Thousands of Star Wars fans queue at midnight to see the new film in Portsmouth

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THOUSANDS of Star Wars fans in Portsmouth have reacted with joy at the new instalment of the fantasy franchise.

More than 2,100 people passed through the doors to catch one of the special midnight screenings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Vue cinema, in Gunwharf Quays this morning.

Star Wars fans in Portsmouth

Star Wars fans in Portsmouth

Some of the movie-goers even dressed up for the occasion, with a range of Jedi Knights, Sith Lords and Galactic Imperial admirals queuing for tickets.

However, whether the fans were on the dark or the light side, one thing most of them could agree on was that the force was certainly strong with the latest instalment of the fantasy franchise.

Simon Parke – who was dressed as the iconic villain Darth Vader – said his excitement had been building up for months.

The 44-year-old, of Portsmouth, said: ‘Just being here makes me feel like a six-year-old makes me feel like I’m six-year-old again – I feel like it’s 1977 all over again, except this time I’m dressed as Darth Vader.’

It’s just been great, I feel like a kid again.

Aaron Messenbird, 23, of Portsmouth

Aaron Messenbird dressed up as Anakin Skywalker, complete with a £150 red lightsaber replica.

The 23-year-old, of Portsmouth, said: ‘It’s just been great, I feel like a kid again.

‘I’ve seen all the movies and I’ve read about four of the books, so I’m a pretty big fan.’

Jack Sammut, 11, of Portsmouth, saw the film with friend Toby O’Brien, 11 and family members.

Aaron Messenbird, 23, of Portsmouth  as Anakin Skywalker

Aaron Messenbird, 23, of Portsmouth as Anakin Skywalker

Reacting moments after the film had finished, Jack, said: ‘It was so much better than the trailers.’

The film is the seventh in the series.

It is set roughly 30 years after the events in Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi, which saw Luke defeating the evil Emperor and bringing balance to the force.