A long time ago at a theater not so far, far away, "Star Wars" aficionados began forming a line.
They’re still there. They will be until 12:01 a.m. Thursday, the precise moment when evil Sith lords will exact revenge on gallant Jedi knights across the galaxy.
Until the curtain opens on George Lucas’ final installment in the "Star Wars" space saga, a group of earthlings is camping outside the Harkins Theatres Scottsdale 101 megaplex.
The attraction is the choice seats for the first showing on the Imperial-class size Cine Capri screen within the megaplex. Together, they will rule the center rows.
"Having a great time is really what it’s all about," said Tempe resident Joel Cranson, who sported a Boba Fett cap and a Naboo fighter T-shirt. "We all already have our tickets. It’s now just about getting the best seat and recreating what ‘Star Wars’ was in 1977."
By midday Friday, 50 earthlings were officially registered in line. Members of Phoenix Fan Force, a local "Star Wars" club, are the official guardians of the wait.
They expect hundreds more to join before Thursday. They call it a "tailgate party for geeks." So far, no one has argued that point.
The earthlings have established a system that allows them to remain employed while waiting. They are free to come and go as they please, but must sign in and out on a log book to record the time they have spent sidewalk camping.
Those with the most hours by showtime get the first spots in line when the doors open for "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith."
Everyone is required to leave for two hours every two days to seek their destiny with soap. "For the most part, people do it anyway," Cranson said. "We don’t want to be stinking up the theater on May 19th."
Harkins Theatres has provided a couple of portable restrooms and an electrical outlet, which is mostly used to power laser disc and DVD players to watch episodes I, II, IV, V and VI in preparation for III. It’s serious stuff.
"It’s not just a movie," said Phoenix computer tech Jeff Siegel, 34, "In all honestly, it’s the finale of one of the better told stories ever put on film."