Star Wars fans turn out in Force for ‘Rogue One’

Margaret Urfer as Jedi knight
Software engineer Margaret Urfer strikes a Jedi knight pose after a “Rogue One” showing at Lincoln Square Cinemas in Bellevue, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

“Rogue One” may not have a Roman numeral in its name, but Dec. 15’s debut nevertheless brought out costumed Jedi knights and other Star Wars fans in droves.

Most of them went back into the night with smiles on their faces. And at least one of them, Makenna Hoffard, thought it was better than VII.

“I was expecting not to like it,” Hoffard, a recent graduate from the University of Washington, said after the 10:30 p.m. showing at Lincoln Square Cinemas in Bellevue, Wash.

She knows the ins and outs of the Star Wars canon, based on myriad spin-off books as well as the movies, and she said the latest film “upheld the story” even though it’s a stand-alone film and not officially part of the nine-episode big-screen masterwork.

“They made it modern and funny, like a Marvel movie kind of vibe,” she said.

Hoffard couldn’t say the same for last year’s Episode VII, “The Force Awakens,” which she faulted for taking too many liberties with the canon. “I cried after the seventh movie, and not in a good way,” she said.

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‘Rogue One’ and more: 10 movies to watch for

Felicity Jones in "Rogue One"
Felicity Jones stars in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” (Disney / Lucasfilm Photo)

Tonight’s the first chance most of us will have to see “Rogue One,” the latest addition to the big-screen Star Wars saga, but we already know it’s the best film of the batch. Or one of the worst.

That’s based on the reviews from fans and critics that have come out since the previews started rolling out over the past few days.

Unless you’ve been locked up in a slab of carbonite, Han Solo-style, you already know that “Rogue One” is a standalone story in the Star Wars oeuvre, The movie is about a band of rebels who take on the Galactic Empire in the stretch of time between Episode III (“Revenge of the Sith”) and Episode IV (“A New Hope”), when Darth Vader was digging the Dark Side.

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Star Wars fans jam ‘Rogue One’ ticket window

Jyn Erso
Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, in “Rogue One.” (Disney / Lucasfilm via YouTube)

The past 24 hours have brought good news and bad news for throngs of Star Wars fans who are eagerly awaiting “Rogue One,” the next installment in the film saga.

Let’s start with the bad news: Many of those fans faced hours of frustration on the night of Nov. 27, scrambling for advance tickets. At 9:01 p.m. PT, theaters and websites started selling tickets for the show, including seats for opening night on Dec. 15.

At least that was the plan.

Seattle’s Cinerama struggled with its overloaded online reservation system for hours: Users encountered repeated error messages when they tried to connect – and even if they were able to get through to the website, many couldn’t get all the way through the payment process. “Could Not Get Seat Data” was a frequent response.

For the Cinerama’s harried staff, and for hard-core fans who had a hard time getting opening-night tickets to “Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” it was deja vu all over again.

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