Entertainment & Arts

Star Wars: Force Awakens gets world premiere

Media captionLizo Mzimba reports from the red carpet as Star Wars: The Force Awakens is released.

The hotly anticipated latest addition in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, has had its world premiere in Los Angeles.

Stars from the original series including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher joined newcomers including John Boyega and Daisy Ridley.

The plot of the film remains a closely-guarded secret and a media embargo on reviews is in place until Wednesday.

But some reviewers did post positive, if brief, comments on Twitter.

Media captionStar Wars fans react to new film: "Met all my expectations"

Adam B Vary, senior film reporter for Buzzfeed, tweeted: "Rest easy: TheForceAwakens is 100% StarWars", while LA Times film writer, Rebecca Keegan, wrote: "Story, characters, design, humour - StarWars fans, this is the movie you're looking for."

Her colleague Steve Zeitchik tweeted: "From comedy to costumes, fights to fx to overall feel, JJ Abrams has created a thoroughly old-fashioned movie." And actor Rob Lowe was also enthusiastic, tweeting: "There's a new hero in town, in a movie that DELIVERS. Cried like a baby, whooped like a teen!"

Actress Elizabeth Banks, who attended the premiere, was also impressed. She tweeted: "StarWarsForceAwakens totally delivers no spoilers I repeat no spoilers again no spoilers just wow."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stormtroopers marched up the red carpet in Los Angeles

According to Matthew Belloni, executive editor at Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, one man was forcibly removed from the premiere.

Fans had been camping out for days outside the TCL Chinese Theatre, which along with other LA venues screened the seventh Star Wars instalment. Security was tight, with a giant tent shrouding the red carpet.

The TCL Chinese Theatre - formerly known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre - showed the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

Media captionStars of The Force Awakens reveal their excitement at its release

More than 150 fans lined up to buy tickets for the first public screenings of Episode VII on Thursday but they got a surprise when they were all invited into one of the three cinemas showing the premiere.

But two fans, Australians Caroline Ritter and Andrew Porters, turned down the offer because they are getting married on the forecourt of Hollywood Boulevard on Thursday and will be watching the film with their friends and family afterwards.

Mr Porters said: "They invited us in. We declined. It's part of our wedding reception with friends so we passed to see it on Thursday. It was hard but it is the right decision."

Ms Ritter will walk down the makeshift aisle in a white dress accompanied by Darth Vader, while Mr Porters will wear a traditional suit but with a Stormtrooper bow tie and braces.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Newcomer Daisy Ridley plays Rey in the film

On the red carpet: BBC News entertainment correspondent Lizo Mzimba

Fans, many in costume, camped out for days for the chance to see the stars on the red carpet for what is probably the most eagerly awaited film of the decade.

The size and scale are a reflection of the enduring popularity of this sci-fi saga, and of the anticipation surrounding this latest instalment.

The red carpet here is around half a mile long, under a huge marquee which stretches the length of four blocks of Hollywood Boulevard.

The world premiere itself has taken over three different cinemas, and 4,000 guests are expected. Security has been tight with everyone entering the area around the event subject to bag searches and metal detectors.

There is a huge degree of excitement surrounding what is rivalling the Oscars as the film event of the year.

Disney, the studio behind the film, is hoping this will all give this new Star Wars movie a stellar launch. They paid more than $4bn (£2.6bn) for the rights to the franchise. Anticipation for the film has been huge, and in October some cinema websites collapsed under the weight of demand for tickets.


Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Harrison Ford was happy to pose with fans who had camped out for days hoping for a glimpse of some of the film's stars

Stormtroopers joined robots C-3PO and R2-D2 on the red carpet as the human stars arrived at Tuesday's world premiere.

"Now we have to live up to what the first films delivered,'' said Ford, who has returned to his role as Han Solo.

Star Wars creator George Lucas was spotted laughing and chatting with The Force Awakens director and co-writer JJ Abrams on the red carpet.

Lucas said the latest movie is "a film about families and what one generation leaves behind another generation has to deal with".

Abrams, who has also directed two Star Trek films, said he was not trying to put his own mark on the franchise.

"I don't look at the things I do from a vantage point of putting a stamp on it, I'm trying to service the master of the stories and the characters," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Fans have been extremely excited about the long-awaited arrival of this film

Ford said he was not feeling the pressure after so much anticipation. "It's not my fault, we can blame it on JJ. I just work here," he joked.

The Force Awakens will have its UK premiere in London on Wednesday.

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