Star Wars: The Fandom Awakens
Remember, folks, after you see it - no spoilers!
KINGMAN - "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is finally here, and people around the country were camping out for the new film. Moviegoers in Kingman - fortunately - didn't have to brave the cold nights to get that perfect seat.
Brenden Theatres in Kingman didn't allow moviegoers to wait in line until 6 a.m. Thursday morning, with the first showing starting at 7 p.m. The theater even opened a second auditorium, and tickets were still on sale and available as of Thursday afternoon.
Linda Ray was the first one in line, arriving at 9 a.m. with her R2-D2 Christmas decoration and Star Wars books in hand. Ray saw the first "Star Wars" in 1977 when she was graduating high school and has been a fan since then.
Ray enjoys collecting the books and delving into the Star Wars extended universe, reading up on characters from the original films and what they did after "Return of the Jedi." The canon of Star Wars has changed with this new film, but Ray is still embracing it with open arms.
"I saw the trailer at the convention in Los Angeles with thousands of fans," said Ray. "They would hold their breath, then scream and cheer, then hold their breath again. You get pumped.
"It's going to be interesting."
Ray was joined by James Meyering and Amy Karas at around 11 a.m. The brother and sister grew up watching Star Wars on VHS, but were hooked when they saw the re-release of "A New Hope" in 1997.
"It hooked me right then," said Meyering. "The world. The mystery and adventure. And then prequels came out and destroyed all hope for Star Wars fans."
"When I saw the trailer, with the Millennium Falcon flying in, your heart wanted to seize up. You wanted to cry. Now it felt like a 'Star Wars' movie again. It makes you feel like a kid again."
His sister liked the movies, but was really a "Star Trek" fan. But like her brother, that trailer hooked her immediately and didn't let go.
"I was really, really excited," said Karas. "I just couldn't believe it. When I saw the trailer, it made me want to watch it all."
Even the supervisor at Brenden Theatres, Jacob Niemi, couldn't contain his excitement.
Niemi had tickets to see the new film in IMAX in Las Vegas on Thursday evening, and was leaving straight from work to catch the opening in time.
"I've been waiting all year. I can't believe it's today," said Niemi.
The movie has been under embargo by Disney to help thwart any spoilers, and so many of the employees at movie theaters who traditionally see films prior to their release will have to survive the weekend before seeing "Star Wars" for themselves.
Niemi stressed that, and hopes that moviegoers going to the film this weekend will remain tight-lipped as they leave the theater so they don't reveal any major plot points.