Inside the 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Premiere

Castmembers Felicity Jones and Diego Luna joined A-listers like Michael Douglas and Christian Bale for the premiere of the first 'Star Wars' stand-alone pic.
Ethan Miller / Getty
Diego Luna and Felicity Jones

The world premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story transformed Hollywood Boulevard into a galaxy far, far away.

On Saturday night, five blocks of the boulevard (from Cahuenga Boulevard to Gower Street) were shut down for the event, which boasted a tented red carpet and a life-sized X-Wing. Onlookers stood on each side of the entrance to the carpet, with Imperial fans on one and rebels on the other.

Rogue One centers on the rebel fighters who are charged with stealing the plans to the newly constructed Death Star. They are led by Jyn Erso, played by English actress Felicity Jones.

"She is a leader, but she is not bossy, which is a wonderful distinction," said Jones of her character to The Hollywood Reporter.  "She is someone who has a command, but does it in a way where she trusts the people around her."
 
The lucky fans and stars who attended the premiere took to Twitter to share their initial reactions, which were overwhelmingly positive. Constance Zimmer tweeted the film was "so F'ing good," while Kevin Smith tweeted, "Holy Sith! Rogue One was unbelievably wonderful! No lie: it is #EmpireStrikesBack great!"
 
 
The Disney/Lucasfilm production has been lauded for its female lead and the diversity of its entire cast. "The screen should allow audiences to connect with characters, and see themselves reflected there," said star Diego Luna, who plays pilot Cassian Andor. 
 
Star Donnie Yen talked about his apprehension joining the Star Wars universe: "There was a lot of pressure, not only as an actor, but being the first Chinese actor in the films." He continued: "I wasn't sure how I could contribute to this brand, but on the other hand, there are so many Chinese people in the world that I felt, as an actor, this was a part of my responsibility."
 
The pic also stars Riz Ahmed, Wen Jiang, Forest Whitaker and Alan Tudyk as Rogue One's resident droid, K-2SO, while Ben Mendelsohn plays Imperial baddie Orson Krennic.
 
Mads Mikkelsen plays Galen Erso, creator of the Death Star. On the red carpet he talked about where Rogue One will fit into already well-established Star Wars lore, saying, "Nothing has changed in that we have a made a movie that will touch people. We had to be faithful to the universe and we had to feel that pressure, but we had to make it our own."
 
Director Gareth Edwards, who helmed Warner Bros' Godzilla before getting behind the camera for Rogue One, also walked the red carpet, with Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy.

"You are glad you have Kathy Kennedy as your partner. You feel like there is this giant wisdom at all times," said producer Allison Shearmur, when asked about the anxieties tackling the first stand-alone movie in the Star Wars universe. "Everything is well considered and nothing is done casually."

Security was tight at the event, including police and bomb-sniffing dogs. Some guests had to go through multiple metal detectors, as entry in to each side of the sidewalk required going through a different security checkpoint.

But that didn't stop stars that weren't a part of the Star Wars franchise from hitting the first official screening of the space epic. Christian Bale, Michael Douglas, Rainn Wilson, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion and Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi were all on hand for the premiere.

Attendees filed into the Pantages Theatre, where they were treated to a screening of the movie, which received plenty of applause when it began (there were no opening remarks from the filmmakers) as well as big cheers multiple times during it — especially during onscreen call-backs to the original trilogy. 

Rogue One was screened with a Dolby Vision high dynamic range projection system and Dolby Atmos immersive sound system, which was installed at the Pantages for the premiere. Atmos puts speakers on the front, rear and side walls of a theater, and trusses carrying speakers were on the ceiling for the overheads. The Dolby Vision system includes a pair of laser projectors. To have all of this ready for Saturday night took nearly a full week of work, with the installation beginning last Monday.

Afterwards, the crowd headed to Avalon Hollywood for the afterparty, where attendees were treated to hors d'oeuvres and dinner as well as Death Star-shaped minicakes and drinks being served from a tie-fighter shaped bar.

Rogue One blasts into theaters on Friday, Dec. 16.

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