'Star Wars' force finally awakens for fans around the world

Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:39pm EST
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PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - Donning Stormtrooper and Darth Vader masks, dressed in capes and holding lightsabers, fans young and old turned out for the first screenings in France, Germany, Australia and Britain of "The Force Awakens," some lining up for hours to watch the first "Star Wars" film in 10 years.

Parisian moviegoers got in line before sunrise and many came out of the movie ecstatic.

"As soon as we saw characters appear on screen from previous films, like R2-D2 or Han Solo, everyone started clapping and starting to scream. It was really a magical atmosphere, really exceptional. Especially for me because it is the first time I have seen a 'Star Wars' film in the cinema because I am too young to have seen the previous films," said young fan Adam Voutina, who was dressed as Princess Leia.

A group of American fans traveled specially to Paris to catch the movie a day ahead of its release in the United States on Thursday.

"There's a couple people that are envious, that we're able to see it, 'What? One day earlier than us?' I get some bragging rights," said George Rhoten, who is part of the South Bay Star Wars fan club in San Jose, California.

For Elliot Smith, who works for video game company Ubisoft in San Francisco, the movie was a chance to relive cherished memories.

"I wanted to be a Jedi growing up. I was like, 'Oh, man, if I practice really hard and train, maybe I can move things with my mind.' That sounds really nerdy, but that was probably my favorite memory," Smith said.

In Berlin, a seven-meter-high (30-foot-high) replica of an Imperial TIE fighter was placed outside the Zoo Palast movie theater.

"It is really special, to finally have a 'Star Wars' premiere again, and I had to be here as a fan," said Berlin fan Felix, who was dressed as a Stormtrooper.   Continued...

People dressed in costumes worn by Star Wars characters pose in front of the Grand Rex cinema after viewing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Paris, France, December 16, 2015.   REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen