The force is strong with Star Wars fans as thousands flock to Rogue One midnight screenings

(Back to camera) Garrett Hedlund as Jamie McAllan. (Front of cart) Mary J. Blige as Florence Jackson (also inset)  and Rob Morgan as Hap Jackson.

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Not so long ago, in a cinema not too far away... thousands of Star Wars fans rushed to be the first to see the sci-fi saga’s latest instalment.

More than 200 people turned out to the midnight screening of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at Port Solent’s Odeon overnight on Wednesday.

Cosplayers from Southampton group Phoenix Command posed for photos with cinema-goers, alongside a full-size replica of R2-D2 built by the UK R2-D2 Builders’ Club.

Superfans also packed cinemas in Gunwharf Quays, Whiteley and Chichester.

Adam White, from Fratton, said that the blockbuster was ‘so much fun’.

He added: ‘I thought Rogue One was an absolute triumph.

‘It’s what I’ve been waiting all year for and it’s certainly paid off.

‘I was born into Star Wars, and I’ll die Star Wars. Up the Rebellion!’

Directed by Godzilla filmmaker Gareth Edwards, Rogue One is the first in a new trilogy of standalone Star Wars spin-offs.

It stars Academy Award-nominated actress Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, who leads a gang of rebels on a deadly mission to steal the plans for the Galactic Empire’s ultimate weapon – the dreaded Death Star.

Jack Grey, from Lee-on-the-Solent, praised the performance of the new characters in the Star Wars universe.

He said: ‘It was a brilliant film, it had a very old-school Star Wars vibe but without the Jedi.

‘The feel for a midnight screening is just so much better than just a normal screening – it’s really special.’

Andy Edge, commercial director at Odeon, said: ‘The excitement felt across our cinemas for last year’s return of Star Wars was incredible – and this year is no different.

‘We’re ready to welcome a galaxy-full of guests, ensuring our cinemas are ready to transport fans back to the world they know and love for an all-new adventure.’

n Turn to today’s Guide supplement for an interview with Rogue One star Felicity Jones