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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May 2005, 22:10 GMT 23:10 UK
UK fans cheer Star Wars premiere
Star Wars creator George Lucas with a Stormtrooper
Star Wars creator George Lucas said it was the "end of an era"
The final Star Wars film has had its UK premiere with thousands of fans lining the red carpet at the end of a "Star Wars day" in London's Leicester Square.

About 5,000 people braved the rain to cheer their heroes, with some having waited more than 24 hours.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith completes the six-film series director George Lucas began in 1977.

Other events included a marathon of all six movies and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing the score on stage.

"It's the end of an era - 30 years I've been doing this," Mr Lucas said.

Star Wars fan dressed as Chewbacca
Fans, some dressed as Star Wars characters, braved the rain
He praised the London fans for being "much louder" than those at its Cannes Film Festival premiere on Sunday.

"[In Cannes] they were standing in the sun when it was really beautiful and these guys are standing out there in the rain so I give them more credit," he said.

"I'm very relieved that the film is finished and it's one film now instead of six.

"This is the first place where it's all shown as one film - I don't recommend doing it in one day though. Maybe spread it over six weeks."

But 1,300 dedicated fans did sit through all six films back-to-back in the movie marathon on Monday.

Those fans missed the action on the red carpet - but Mr Lucas gave them a surprise appearance near the end of the marathon to chants of "three more films".

Other cinemas in Leicester Square showed individual films from the Star Wars saga.

Darth Vader leading Stormtroopers down the red carpet
Darth Vader led a parade of Stormtroopers down the red carpet
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed the iconic soundtrack on a specially-constructed stage while children had their faces painted as Star Wars characters.

Fans also posed for photographs with Stormtroopers and a full-sized X-Wing fighter in the square.

The most fervent followers set up camp on Sunday afternoon to ensure they had the best spots on the red carpet.

Actor Hayden Christensen, whose character Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader in the final film, described their support as "dedication at its finest".

And Christopher Lee, who plays Count Dooku, said: "They're very dedicated people and I'm sure this film will be everything they expect it to be.

"I'm looking forward to seeing it too, I haven't seen it."

I like the films but it just seems like they've forgotten about the fans
Phil Bolger, 25, from Luton
Fan
Other big names at the premiere included Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi-Wan Kenobi, veteran British star Cliff Richard and singing siblings Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield.

But some cast members who were in Cannes, including Natalie Portman and Samuel L Jackson, did not travel to London.

And some fans complained that the actors in London did not spend enough time signing autographs and talking to supporters.

"I like the films but it just seems like they've forgotten about the fans," said Phil Bolger, 25, from Luton, Bedfordshire, who had been queuing since 0700.

"At the end of the day, we're the reason they can make the films in the first place. The ones we were waiting for didn't sign anything."

'Disgust'

Sarah Elliott, 18, from Guildford, Surrey, added: "A lot of people have gone off in disgust. It's not exactly the best publicity you could get."

Mr Lucas spent the most time greeting the crowd, fans said.

"George Lucas was a legend because he came up and down three times," according to Alan Mandell from Reading, Berkshire.

The film is released around the world on Thursday.


Have you seen Revenge of the Sith yet? Did you go to a special screening? What did you think of the film - did it live up to the hype and expectations?

Your comments:

I grew up with Star Wars and remember having intense debates with my friends about whether Darth Vader truly was Luke's dad, after seeing Empire Strikes Back. Episodes I and II lacked heart and I expect Episode III to be no different. I'll still see it. All is not lost to me though. I've begun introducing our 6 year old boys to the originals on dvd. They won't be seeing Revenge of the Sith yet. Now I get to relive the wonder of a long time ago in a galaxy far far away through their eyes.
Matthew Spizuco, Mt. Laurel, USA

I'm really quite fed up of reading people's slating comments about the new Star Wars trilogy. As with anything which becomes a cult, the "fans" who "remember seeing it as a child" with their Dad "on the day it was released" hate the fact that the new films aren't identical to the old ones. I honestly think that the only way to please the hardcore, stormtrooper-outfit-wearing following that so loves the original is to re-release the original in the exact state they were released back in the 70s and 80s. There is very little wrong with the new films; the acting is less believable because you are now nearly 30 years older and the idea of Jedi Order valiantly protecting the galaxy is somewhat less believable now you're looking more and more like the Emperor each day. As a 19 year old I think they're all great films which essentially a bit of fun.
Dan Booth, Canterbury, UK

An overblown end to an overblown franchise. The CGI effects do little to cover up the 'make it up as you go along' story line. But then the public likes effects over a good story so the adults will loathe it but the kids will love it. The only winner here is the bank of Lucas.
Matthew, Stratford, London

