‘Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith’ Premiere

No stars at a “Star Wars” premiere? No Natalie Portman? No Hayden Christensen? No Ewan McGregor? No way!

That was the wet blanket over Thursday’s much-anticipated premiere of “Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith.” The divide-and-conquer strategy to hold same-day benefit screenings in Westwood, New York and San Francisco turned out to be a wash, with less-than-stellar turnout everywhere.

Gotham boasted the best celeb attendance with Samuel L. Jackson and Liam Neeson, and San Fran got George Lucas, but the only real “Sith” star in L.A. was Jimmy Smits. (Wait, what part does he play?) However, that didn’t quell the enthusiasm of fervent fans, cheering costumed characters like Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Darth Vadar.

“This feels more like a ‘Star Wars’ convention than a premiere,” whined one reporter, who had to resort to interviewing Chewbacca and Bai Ling. Ling’s part in “Sith” was excised more than a year ago, but “I’m just here to support the film,” she explained to anyone who would listen.

Others in Westwood included Kelsey Grammer, Billy Dee Williams and “Lost” creator J.J. Abrams, who dashed into the theater at the last minute to just catch the film. (Williams was the only one who bothered to make an appearance at the after-party at the UCLA Hammer Museum.)

So, where were the movie’s hot young stars? Likely in Cannes, soaking up the Mediterranean air in preparation for the glitzy festival screening of “Sith” on Sunday.

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