The movie may only be two hours and 16 minutes, but the hype and events surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens could possibly last all day in Regina.
The Saskatchewan Science Centre Kramer IMAX Theatre has its first showing of the new Star Wars at 7 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. But it’s expected that fans hungry to see the first movie in the franchise since 2005 will be out long before that.
“We do also expect people are going to be wanting to be line ahead of time and so we’re actually prepared right now for them to come. If they want to camp out and put up their tent, we’re ready for them to come,” said Ryan Holota, director of visitor services at the science centre.
Holota guessed that people may start arriving by mid-morning.
“I do know that there are a number of people that have tickets for the 7 p.m. show that have said they were taking the day off work to come line up.”
Lucky for them a number of pre-movie events will happen beginning at 4 p.m. Members of the Regina Costume League will be out entertaining and the Crave Food Truck will be feeding fans. Holota encourages people to dress up in whatever they’d like, complete with face paint, masks and accessories. He just asks you don’t bring laser guns.
Besides embracing their passion with other Star Wars fans, people are likely to line up so they can get that perfect seat inside the theatre. Holota insists that if you aren’t first in line there shouldn’t be any cause for concern.
“There really are no bad seats in our theatre … and honestly, for any seat, no matter where you’re sitting in the theatre, you’re going to get a fantastic view of the screen.”
A fandom close to home
Many fans are sure to be dressed up as they check out Episode VII. For Regina’s Francois Deslauriers and his wife Lisa Watson, the passion for Star Wars movies peeks out from every corner of their home.
Deslauriers’ wedding present was a commissioned painting of a Lego-style Luke Skywalker. A Darth Vader Christmas stocking hangs beside the tree upstairs, but downstairs they really let their ‘geeky’ side out with a custom glass display case full of Star Wars Lego including a classic Millennium Falcon model.
Watson says their collection is a bit quirkier than some because it’s more about having fun. For her, the love of Star Wars is about nostalgia.
“I remember going to see Star Wars in the theatre, the first movie when I was about seven, it was very exciting,” she said.
Watson remembers being bribed with a Hans Solo action figure when she had to get a filing at the dentist.
“As soon as I hear that Star Wars theme, right, you just picture the screen going backwards with the wording and you just get that rush.”
Deslauriers has always loved science fiction in general, but Star Wars is his favourite.
“It’s the story of good versus evil and there’s a lot of mythology with the Jedi knights and the Sith,” he explained. “I think it brings me back to my childhood. It’s just something that’s stuck with me and every time I see it I get a bit of a smile and when I hear about a movie coming out or changes I just get very giddy like.”
Deslauriers also goes by another name, TK13429. He recently acquired a complete replica set of Storm Trooper armour.
“As a kid I always dreamed about it, it would be cool to be a Storm Trooper. It’s an iconic character from an iconic movie,” he said.
He also joined an international cosplay group called the 501st Legion. The mission of this group of people is to promote an interest in Star Wars and contribute to the community with various charity and fundraising efforts.
When you see Storm Troopers in costume at just about any major Star Wars event, they are likely from the 501st.
“I feel awesome, it’s like a kid at Christmas, it’s been my dream to have one,” Deslauriers explained. “It’s on a mannequin right now and every now and then I just catch myself staring at it and thinking maybe I should put it on, but I don’t exactly have an excuse.”
He will have a great excuse to become a Storm Trooper this weekend when he goes to see the new movie at Regina’s Imax.
“I’m just hoping that it captures the spirit of the first three,” he said. “The prequels were a little different. Some people were disappointed. I enjoyed them and they’re different in their own right. But if this goes more along the same sort of spirit as the first three I think it’s going to be wonderful.”
The only one in the family who won’t get to see the new Star Wars movie in theatres is the dog – Chewie, named after Chewbacca of course.