LOS ANGELES－There were cheers, gasps, droid photo opportunities, casino games and more than a few standing ovations at the jam-packed world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Dec 9 in Los Angeles, which many are already praising online.
Rian Johnson, the writer and director of the eighth installment of the franchise, dedicated the night to the late Carrie Fisher, who died after filming had completed.
"She's up there flipping the bird and saying, 'Don't bring this night down with solemn tributes,'" Johnson said on stage at the Shrine Auditorium.
It was in that spirit that Johnson excitedly introduced his cast, including Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley and Laura Dern. Hamill and composer John Williams, who Johnson called one of the "greatest living film composers" were among the few who got standing ovations.
"Let's watch a Star Wars movie!" Johnson exclaimed as the cast took their seats, the lights dimmed and the yellow Star Wars logo and iconic scrawl appeared on screen to signal the start of the film.
The enthusiastic audience laughed and cheered throughout much of the two-and-a-half-hour film.
The elaborate premiere featured a massive assault vehicle and a procession of Stormtroopers and droids that preceded the first showing of the film in advance of its Dec 15 release in the United States. The mood was joyous and pregnant with anticipation for the highly anticipated and guarded film, which sees the return of Hamill's Luke Sky-walker as well as Fisher's final performance.