LOS ANGELES (AP) – Audiences rose to their feet giving the latest â€œStar Warsâ€ film a standing ovation after the credits rolled at the ending of the franchise’s third trilogy.
Cheers often erupted with enthusiasm throughout while viewing â€œThe Rise of Skywalkerâ€ on Monday night. After the screening, the film was met with a slew of positive reviews after director J.J. Abrams told the audience before the film played that he was â€œmostly terrifiedâ€ to show the movie, which ran for nearly 2 Â½ hours.
Seated in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood were Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, and director Steven Spielberg, who Abrams specifically thanked.
Comedian-actor Seth Green, who attended the world premiere with his wife, Clare Grant, said he enjoyed watching how the latest film closed the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.
â€œI loved it,â€ Green said. â€œIâ€™m going to be unpacking this for a while. Itâ€™s dense, itâ€™s deep, itâ€™s full of awesome stuff. To me, itâ€™s a satisfying finale of this saga.â€
Fans turned the premiere into a living tribute to various eras of the space epic franchise, with some dressing up like Hamillâ€™s Luke and Carrie Fisherâ€™s Princess Leia from the 1977 original film with others opting for the look of the charactersâ€™ mother, Queen Amidala, and many donning the armor of Stormtroopers, bounty hunters and Darth Vader.
â€œIt was everything Iâ€™d hope it would be and more,â€ said Dwayne Smith, who went to the premiere with his wife, Shannon, and son Kayden. Both father and son were wearing black First Order costumes.
â€œThe twists, turns and nostalgia. It was emotional,” Smith said during the premiere’s after party. “It had action. It had everything. If youâ€™re on the fence from the last film, youâ€™ll be happy that itâ€™s back on track.â€
Attendees were treated to a blue carpet spectacle that included appearances by the droids C-3PO and R2-D2, and Chewbacca stepping out of a black sport utility vehicle and posing for photographers with long arms stretched in the air.
Guests included Harrison Ford and actors made famous by the newest trilogy: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Kelly Marie Tran.
The premiere was the first time anyone outside a select group saw the ninth film in the core â€œStar Warsâ€ story. â€œRise of Skywalkerâ€ arrives in theaters Friday. Attendees had a chance to walk past an exhibit lined with numerous photos from previous films including a portrait with the late Fisher and her daughter Billie Lourd, another photo with Mark Hamill hugging Fisher and several Stormtrooper uniforms.
Few films have captured the popular imagination like 1977’s â€œStar Wars,â€ which has sparked three film trilogies, TV shows, toys and more. â€œThe Rise of Skywalker” is one of the year’s most-anticipated releases, in part because filmmakers have promised a conclusion to the story of the Skywalker clan that includes Luke, Leia and their father Anakin, who became Darth Vader.
Disney paid more than $4 billion to acquire the â€œStar Wars” franchise in 2012 and the recent trilogy started by Abrams in 2015 with â€œThe Force Awakens.â€ While it returned beloved characters from the original trilogy to the big screen for the first time since 1983, the story has focused on a new generation of characters played by Ridley, Adam Driver, Boyega and others.
Fans remain divided on 2017’s â€œThe Last Jedi,â€ which showed a late-in-life Skywalker as a bitter recluse who cut himself off from his friends and broader conflicts embroiling the fictional far, far away galaxy.
Disney has not yet announced film plans post-“Rise of Skywalker.” Work on a trilogy set outside the Skywalker story has been halted, and no new stand-alone films have been announced since the poor showing of 2018’s â€œSolo: A Star Wars Story.â€
Regardless of the reception to â€œRise of Skywalker,â€ Disney has already delivered Star Wars fans two wins in 2019. Its theme parks in Florida and California opened massive Star Wars-themed expansions this year where guests are essentially transported to a distant planet. The company’s new streaming service, Disney Plus, also debuted the first live-action â€œStar Warsâ€ television series in â€œThe Mandalorian,â€ which introduced a popular new character: Baby Yoda.