The Force is clearly with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” The trailer for Episode VIII of the movie saga made its debut in the midst of Monday Night Football, kicking off ticket sales for the Dec. 14 premiere and beyond.
And the truly magical part was that you could actually buy tickets.
First, about that trailer: Although fans have gotten glimpses of the upcoming movie at Comic-Con and other special events, this is the biggest fully loaded dose of Star Wars lore to go public since the first official trailer was released in April.
Spoiler alert: Even director Rian Johnson agonized over whether hard-core fans should watch tonight’s trailer — and if you’re a super-stickler about spoilers, stop reading (and watching) now.
I a legitimately torn. If you want to come in clean, absolutely avoid it.
But it’s gooooood….. https://t.co/Y29K5yz8i4
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) October 8, 2017
FORGET EVERYTHING I SAID AND WATCH IT WATCH IT WATCH IT https://t.co/itreyIVN8A
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) October 10, 2017
Suffice it to say that the villains as well as the heroes are clearly taking it up a notch. “When I found you, I saw raw untamed power … and beyond that, something truly special,” super-baddie Snoke can be heard saying in a voice-over.
The episode’s budding dark lord, Kylo Ren, says, “Let the past die” — followed by heart-tugging close-ups of General Leia Organa, played by the late Carrie Fisher.
Luke Skywalker, meanwhile, looks worried as he says, “I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now.”
And Rey, the heroine of “The Force Awakens,” sounds conflicted as she says, “I need someone to show me my place in all this” — and someone’s hand reaches out.
If Rian Johnson says you should watch it, who are we to argue?
Now, about the tickets: When the trailer aired at halftime on ESPN, that was the signal for ticket windows to open at theaters and at websites ranging from Fandango to Seattle’s Pacific Science Center and Cinerama.
To boost fan interest, outlets offered posters, trading cards and other goodies. (The official theatrical poster was unveiled tonight along with the trailer.)
Customers going after Dec. 14’s first showings hardly needed such enticements. Those tickets were snapped up within minutes.
The good news is that there was hardly any of the angst we saw when tickets went on sale for “The Force Awakens” in 2015, let alone the chaos that broke out last year when the Cinerama opened its online ticket window for “Rogue One.”
Last year, users encountered repeated error messages when they tried to connect. 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. The theater was forced to apologize on Twitter.
Since then, Cinerama has updated its database server, changed hardware firewalls, changed from a microwave to fiber-based internet service provider, and rebuilt how the web servers talk to the database server — all aimed at ensuring a smoother experience for “The Last Jedi.”
Customers who logged onto Cinerama.com tonight were shunted over to a virtual queue, where they lined up for turns to select and pay for reserved seats.
— Seattle Cinerama (@SeattleCinerama) October 9, 2017
Meanwhile, about 200 patrons lined up for real at the Cinerama’s ticket window, staff members told me tonight. By the time I showed up, at around 7:10 p.m., the line had disappeared. Fortunately, there were still about a dozen tickets left for the Dec. 14 opening double feature, a $45 extravaganza with “Force Awakens” setting the stage for “Last Jedi.”
It’s a good thing I showed up in person: Even though there was still a smattering of seats available at the brick-and-mortar ticket booth, the virtual ticket booth had been shut down by the time I got through the online queue.
Geek Life writer/editor Kurt Schlosser contributed to this report. P.S.: If you really love spoilers, check out Entertainment Weekly’s shot-by-shot analysis of the trailer.