the Jedi”.

The ‘Dark Side’ persists

As if to prove that the ‘Dark Side’ has not been extinguished completely though, Star Wars mania has caused some devoted fans to react in a far from amicable manner.

One 18-year-old from Montana threatened to shoot another boy, after news concerning part of the plot from the new movie The Force Awakenswas divulged in an online chat. The suspect appeared at Lewis and Clark County Court, charged with felony assault.