AUGUSTA — Jake Sturtevant and his family love Star Wars so much they have their own podcast about it. It was no wonder the group was one of the first at Regal Cinemas in Augusta on Thursday night for the first showing of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, the eighth episode the movie franchise.

Moviegoers came from near and far, far away for the first of six shows at the Augusta movie theater Thursday. While there wasn’t as many people gathered in the lobby as there was two years ago for the opening night of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, there were still plenty fanboys and fangirls in costumes and Star Wars-related apparel.

Sturtevant, of Poland, was wearing a gray Star Wars hoodie, and his daughter, Bella, 11, and son, Simon, 8, were decked out in capes and blankets adorned with images of their favorite characters.

“I like Luke (Skywalker) the best,” Simon said. His sister didn’t name a favorite character, but she did say she really enjoyed the first three films in the trilogy, Episodes I-III, which were released in 1999, 2002 and 2005, respectively.

Their podcast, which is called Sturt Wars and is available on SoundCloud, focuses on the children and what they think is happening in the Star Wars universe. Sturtevant said he’s happy to share his love for the franchise with his kids.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “To see that next generation of fans taking over is pretty special.”

Sturtevant grew up a Star Wars fan. He has a brother named Luke and a sister named Leah, but he said he never asked his mother if they are named after Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa. His mom was at the theater with the family Thursday and confirmed that the names were partly because of Star Wars.

The last Star Wars film, “The Force Awakens,” saw the death of Han Solo and the return of Skywalker, and the movie ended with Skywalker on a deserted island being handed a lightsaber by Rey, the main character in the film. Sturtevant said he’s curious to see what Skywalker’s role is in the film and what becomes of Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, who died unexpectedly almost a year ago.

“I’m really curious where they take things with the new characters and how they work in the story with Luke, because we haven’t seen him in a while,” Sturtevant said.

Director Rian Johnson is new to the franchise, and he has a tough act to follow. J.J. Abrams directed “The Force Awakens” and will return to direct Episode IX, which is set to be released in 2019.

“I think it’s great to see somebody new step into this middle (episode),” Sturtevant said. “To be able to see a different perspective is really interesting.”

The crowd included a mix of adults and families, and there were people in Star Wars leggings, cloaks, hoodies and robes. Just as they did two years ago on opening night, superfans Peter Spiegel and Brian Juengst brought their lightsabers and had a three-minute duel outside the theater.

“I’ve been able to avoid reviews and spoilers by a media shutdown,” Spiegel said. “My expectations are to go in and have fun.”

Spiegel, 42, of Hallowell, and Juengst, 35, of Manchester, predicted the film will address actress Carrie Fisher’s death in a shocking way — they both think her character, Leah, will die.

Juengst said he is looking forward to seeing how the new director and writer, Johnson, whose only other notable film was the 2012 “Looper,” handles the story.

“Looper was based on a book, and he had a lot of source material to work with, and Star Wars is so rich with history,” he said. “There are already characters set in there, and he gets to play in this established sandbox, which makes a huge difference.”

Regal had six showings — three in 3D and three standard — scheduled Thursday, and they were all but sold out. There are 16 showings — eight in each format — planned for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.