LIMA — The latest addition to the storied Star Wars franchise debuted nationwide Thursday when “The Last Jedi” flashed upon the big screens at cinemas across the country.
It was the first new entry in the franchise since the “The Force Awakens” played to packed crowds in 2015.
According to Brittney Ibarra, a manager at the Regal American Mall Stadium 12 cinema in Lima, crowds were lined up awaiting the first area showing of the movie Thursday night.
“We’ve already had a couple of sellouts,” Ibarra said, noting that the cinema is currently offering eight showings of “The Last Jedi” daily, some in 3-D.
Nathan and Kandi Seals, of St. Marys, were entering the Lima theater Friday to enjoy an afternoon showing of the newest Star Wars flick.
“I’ve seen the whole series; they’re all good,” said Nathan.
Asked what he hoped to see in “The Last Jedi,” Nathan, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, said, “I really hope Luke Skywalker becomes evil.”
According to several movie-goers leaving the theater on Friday, Luke doesn’t necessarily turn evil … but something does indeed happen to one of the series’ original characters.
Chloe Wohlgamuth, of Lima, was with her dad, Chad, at the Friday afternoon showing. “It was good,” she said, “although I feel they tried to add a little too much humor. At first I thought it was gonna be a bad movie, but it got better as it went on. And the special effects were really good. I’ve seen all the previous ‘Star Wars’ movies, and I was happy with this one.”
Chad Wohlgamuth has been a fan of the franchise since the original Star Wars movie was introduced in 1977.
“The special effects were fabulous. I will probably … no, I will definitely see it again,” said Chad Wohlgamuth.
And although there is a surprise or two awaiting fans, movie-goers leaving the cinema Friday couldn’t quite agree on what they’d just seen.
“Anyone who is a ‘Star Wars’ fan kinda had to know what was going to happen,” said Wohlgamuth, offering a spoiler alert that will be kept a secret for the time being.
Shawn McCormick, of Lima, watched the same movie, but drew a different conclusion about what he’s just seen. It’s a trend that seems consistent with Star Wars enthusiasts.
“It was a really, really good movie,” McCormick said Friday, “but there were some surprises; some pretty crazy stuff.”
Asked if the spoiler alert referenced by Wohlgamuth caught him off guard, McCormick offered a different take.
“We saw something happen, but it doesn’t necessarily mean …”
Well, suffice to say movie-goers will just have to make up their own minds.