Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens London Premiere.
Thousands of fans descended onto Leicester Square to the booming sound of John William’s theme tune, to watch as the films old and new cast and crew walked the red carpet.
I’ve been a massive Star Wars fan since I can remember, I was confident that Jedi, the Force and Yoda existed for a significant part of my childhood and remember growing up expecting to have a mystic Jedi calling at some point. So being one of the lucky few who got a seat in the London premiere last night and, if that wasn’t enough, a ticket to the after party at the Tate Britain, was pretty overwhelming to say the least. I had what I suppose pre-wedding jitters must feel like throughout the whole of yesterday, which grew stronger as the moment approached.
My sister and I made our way to pick up our tickets at the Radisson on Leicester Square, and headed towards the Empire, where a giant Imax screen was waiting to take us to another galaxy. But to get there we had to walk the red carpet.
The spectacle was opened by a patrol of stormtroopers, led by Darth Vader, who marched down the red carpet, followed by a procession of characters, including droids R2-D2, C-3PO and BB-8, rebel pilots, Jedi knights and Chewbacca. Then came the full cast, who arrived in London from Los Angeles in an R2-D2 themed plane.
And then, it was our go. If someone had told 6-year-old me that one day I’d be standing (momentarily of course) next to Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher (and her adorable dog) or Harrison Ford, let alone my biggest hero, George Lucas, I would have died there and then, and I nearly did last night. I lost all of my much-trained composure, and the frenzied Star Wars fan in me took over soon enough, suddenly finding myself waving uncontrollably at George Lucas and Harrison Ford, who were about a foot away from me, signing autographs for the roaring crowd. Lucas was slightly startled and I received a full-blown laugh from producer Kathleen Kennedy who was walking beside him.
Embarrassment over, it was time for Episode VII. We were in front-row seats at the Imax, which can be pretty overwhelming, but actually meant we were completely enveloped by the Star Wars universe, excellent! Suddenly the Star Wars theme tune started bellowing from the speakers and the saga’s signature yellow text and starry background announced Episode VII had just begun. After ten really really long years without new Star Wars movies, and 32 years since the last time Leia, Luke and Han shared the big screen, I was moved by how the seventh instalment reunites the original trio who were absent from the prequels, and threads all of the six previous episodes together.
Although, in my opinion, the plot lacks some originality at times, I thought the film preserved the spirit of the original trilogy and its action-adventure fun, which ended with Return of the Jedi in 1983, and makes you forgive and forget the let-down of the prequel-trilogy that came 15 years later. I was facially and emotionally exhausted after 135 minutes of intense excitement, I practically suffered a heart attack when the Millennium Falcon appeared, and nearly burst into tears when Han Solo and my beloved Chewie came on.
Last night, Christmas came early for some of us more midichlorian-rich mortals, and it will certainly be a night I will always remember.