A few hours ago, in a cinema not so far, far away - watching Star Wars The Last Jedi
- Credit: Archant
“That’s no moon”, my wife uttered. Considering the early hour we stumbled, bleary-eyed, to the car to see one of the first screenings of Star Wars The Last Jedi I think it was. By the time you probably read this, I’ll be tucked up in bed cuddling a plush porg.
We’d taken the day off work (sad, I know), just like we did for its prequel The Force Awakens two years ago. With temperatures across the county resembling those of Hoth I’d made sure to dig my Boba Fett woolly hat (even sadder) out the loft too.
Still, spare a thought for exhausted cinema staff, dressed as various characters from the franchise to entertain those of us who couldn’t wait until a more normal time to see the film.
Anticipation for The Last Jedi has been high. Trailers broke the internet and even the meaning of the title trended across Twitter, igniting arguments over whether Jedi was singular or plural. We Star Wars fans are a... passionate bunch. Although not as crazy as Trekkers.
Hundreds of UK cinemas opened late into the night as they welcomed fans to the first public screenings. In Suffolk and north Essex you could watch the midnight viewing at Cineworld in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Braintree, and Ipswich, Empire in Ipswich, Odeon in Colchester and Aldeburgh Cinema.
Many fans turned up early to watch The Force Awakens from 9pm first. My days of watching the entire trilogy back to back at the cinema are like Alderaan - long gone.
The Last Jedi is dominating screens across the region, in 2D, 3D, 4DX, D-Box, for the next few weeks... so you haven’t missed out by sleeping in. Unless having somebody dressed as a Jedi serving you Ben and Jerry’s is your thing.
It’s been a good year for Lucasfilm’s parent company Disney. Thor Ragnarok pushed the house of mouse past the $5billion mark at the 2017 worldwide box office for the third year in a row. That hot streak looks set to continue with The Last Jedi estimated to open as high as $440million globally.
Don’t worry, there isn’t any Death Star sized spoilers here like Holly Willoughby dropped on This Morning when interviewing one of its stars, John Boyega. If you want our thoughts, see today’s what’s on guide or my Twitter feed when I eventually wake up.
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Star Wars - I won’t call it A New Hope - was the first movie I saw so I’ve a soft spot for the franchise. Released on just 32 screens across America in 1977, George Lucas’ space opera - part fairy tale, part western, part 1930s serial, all groundbreaking special effects extravaganza - changed the face of cinema. It became an instant classic and the series continues to be an unparalleled box office success.
Sat waiting for that famous opening crawl this morning, the tension was palpable. It’s been a time of great turmoil in the Star Wars galaxy lately.
Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm “mutually chose to part ways” over the forthcoming Star Wars IX.
Many hoped The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson would finish what he started. Realistically, between polishing Last Jedi and prepping for the next installment it wasn’t practical; leaving him with no break between the two biggest movies of his career so far.
The Force Awakens’ JJ Abrams returned instead. Shame, I wasn’t blown away by the film; too many winks to the originals that clearly inspired him so. He made the same mistake with Star Trek Into Darkness. Don’t get me started on Lost. Then Apollo 13’s Ron Howard replaced The Lego Movie’s Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as director on the upcoming Han Solo spin-off, amid rumours of clashes with studio heads.
Johnson was a welcome addition to the series. The indie crowd love his previous films - Brick, The Brothers Bloom and, in my mind, the overrated Looper - and he’s directed some of the best Breaking Bad episodes including Ozymandias. Lucasfilm needs more left-field creators at the helm if it wants to avoid franchise fatigue.
Critics’ reactions to The Last Jedi have been mixed, describing it as bold and surprising to the longest and least essential chapter so far that will frustrate and confuse fans. Don’t they know only a Sith deals in absolutes?
• Tweet your thoughts and your screening photos to @WhatsonWayne