A group of stormtroopers from the First Order opened the red carpet for the European premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens held at London’s Leicester Square.
Director JJ Abrams is attending the premiere along with a host of the film’s stars including Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson and Gwendoline Christie.
A line of Star Wars characters including Stormtroopers and Jedi Knights marched down the red carpet led by Darth Vader before the film’s stars arrived.
The first “stars” of the film to arrive were droids R2-D2 and C-3PO, who ambled down the red carpet taking in the scenery.
The newest droid in the Star Wars family, BB-8, got a cheer from fans as it rolled down the red carpet.
BB-8 is one of the highlights of the new movie and is sure to gain a legion of fans.
Actor Warwick Davis, who starred in a few of the earlier Star Wars films and the latest one, could not resist posing for a selfie with BB-8 on the red carpet.
Actor Peter Mayhew, who plays Han Solo’s sidekick, Chewbacca, said being at the premiere was “absolutely wonderful”, adding: “We’ve had a great weekend, we were in Los Angeles last night and we’re here in London tonight, what more could anybody ask for?”
Director JJ Abrams said it was an “enormous relief” that fans were finally going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Abrams, who directed, wrote and co-produced the film, was talking on the red carpet at the European premiere of the movie in London’s Leicester Square.
He told red carpet presenter Jim Chapman it was an “incredible honour to be here with this remarkable reception”.
Actor Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as intrepid traveller and smugger Han Solo, said “it feels good” to play the character again.
When asked if he had a message for fans, he said: “I hope they enjoy the movie. I think it’s a worthy effort. I’m very proud of it, thank you.”
Newcomer Daisy Ridley, who plays Ren, shouted out to her fans on the red carpet, saying: “May the force be with all of you.”
She said being at the premiere was “particularly special because I’m from London, it’s good to be home”.
American actress Carrie Fisher, who reprises her role as Princess Leia, brought along her French bulldog, Gary.
Asked how she felt about being at the premiere, she said: “I’ve never felt more relaxed in my life. I feel relaxed, as I said, and I come here to just be myself and feel real.”
Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, said he was overwhelmed. “It never gets old, it’s hard to believe the excitement after all of these years.”
He also said he had a “very special affinity” for London, revealing his son was born here while he filmed The Empire Strikes Back.
Critics have hailed the latest instalment in the series as a tour de force to rival the original trilogy.
The film – which is set for general release on Thursday – has already made UK box office history, selling more than half a million tickets for its opening week at one cinema chain alone.
Many fans at the event arrived in fancy dress, while dozens were carrying red and blue lightsabers which were handed to them as they arrived.
C-3P0 and R2-D2 and the latest robot to feature in the series BB-8 also appeared.
The seventh instalment in the Star Wars series comes 10 years after the last film and reunites the original trio who were absent from the prequels.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has already seen the movie and has reportedly given it his seal of approval.
The film’s Hollywood premiere earlier this week saw an army of Stormtroopers on the red carpet, while fans camped out ahead of the first public screening.
British fans with tickets for the first UK screenings will get a head start over devotees in the USA, where the movie is not released until Friday.
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