This new initiative is called Star Wars: Force For Change, and sees Disney pledge $1m to get things rolling. Fans are now invited to pledge as well, and each $10 (about £6) will net you an entry in the draw for a visit to the set and a role in the film.
"The Star Wars fans are some of the most passionate and committed folks around the globe," says director J.J. Abrams. "We're thrilled to offer a chance to come behind the scenes as our VIP guests and be in Star Wars: Episode VII. We're even more excited that by participating in this campaign, Star Wars fans will be helping children around the world through our collaboration with UNICEF Innovation Labs and projects."
"The Star Wars films were made through George Lucas' adventurous combination of technology and creativity," says Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. "We wanted to honor and carry on that positive spirit as we start production on Episode VII and use Star Wars to make a difference in the world. Star Wars: Force for Change will help us do that, letting us give back to the fans who keep Star Wars alive, and raising much-needed funds for programs like UNICEF's Innovation Labs."
We are promised that the Star Wars: Force for Change campaign will help fund innovative, life-changing projects in communities around the globe – which can only be a great and a noble goal.
The real question posed by the whole thing is, who's the camel peddler guy or girl? Will he or she appear in the film? Also, it looks very much like the story heads back to Tatooine once again, which is practically a tradition, we suppose – only Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) failed to visit the desert planet.
The film of course stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Max von Sydow and Andy Serkis.
Star Wars: Episode VII is set to arrive in cinemas on 18 December 2015. Now, if you will excuse us, we have a few donations to make.