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New Star Wars premieres Thursday

While patience is a virtue of the Jedi, Star Wars fans leaning toward the Dark Side over the long wait for Episode Seven can finally relax. The wait is over. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will have an early premiere in local theaters on Thursday before the official launch on Friday, and at least one of those theaters has a big event planned.

“We offered 400 tickets to the public to a private party we are having before the premiere,” Paul Wenger, a principal of Flagship Cinema Palmyra, said.

Wenger said the tickets, which cover the party, food and admission to the film, sold out quickly.

“We did something similar for the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ premiere,” Wenger said. “That went over really well, so we thought we’d do the same for the new ‘Star Wars.’”

According to Wenger, there will be a raffle with door prizes and Flagship Cinema employees will be dressed as Star Wars characters and they will be mingling with patrons and making themselves available for photo opportunities during the party. However, patrons coming to the event, and anyone planning to dress in costume for any showing of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” will have a few restrictions on what they can and cannot wear in the theater.

“Part of the excitement of a film like this is being able to dress in costume to go to a showing,” Wenger said. “We are not restricting customers from wearing costumes, but we are not allowing masks or prop weapons of any kind into the theater.”

The private party begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday and the film will be screened at 8 p.m., but only for the 400 private party ticket holders. The film will begin its regular run in Flagship Cinema on Friday with its first screening set to begin at 11:30 a.m.

The Allen Theatre in Annville will also have an early premiere of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m., but owner Allen “Skip” Hicks said there won’t be a party at the Allen.

“We’ve been so caught up with everything else that had to be done for our reopening that we didn’t have a chance to plan anything,” Hicks said. “We do have our brand new digital equipment all set up and ready to go though.”

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will begin its regular run at The Allen beginning with its first screening after the premiere on Friday at 1:30 p.m.

Regal Cinemas at the Lebanon Valley Mall will premiere the film on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. for the 3D version, and 7:30 p.m. for the standard version. According to Regal Cinemas’ corporate office, they will be holding “Star Wars” themed events at selected theaters across the nation, but their theater in Lebanon is not one of them.

“Regal is as excited as our guests for the upcoming release of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ to this holiday season,” said Ken Thewes, chief marketing officer at Regal Entertainment Group. “In anticipation of opening day, Regal has created a number of Star Wars collectibles for our passionate Star Wars fans to include with their big screen experience.”

Those collectibles include “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” branded drink cups and other concession items, and gift cards which are available online only that will be redeemable for admission or concession purchases.

Unlike Flagship Cinema and The Allen, Regal Cinema at the Lebanon Valley Mall will offer multiple showings of the film in standard format and 3D during the Thursday premiere.