Hollywood ready for world premiere of "The Force Awakens"

Hollywood ready for world premiere of "The Force Awakens"

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Stormtrooper mannequins lined the red carpet as "Star Wars" made its highly-anticipated return to Hollywood Monday after a decade-long absence from the huge screen.

A giant opaque tent shrouded the red carpet — lined with the mannequins & neon lights that resembled giant lightsabers — & workers put the finishing touches on the setup hours before the film's first showings to a select group of Hollywood elite.

Disney took over a half-mile section of Hollywood Boulevard for the premiere for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," complete with fan bleachers & spotlights everywhere. The film will screen at three theaters, allowing more than 5,000 invited guests the chance to see the characters Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa & Han Solo reunite for the first time on the huge screen since 1983's "Return of the Jedi."

p>Security around the site was high, with metal detectors screening pedestrians & police dogs checking the area.

Access to journalists covering the premiere restricted until just before the event began. Once they were allowed in the giant, four-block tent, they were treated to displays of some of the film's newest characters, including the evil Captain Phasma & the droid BB-8.

Many of Hollywod's top stars will join hundreds of costumed fans at what could be the largest Hollywood premiere ever. One of the participating theaters — the iconic TCL Chinese — hosted the premiere of the original "Star Wars" in 1977.

Los Angeles Police say extra vehicle patrols & more officers on foot are being assigned to the area.

Monday's premiere is the culmination of years of planning, filming & marketing "Star Wars" for a new generation.

Although "The Force Awakens" reunites the cast of the original trilogy for the first time since "Return of the Jedi," the new film is expected to introduce a new crop of characters who can sustain the franchise for years to come.

"The Force Awakens" opens to the public Friday & some expect the film to break box office records, as it has already with presale tickets.

The last live-action "Star Wars" film was 2005's "Revenge of the Sith," which capped a prequel trilogy focusing on the story of how Skywalker's father became villain Darth Vader.

___

Online

http://www.starwars.com

___

AP Entertainment Writer Marcela Isaza contributed to this report.

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang.

Source: “Associated Press”