‘Star Wars’ awakens nostalgia among Rifle residents | PostIndependent.com

‘Star Wars’ awakens nostalgia among Rifle residents

Jerimie Richardson
Citizen Telegram Contributor
Jeremiah Choate, assistant manager at Rifle Brenden 7, adjusts the marquee Thursday evening in preparation for the premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Ryan Hoffman / Citizen Telegram |

The George Lucas created “Star Wars” is no longer just a film franchise.

“Star Wars” has become both a multi-billion dollar corporation and, for some, a religion with a sphere of influence that reaches as far as low Earth orbit.

According to NASA, “The Force Awakens” the first feature length “Star Wars” film in more than a decade, will be screened aboard the International Space Station sometime this week.

On Thursday, Dec. 17, local Earth bound adherents of the “Star Wars” faith turned out in force to see the premiere of “The Force Awakens” at Rifle Brenden 7 Theater.

Cynthia Ruiz, assistant manager at the Brenden Theater, reported that 632 people saw “The Force Awakens” at the Brenden on Thursday night. “The Force Awakens” was playing in all seven of the theater’s auditoriums. Nationally, Deadline.com reports that “The Force Awakens” grossed an opening day record $120 million.

Joshua Collett, a 17-year-old Brenden employee who spent Thursday evening wearing a Darth Vader suit, enjoyed his own dividends.

“I got in six light saber battles and posed for 31 pictures,” a smiling Collett reported.

For the fans, a new “Star Wars” film isn’t about money. Many fans were disillusioned by the perceived dip in quality from the original “Star Wars” film trilogy which began with 1977’s “A New Hope” and the prequel trilogy, which began with the critically maligned “The Phantom Menace” in 1999.

To paraphrase a character from the 2009 film “Fan Boy,” the story of a dying “Star Wars” fan who travels across country to see “The Phantom Menace” at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch before he passes away, “What if the movie sucks?”

Standing in line before show time, Rifle resident Russ Collins was hopeful. The 51-year-old Collins is a longtime “Star Wars” fan who claimed to have met David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader, at a movie theater in Phoenix back in 1977. Collins cited “The Force Awakens” director JJ Abrams favorable track record with another beloved science fiction film franchise.

“(Abrams) did a good job with Star Trek,” Collins said.

After the movie, David Romero, 30, of Rifle, was so enthused by what he had seen on screen that he initially misreported his age as 28.

“I’m sorry, I’m so excited I forgot how old I was,” Romero said.


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