‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ premiere looks backward with nostalgia — and forward with a new hope

| December 16, 2015

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Josh Rottenberg, Los Angeles Times

After many months of buildup and endless amounts of media coverage featuring countless “Star Wars” references, the long-awaited premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was held Monday night — and Hollywood showed up in force (sorry, you knew it was coming).

On-screen and off, it was a night of nostalgia, looking back with reverence to the much-loved original “Star Wars” trilogy, and of looking forward, as the franchise shifts to a new generation. Despite tight security, a few long lines and cold, blustery weather, the mood was as festive as you’d expect for the first “Star Wars” movie to hit theaters in 10 years.

The audience broke into applause at the opening blast of John Williams’ theme music and at each successive appearance of a classic “Star Wars” character, including Han Solo, Princess (now General) Leia, Chewbacca and R2-D2. But by the end of the night, as overwhelmingly positive reactions began spreading on social media, many were talking of the strength of the younger cast members, led by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, who will carry the series into the future.

The Walt Disney Co. pulled out all the stops for the event, closing down four blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and screening the movie in not one but three theaters: the El Capitan, the Dolby Theatre and the TCL Chinese Theatre. As befitting arguably the biggest franchise in film history, this was a premiere on steroids.

Fans turned out in droves to catch a glimpse of boldface names from the film and television industries and beyond, including Pixar chief John Lasseter, music producer Quincy Jones, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and director Ava DuVernay. A few showed their love for “Star Wars” by coming in costume: Joseph Gordon-Levitt dressed as Yoda, complete with a painted green face, and Rainn Wilson wore Jedi robes. As a goodwill gesture, a number of fans who have already spent days waiting in line in front of the Chinese Theatre to see the film when it opens were also invited into the premiere.

See full coverage from the Los Angeles Times

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