Just as thousands of others did at movie theaters across the country on Thursday, Brian Bennett and his daughter Brianna got in line early.
They were first in line at the Lory Theater in Highland awaiting the premiere of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which had been sold out for over a month.
They waited eagerly outside for about two hours before the first 7 p.m. showtime, decked out in “Star Wars” fan gear. Brian wore a Christmas sweater with Jedi battling on the front. Brianna, 16, was cozy inside a Chewbacca onesie.
Brian Bennett said his family, which plans to have a “Star Wars”-themed basement to go with their dogs named Solo and Leia, has loved the movies for a long time.
“When I was probably 4 or 5 years old I saw ‘Empire Strikes Back’ for the first time at a friend’s house, and ever since then, I have just been in love with it,” he said.
So far the Bennetts think the new trilogy has been interesting and were eager to see how the storyline would pan out as far as new character progression.
Lory Theater owner Justin McLaughlin said the new characters have many fans curious.
“We’re jazzed out of our minds. This one is going to be so huge, as far as excitement level of what is going to happen with these new characters,” McLaughlin said.
Last year, “Rogue One” was released, which was the prequel to the series as a whole.
In 2015, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out, introducing the trilogy along with new characters like Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren.
“The last time we saw these characters, Rey was standing on an island with Luke Skywalker,” McLaughlin said.
The Bennetts’ biggest question was what would happen with the iconic character Princess Leia/General Leia Organa, played by Carrie Fisher, who passed away in December 2016.
“They are setting themselves up for something big. If not, there are going to be a lot of disappointed fans,” Brianna Bennett said before entering the show.
The film has received good reviews from many critics. However, many die-hard “Stars Wars” fans walked away somewhat disappointed. Many who wrote reviews on Rotten Tomatoes complained about the movie’s long run time of 153 minutes, multiple plot lines, and lack resolution to all the teases from “The Force Awakens.”
As for Brian Bennett’s review: he said he was entertained.
“We can’t compare these new movies to those of the original trilogy. I believe they are almost their own story in themselves. It was very entertaining, with good humor and some awesome twists,” Bennett said.
Still, he thought it was missing something.
“The movie didn’t really answer any questions everyone is dying to know,” he said.
But just be sure he did not miss anything, he went to see the movie for a second time Dec. 17.
“After my second viewing of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ I must say, it is a great movie. There was a lot of shock and awe to get over the first time you see it. But the second time, I was able to concentrate on the rest of the movie,” he said.
It seems many others did the same thing. The film took in more than $220 million dollars in its opening weekend in North America.
As for Brianna, her dad said she liked the film.
“She’s in love with the little Porgs. As a new-aged ‘Star Wars’ fan, I think she really enjoyed it,” Brian Bennett said.
McLauhglin said that the Lory Theater will be showing “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” everyday until Jan. 10, and crowds are expected to continue in the coming weeks. He recommends arriving to each showing early. He said the theater should have seating available at least 30 minutes before every show, with or without online tickets. Patrons are welcome to wear costumes. However, the theater staff is asking customers not to wear masks or bring toy blasters.
“Lightsabers are welcome,” McLaughlin said.