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8 Memorable Moments From the Honolulu Premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Spoiler-free first look at what to expect at crowded O‘ahu theaters.


Photos: Colin Cross 


After more than a decade since Revenge of the Sith hit theaters back in 2005, Star Wars made its return to Hawai‘i screens Thursday, Dec. 17, with The Force Awakens, the seventh installment of the legendary sci-fi space epic. Thousands gathered at theaters across Honolulu to be among the first in the world to see the highly anticipated film. Here’s a (spoiler-free) roundup of some memorable moments from the screening at the Regal Cinemas Dole Cannery 18.


8. The Uber Driver Who Had “Already Seen It” On The Internet

The Uber driver who took us to the theaters (to skip the parking) boasted he had seen the film on the Internet a few days prior and thought that the movie “was pretty good.”


SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Gifts for the Ultimate “Star Wars” Fan on Your Christmas List


7. People Watching Star Wars While Waiting To Watch Star Wars

There were no less than 40 lawn chairs popped open throughout the line of hundreds of people that snaked from the front doors of the theater to around the columns in the outside lobby area, then out and down the street. A handful of the moviegoers camped out with sodas, snacks and laptops open to watch a few (or all) of the previous Star Wars films.


Jason Ledd, Michael McGarey, Aaron Nadeau, Cathrine Nadeau and Malakai Nadeau.


6. Attack of the Clones

Although Regal Cinemas Dole, along with many other movie houses around the country, enforced a strict no-mask policy inside the theater for security, that didn’t stop fans from dressing up outside in a variety of costumes as their favorite heroes or villains. Our favorites included a woman wearing an R2D2 dress, hand-knit fuzzy Ewok ears and hoodies, a Regal employee dressed in brown wookie adult pajamas, and the youngsters dressed up like mini Stormtroopers. Others went subtle, with vintage and jokey Star Wars T-shirts. Our only auwē goes to the fella wearing the Chewbacca mask upside down. Otherwise, we applaud the spirit of these costumes paying homage to the fandom. After all, Jedi robes in this weather?


5. A Man Dressed Up Like Slave Leia

An iconic costume of choice for most comic conventions, there were nearly no Return of the Jedi Princess Leia gold bikini “slave” outfits, save for one confident man. Semi-shabby costume. Pretty defined abs.


Ryan Wayrman, Aaron Franco and Hosung Scherrerhorn.


4. Tools of the Trade

Props, such as fake blasters or the bright, iconic lightsabers, were banned from use inside the theaters just like the costumes, but outside, all bets were off. People posed for photos with action figures, plushies and lightsabers, either realistic or cutely made with duct-taped pool noodles. There was even someone in model Stormtrooper armor posing with a massive blaster rifle. However, one fan who arrived on the scene complete with replica-quality props from the films—including a life-size Han Solo frozen in carbonite—was ordered to pack up his equipment and roll it away. Oh well. At least the same thing happened in The Empire Strikes Back.


3. Two Minutes of Star Trek

One of the (many) previews before The Force Awakens is a short trailer for the upcoming Star Trek: Beyond. We were impressed with Paramount Studios’ courage to screen promos for a film series that’s arguably Star Wars’ greatest longtime rival in the “space opera” genre. We were equally impressed at this audience’s restraint to not shout a single boo or hiss at the screen.


2. Three Generations of Fans

Grandparents, parents and children were all able to see Star Wars in theaters for the first time together. The groups that turned out on Thursday were of all ages and from all walks of life. “I went with [Grandpa] to see the first ever Star Wars when it came out,” a mother in line told her son while they waited to get in. “Now it’s your turn.”


1. The film itself

The Force Awakens is easily the best episode of Star Wars in decades. This is what it feels like to be a kid at the movies again.


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