GLEN Fredericks watched every single trailer and teaser for the forthcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but has had to stop.
“A new Chinese trailer came out and I’ve decided not to watch it because I can’t handle the excitement I’d feel if I saw another 10 seconds,” Mr Fredericks said.
“I’m a bit nervous, very excited but I’m also trying not to think about it too much because it just distracts me.”
That’s easier said than done, considering Mr Fredericks and his wife Joanne run The Empire Coffee Co., a Star Wars inspired cafe just a few steps away from Tower Cinemas in Newcastle.
His lifelong passion began as a six-year-old in 1977, when the first film was released.
Mr Fredericks, a father of four, is now a member of the 501st Legion, a group of enthusiasts who build their own costume replicas and donate their time and raise funds for charities.
“We’re bad guys doing good,” he said. “People dress up as Luke Skywalker or Han Solo but can’t change their face. When you’re a Stormtrooper or Darth Vader, kids come up and ask, ‘Are you real?”
Mr Fredericks and a group of about 15 will wear their costumes to Reading Cinema in Maitland ahead of its sold out 12.01am Thursday screening.
Complex manager Yvette Cavanagh said another 150 tickets had been sold to the 12.10am screening.
Star Wars will be the only film showing in two of the complex’s four theatres for the week after its release. About 500 tickets have already been sold to the eight sessions that will screen each day. “It’s multi-generational and much anticipated,” Ms Cavanagh said. “You’ve got your hard-core Star Wars fans, but then you’ve also got the general population who have grown up with it, know the story and want to see how this one will turn out.”
The fervor is reaching fever pitch across the whole region, requiring cinemas to devote up to two thirds of their theatres to showing back to back screenings.
Event Cinemas at Glendale has sold about 1300 tickets to its eight midnight screenings. Tower Cinemas at Newcastle, Reading at Charlestown, Hoyts Charlestown, Scottys at Raymond Terrace, Nelson Bay Cinema and Majestic Cinemas Singleton are also hosting midnight screenings.
Mr Fredericks said he was likely to watch the film again and again. “When you turn the clock back to 1977, it was groundbreaking, we’d never seen anything like that before,” he said. “But at the same time it felt like it had a lot of heart and soul in it.
“The prequels used too much computer imagery, but this one seems to be not as precise, it has a human sloppiness that is going to make it feel even more real.”