‘Star Wars’ fever has swept the nation ever since the release of ‘The Force Awakens’ earlier this month, but one fan in America has truly taken things to the next level.
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Jim Braden, a content strategist at Dell in Austin, Texas, was one of seven cinemagoers to take part in a contest to be named the ultimate ‘Star Wars’ champion, during a marathon screening of all seven films in the franchise.
He was eventually named champion after managing to sit through each instalment, including the newly-released ‘The Force Awakens’, on a constant loop, for a whopping 46 hours.
Speaking to Variety, Jim said: “I grew up with 'Star Wars'. As a kid, the simple morality just appealed to me. Everybody likes a white-hat hero they can get behind… I came out of it saying that I still enjoyed the movie. That’s how you know it’s good.”
During the contest, participants were allowed access to food, drinks and the toilet facilities, but sleeping, talking and texting were all forbidden, as was the use of illegal drugs to keep them awake.
Jim says he triumphed by studying breathing techniques used by US Navy Seals, and eating only fruit and nuts so that he could remain hungry.
In addition to the title of ‘Star Wars’ champion, Jim’s prize for winning the competition includes ‘Star Wars’ merchandise, and a seven-year pass for the Alamo Drafthouse cinema, where he’ll also have a seat named in his honour.
While most people aren’t prepared to watch it for days at a time, the new chapter in the ‘Star Wars’ saga has still been a hit with critics and sci-fi fans alike, and scored the highest-ever global opening weekend upon its release.
‘The Force Awakens’ also sees the exciting return of the original trilogy’s stars, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, more than 30 years after they last appeared in their iconic roles, in ‘Return Of The Jedi’.