Fans turned out in force Thursday night for the Bangor premiere of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the eighth installment of the “Star Wars” saga, a movie franchise launched over 40 years ago.

Bangor Mall Cinemas has for the past several “Star Wars” film premieres hosted a mini convention, featuring books, toys, photographs and other memorabilia for sale, and visits from Maine cosplayers dressed as beloved characters from the movies.

Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers and other figures stalked the lobby of the theater, to the delight of fans of all ages — from elementary school-aged children, to adults in their 50s and older, who were kids when the first film came out in 1977.

“It’s always pretty exciting when a new ‘Star Wars’ movie comes out, and I’m not sure what I’m most excited for, but I’m very excited to not see any of my favorite characters die with a lightsaber through their heart,” said Justin Fletcher, a Veazie resident and a member of cosplay brigade the Pine State Heroes, who was dressed as a Twi’Lek.

Bangor resident Paul Bussiere was on hand with his full-scale working R2-D2 model. The droid posed for photos with attendees, as did the many costumed people manning booths selling various “Star Wars” items.

Bangor Mall Cinemas assistant manager Sue Bragdon said the premieres of hotly anticipated blockbusters are always fun, but “Star Wars” premieres are truly special.

“It’s definitely unique. There’s an entire community around it,” she said. “These folks show up every time, and that makes it the best experience you can have.”

Other movie theaters around the state also planned “Star Wars” events, including a premiere party at the Colonial Theatre in Belfast on Thursday night and a costume parade and contest Friday night at the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.