All right – you might not live deep enough in a galaxy far, far away to remember this character from The Empire Strikes Back. He didn’t get much screen time, and had just a few lines.
Dak – played by actor John Morton – sat in the back of Luke Skywalker’s snowspeeder when the Empire attacked the Rebel base on the great-for-cross-country-skiing planet Hoth. And that’s about it, though I learned John also got to stand in for Jeremy Bulloch (aka Boba Fett) and fired a terse line at Darth Vader.
Those fleeting onscreen moments with Mark Hamill changed John’s life, though. He’ll forever be a Rebel who fought side-by-side (or, more accurately, back-to-back) with Luke Skywalker. It makes him a fixture at sci-fi conventions, where people will always remember Dak.
And the Dak character brought John and wish kid Ben together back in 1997. John was attending his first Star Wars convention. It was his first encounter with fellow cast members in 18 years. At the time, John donated to Make-A-Wish. He wound up seated at a table with Ben.
Ben – who had a dog named Princess Leia – was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Our records don’t go back far enough to tell us Ben’s exact wishes. But what’s important is his chance meeting with John. They ignited a friendship that John recalls in the Star Wars blog. He gives readers a glimpse into how Ben lived with Duchenne muscular dystrophy – and how his Make-A-Wish experience was a source of optimism and happiness through the remaining years of his life.
John’s very genuine words will also make me smile every time I watch Dak tell Luke Skywalker he feels like he could take on the Empire by himself, or hear Boba Fett growl “He’s no good to me dead.”
Love this Make-A-Wish encounter with the Star Wars universe? Then be sure to read this great blog post about Albin Johnson and his daughter, Katie, who was a Make-A-Wish kid. Albin is founder of the 501st Legion, an international fan costuming organization. Members often raise funds for Make-A-Wish and participate in its events.
Photo Credit: Wookiepedia