The movie was brilliant. I saw it last week and thought that it was one of the best since The Empire Strikes Back. The end is one worthy of the Star Wars titles.
Alan Aitkenhead, Falkirk

I was lucky enough to see a preview of Return of the Jedi when it was released in the early 80s. That too was shown with the first two movies back-to-back, it started at 7am and finished around 2pm. That was enough for me. My advice to anyone watching the six film marathon is drink strong coffee and inject your bum with a local aesthetic.
,

I am disappointed. I think the film is let down by the appalling script. The question is why? From the last two which had to be some of the worst films ever made I was expecting great things! Don't get me wrong, it is a good film, but I would have thought the scriptwriters would have learnt by now how to write lines that weren't so incredibly cheesy and just bad down awful! Well I'm sure it wont stop anyone seeing it and making Lucas even more rich as he produced it with his own cash and has all the rights! Nice!
Chris Jones, London

How can so much money, technology and time have been so poorly spent. Surely these famous actors, rich as they are, should be ashamed at their wooden, mono-dimensional offerings. And Lucas at his fundamentally inept attempts to direct anything with a pulse. The originals are light-years more accomplished than the dross he's now churning out- I feel sorry for the younger audiences who are now being conditioned to mediocrity. GL stop before you really embarrass yourself. (a don't waste so much money on inferior output...)
Jason, Munich

I tend to find that the prequels have a 'love to hate' stigma attached to them which is fuelled partially by the media. My personal feelings are both Episode's I & II are great pieces of work, and crucial in telling the story which culminates in this definitive episode Revenge of the Sith. I really think a lot of people may understand them better after watching the final prequel.
Anthony Boffey, Wolverhampton

I'm a bit down on my luck at the moment and have few reasons to even bother getting out of bed in the mornings. However, when I read about a 'parade by the 501st UK garrison of Stormtroopers' it gives me a welcome lift and puts my own sad life into its proper perspective.
Simon Siebert, Sydney, Australia.

As a person who likes Star Wars I feel bullied by the media which makes me not want to go and watch the film at all. Star wars fever is taking over and in a few days we will turn into R2D2,C3PO and other memorable characters. So call me crazy but I don't believe the hype.
Superhik, London,UK

I saw the film last weekend and thought it was amazing. It's great watching the storyline unfold. I'm looking forward to a 6 film DVD box set!
Robert Hart, Warfield, Berks

My immense enjoyment of the 'original' trilogy has been destroyed by the new episodes I & II, I may go and watch the final instalment the next time it's raining and I've got nothing better to do. The force has long since departed.
Ian Gibbons, London, England

The previous comments sum this up pretty well... I saw a preview screening earlier last week, and got what I expected - beautiful visuals, almost entirely trash scripting, and a few vaguely surprising moments. All plays out in the usual cliched way we've come to expect. The hardcore fans will not be able to fault it, but any 'serious' cinemagoer, or anyone with a modicum of taste who isn't a fanatic, will just find a pretty but vacant final chapter in a series I am glad to see the end of. You'll never recreate the effect of seeing the first film, but thankfully this doesn't entirely follow the downward spiral since Episode 4. A good film, but not a great one - maybe the TV series will be good too...
Jim, London, UK

We decided it was going to be difficult for all our students to see the film together, so we rented a cinema for Thursday afternoon. It better be a good grand finale!
Patrick Degenaar, London, UK

I saw the movie on Wednesday. Although the storyline is well known it's how it unfolds which is clever. The reasons why young "Annie" turns into Darth. It's the best of the lot so far, I really enjoyed it.
Steve Higgins, Bristol, UK

I was lucky enough to see a preview last week and thought it was pretty much as expected. Lots of colour, great music, usual brilliant effects. When it was good, it was really good. When it was bad, it stank. Same problems as the last two crop up again, like dreadful lines and even worse delivery of them. But there are many wonderful moments too. Probably better than the last two 'prequels' although still a feeble shadow of the original trilogy.
Jon, Preston, UK

I saw an advanced preview last Tuesday and really enjoyed the film. Certainly better than the previous two episodes and watching the original three films afterwards tied up some ends nicely particularly with the modifications which Lucas made to the original films before releasing them on DVD. It was never going to live up to the hype and there are some glaring problems with some scenes which made the final edit well worthy of the cutting room floor which are cringeworthily bad. Great special effects though and a nice dark edge to it. Certainly worthy of its 12A certification.
Andrew, Leeds, United Kingdom

Far from flawless - some of the dialogue is clunky and MacGregor's English accent grates - but there are some wonderful scenes here. I guess the main difference between this and the first two is that this feels genuinely mythic and comes with a great and memorable ending.
James Smart, Edinburgh



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