‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Meet the Super-Fans Who Have Been In Line For … – ABC News
Tickets to tonight’s showings of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” are difficult, if impossible, to come by.
However, more than 150 super-fans in southern California need not worry: They’ve been camped out outside of the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood since the morning of Dec. 5.
As a reward for their effort, an entire theater has been set aside just for their group.
“It’s camping! It’s dirty and cold and we deal with it because it’s a tradition to camp out for ‘Star Wars,'” Nate Clukey told ABC News on Wednesday. “Everyone here is our family and friends. We’ve become really close over the years so … it’s a special time for us.”
“The Line” first set up outside the TCL Chinese Theatre in 1999 for the premiere of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” and then again in 2002 for “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” and in 2005 for “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.” Each line member wears a badge that bears their names and are color-coded to tell others whether they’re open to hearing spoilers, and to get access to tickets for opening night, it’s necessary to log 24 hours outside, according to their official website. However, Clukey, who has been present for all four TCL Theatre lines, hasn’t left once this year.
“We really became family,” he explained. “It’s just like a family reunion. We do all the same things you’d do at a family reunion: We take time off, we make time for each other, we enjoy each other’s company and it’s all with ‘Star Wars’ intertwined. It’s really magic.”
However, the group is also open to newcomers, added Shaun Colquhoun, who joined this year. A “Star Wars” fan since the age of 10, being a part of the line is especially poignant for Colquhoun, because his first memory of the franchise was seeing it at the TCL Chinese with his grandfather when he was 10.
“I just fell in love with Chewbacca. My favorite thing in the world is a giant hairy wookie,” he said with a laugh. “[This year] a couple of my friends were down here and I came down to check it out and I kinda fell in love with everybody. … They welcomed me with open arms and they’re nicest people in the world to me. It’s fantastic.”
The group is charitable, too. As was the case in 1999, 2002 and 2005, the line is raising money for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, a group that provides entertainment and education for sick children and their families. However, some well-wishers want to give to them directly: Tempur-Pedic sent over pillows to make camping easier, TCL Chinese has allowed them to sleep on the famed handprints outside, and LucasFilm, the production company behind the movie, regularly sends them pizza and coffee.
But perhaps best of all, four rows of seats inside the theater were set aside for the line for Tuesday night’s Hollywood premiere. And while many people in the group passed, preferring to watch it with specific people tonight, Colquhoun and Clukey took the tickets.
“They super-valued us and they gave us the experience of a lifetime,” gushed Colquhoun of the experience. “It was the best movie I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”
“There’s so much to talk about we’re exploding not being able to talk about,” added Clukey. “We can’t talk about it, but half the fun is geeking out for hours and hours and talking every little thing.”
There’s certainly going to be a lot to unpack tonight. This afternoon, two of the line members will marry outside the TCL Chinese, have a brief reception, and then everybody will go inside to watch the film. And while Clukey can’t wait for it, it’s a bittersweet ending to an unforgettable week-and-a-half, he added.
“It always is because you get in the habit of living with your friends and not working just like any vacation,” he said. “Every moment is precious.”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is produced by Lucasfilm, a subsidiary of Disney, which is the parent company of ABC News.