The ritual of Star Wars fans lining up at the TCL Chinese Theatre well before the first showing of the movie has started in earnest.
About 50 fans were in line Friday afternoon at the back of forecourt of the iconic Hollywood location. More than a dozen began the line via the Lineup.net organization at 6 pm PST on Thursday — exactly a week before the first screening at the Chinese.
Australian Star Wars fans Caroline Ritter and Andrew Porters were at the start of the line, two years after the couple got married in a Star Wars-themed ceremony in front of the Chinese just before the first showings of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Ritter and Porters had already planned to travel to Los Angeles for the event and when they heard that the Chinese was considering hosting a Star Wars-themed wedding, they volunteered.
Ritter works for a coal mining company in Australia and waited in line outside the Chinese for “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” in 2002. Porters, who works as a rural firefighter in Australia, became a fan of that movie as a result. He said that getting in line is a thrill for the movie is a thrill, partly because of the original “Star Wars” launching at the Chinese in 1977.
“I mean, this is where it all started,” Porters said. “The management of the Chinese does a great job of allowing us to do this. It’s a very close-knit group of friends that feels like a family.”
The Lineup organization also uses the event to serve as fundraising vehicle for the Starlight Childrens Foundation. Ritter said that those in line slept on pads Thursday night rather than employing tents due to the warm weather. As to the question of why she’s so interested in this particular franchise, Ritter said it has a lot to do with Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia character.
“I began loving Star Wars because of her and the original movie really holds up, 40 years later,” she said. “I’d have to say that my favorite is ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ but I really loved ‘Rogue One’ too.”
Here’s the couple on Friday afternoon at the Chinese: