Star Wars: A name synonymous with “nerd heaven” for the past forty years. With each passing film, TV show, and novel, the franchise’s prestige and fan base only seem to rise. Featuring eight movies (soon to be nine), three major TV shows, and hundreds of comics, stories, and novels–Star Wars boasts one of the largest and most enthusiastic fan base of all time.
With such a colossal following, the Earth tends to stop turning when new content is announced. This is especially so regarding films. When Lucasfilm announced the franchises newest film installment earlier this year, it nearly broke the media. News stations, social media, and everything in between consisted of only three words: “The Last Jedi.” Speculation exploded for months as new information was leaked throughout the year, all leading up to the films release on December 14.
“I swear there was probably a new video about what was gonna happen in that movie everyday. It was everywhere, even when you thought it was gone, any little reveal could just bring the hype back,” said Daniel Mosakewicz, a senior at Leesville Road High.
Every detail, every little snippet that Lucasfilm chose to leak–it simply sent the fans into a craze. Each new leak yielded copious media review, deep speculation within the community, and countless YouTube videos trying to decipher said leaks.
All of that build-up led up to a climactic fan turnout on the night The Last Jedi premiered. On that December 14 premiere, every theatre was packed full of bustling fans. From lightsaber duels, to flowing robes, to literal mobs, Star Wars fans spared no expense in welcoming the newest member to their favorite cinematic universe–which is made especially clear by the $220 million opening weekend, one of the highest grossing opening weekends in history, second only to the previous installment: The Force Awakens.
“On opening night, a lot of us had props. I tried to duel a couple of kids, but the theatre manager got mad,” said Mosakewicz. “There was a lot of buildup, a lot of hype, and there was an opening night crowd–and those are always the best.”
For some, this was like a holiday–or some sort of perfect storm. While most fans had waited roughly two years to see the return of their new heros to the big screen, original fans had waited so much longer. For fans who have seen the original Star Wars trilogy in theaters, it had been a blessing to see their favorite characters back on the big screen when The Force Awakens premiered in 2015–and it had been a tease to see their hero, Luke Skywalker, not speak so much as a single line. The original fans had waited 34 years to see Mark Hamill reprise his role, and their time had come.
The hype leading up to The Last Jedi premiere was unbelievable to say the least. With a loyal and obsessed fan base, the yearlong buildup of true fan support was a thing of legends. Outstanding fan support for Star Wars will forever cement films such as The Last Jedi as one of the most highly anticipated movies ever made.