Ending a 16-year gap started with 1983's Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, the wait for Lucas' anticipated Star Wars prequel — exploring the tragic origin story of the fallen Jedi who was redeemed by his son, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), in the conclusion of the original trilogy — spawned hour-long lines filled with ticket holders.
Others, like then 24-year-old super-fan Jeremy Lorenz, camped outside their local theater for weeks before the midnight showing to purchase tickets and be among the first to return to a galaxy far, far away. As Lorenz told the SF Gate at the time, "I saw Star Wars when I was 5 and it took me to another place. It brings out the child in all of us and lets us relive our youth."
In a story published by CNN Money on May 18, 1999, Minneapolis resident Dave Desvousges revealed he made over $3,000 selling tickets to the Wednesday night showing of the blockbuster-to-be.
Southern California's KCOP 13 News captured footage from opening night, where Star Wars fans exiting first late night showings revealed mixed reactions:
"It was amazing, it was everything I thought it was gonna be and more," said one fan dressed as the horn-headed Darth Maul. Another moviegoer disagreed, telling news cameras, "Thumbs way down. I think I deserve a public apology from George Lucas."