Riley Howell, the hero who charged a gunman after he entered a classroom at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on April 30, and opened fire, has been immortalized as a Jedi by Lucasfilm.
In a letter written to Howell’s family, Lucasfilm expressed their condolences for their loss, and revealed that they had plans to incorporate him in a future project.
“Riley's courage and selflessness brings out the Jedi in all of us," Lucasfilm fan relations team member Lucas Seastrom wrote. "We hope that you may rejoice in his memory, and we join you in honoring his life and example."
“As a small tribute, our Story Group has incorporated a reimagining of Riley's name as a character in the Star Wars galaxy," Seastrom continued. "We can't reveal the specific details at this time, but the character's name will appear in a forthcoming book publication later this year. The Force will be with Riley, and all of you, always..."
Lucasfilm was made aware of Howell’s fandom when a Florida man—finally some good comes out of that infamous term—reached out to the production company via email in early May to inform them of Riley’s love for Star Wars.
The message, written by James Wes Carrens, who has no connection to Howell, suggested that he should be “canonized somewhere in the Star Wars universe.”
“I cannot think of a person more deserving to be canonized somewhere in the Star Wars universe,” Carrens wrote. “I know that we can’t name a major character after him, but even a very minor character in a single comic book, animated episode, or other medium would be a fitting tribute.”
In the book Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - The Visual Dictionary, which was released on Friday, Howell is recognized as “Jedi Master and historian Ri-Lee Howell.”
i’m fucking sobbing okay pic.twitter.com/2PkWKLVdIi— thor’s eyepatch (@poesthor) December 23, 2019