'Rogue One': Navigating Last-Minute Ticket Panic and Other Opening Weekend Woes (Guest Column)

Rogue One Still 11 - Publicity - H 2016
Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm
Whether you've had your seat assignment for weeks or will be avoiding spoilers until the holidays, YouTube stars Rhett & Link have you covered.

When Disney made the decision to release a new installment of Star Wars each year until 2020, they were banking on the joy of millions of fans worldwide — correctly assuming that it would translate into massive revenue at the box office. What they most likely did not anticipate is the stress they were adding to so many of our lives.

With each new Star Wars, we helpless consumers are Forced (sorry) to make a decision. There are those of us who set an alarm on our R2-D2-themed phone so we could pre-order tickets as soon as they are released, while some of us failed to even see The Force Awakens in 2015, and we’ve carried a secret, lingering guilt all year due to our lack of enthusiasm for the franchise. Maybe you fall somewhere in between. Regardless of your particular situation, there are plenty of Sarlacc pits harboring the potential for ruining your Star Wars experience. It is your duty as a citizen of this particular galaxy to develop a game plan for navigating Rogue One opening weekend, and we’ve got you covered.

You Pre-Ordered a Ticket (with a seat assignment)

Well, look at you. Quite the planner! You organized your entire holiday schedule around the movie. You ditched the office holiday party. You haven’t purchased any gifts for loved ones. And you’re skipping Aunt Ruby’s funeral (it’s her fault for deciding to become one with the Force the week of the release). You’re planning to just calmly stroll into the theater — light saber in tow — and sit down to watch your beloved Rebel spies as they seek to lift the Death Star plans. Oh, if it were so simple.

There are still so many things that can go wrong. Last year, there were stories of entire theaters getting their seat assignments completely reversed — leaving those who thought they were sitting in the back row to actually be in the front. Or, you might get to your seat only to find it occupied by a dude in a Chewbacca suit who is only willing to speak Wookiee. By the time the manager is able to coax Chewie away, you may have missed the opening scene.

Don’t take any chances. Get there an hour early and put in some noise-canceling headphones to avoid hearing any spoilers from moviegoers who’ve got plot details. Yes, people will think you're weird. But you already know you’re weird because you care this much about Star Wars.

You Pre-Ordered a Ticket (With no seat assignment)

This was my (Link’s) situation last year with The Force Awakens.  Having named my youngest son Lando, I operated under the moral obligation to take him, his two siblings, and my wife to the movie on opening day. But, as it turns out, the theater was not under a similar moral obligation to allow us to skip to the front of the line just because my 5-year-old was a living breathing homage to the administrator of Cloud City. 

So even though we showed up 2.5 hours early, we found ourselves in the back of a line that snaked behind the theater and down a dark alley where we shivered and feared for our safety. There was a guy back there dressed like old Obi-Wan cooking something on a Bunsen burner. After all that, we weren’t able to find five seats together, and my middle child still had to sit by himself amongst a squad of Stormtroopers with noticeable body odor.  

If you’re going to be fighting for a good seat like me, I suggest getting there even earlier and making an event out of it. You’ll have more time to get to know Obi-Wan, which makes him significantly more likely to share whatever he’s cooking on that camp stove. Also, go ahead and set yourself a reminder to pre-order your seat-assigned tickets for next year’s Episode VIII.

You Didn’t Get a Ticket (Yet)

I (Rhett) fall squarely into this category. Last year, my family and I started what we hope to be the annual tradition of watching Star Wars with family in North Carolina when we travel there for the holidays. If you’re like me, and you’ve decided to not see Rogue One on opening weekend, you’re going to face a number of challenges.

Obviously, you’re at extremely high risk for spoilers — even if you’ve taken all necessary precautions. Maybe you’ve avoided social media so as not to risk seeing Star Wars memes that will only serve to confuse you. You’ve managed to not watch any of the extended trailers (so you’re still not sure if Darth Vader is actually in this one). With each day that passes, you become one of the last people in your social circle who hasn’t seen the movie. You have only one option. You, like Luke Skywalker, must seek solitude.

Assuming you cannot find your own rocky island to inhabit, you’re going to have to socially isolate yourself. Do not leave the house. Even a trip to a coffee shop could result in you overhearing a key detail that will be the undoing of an untainted film screening. Order food if you must, but do not speak to the delivery guy, because he’s probably seen the movie. Just leave him cash and a tip with a note that reads “It’s not a trap!”

You Won’t Get a Ticket (Ever)

So you’ve never really been that into Star Wars. The friends that you still have understand that about you and silently judge you for it. When someone brings up Star Wars in conversation, you get an uneasiness in your stomach and just smile and nod, hoping that you won’t be asked your opinion about anything specific.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of. You see, there cannot be a light side of the Force without a dark side. There have to be people like you — just like there have to be people who don’t like waterslides, fireworks, and kissing.

You still can choose to visit a movie theater during this time, but we humbly ask that you do not look down your nose at us as you walk into a screening of Bad Santa 2. Or maybe you should reconsider your position. Rogue One may be just the movie to draw you into the Rebel cause. Don’t underestimate the Force.

Rhett & Link are the hosts of the No. 1 most-watched daily show on YouTube, Good Mythical Morning, which boasts 11.5 million subscribers and has 3.5 billion lifetime views. Rhett & Link's Buddy System is currently streaming all episodes on YouTube Red. Find them on Twitter @rhettandlink.