Simon and Jeanmarie Rouswell, camp chairs and board games in tow, were first in line Thursday for the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s Omni IMAX Theater.
They arrived at 9 a.m. — for the 10 p.m. show. The first people to arrive for the first show, at 7 p.m., didn’t set up in line until about 1:45 p.m.
The theater was named by Wired magazine as one of the seven best screens in the U.S. to watch The Force Awakens.
“We both had the day off, and we both thought it would be kind of fun to come out here and meet some like-minded people,” Simon Rouswell said, taking a break from watching Return of the Jedi on a tablet. “It’s just like one of those things where if you’re really passionate about something, it’s like ‘go hard or go home.’ ”
Next in line was Dustin Thompson, who would have been first in line, but when he arrived at 5 a.m. and found out that the line couldn’t form until 9 a.m., he went back to his car and took a nap. By the time he woke up about 11 a.m., the Rouswells were in place.
Like them, he has had his tickets for a few weeks.
“We might not know each other, but we have this common bond in the fandom,” said Thompson, who was introduced to the Star Wars universe in the late ’90s by his mother and is practically a walking Wookieepedia of Star Wars knowledge.
“I’m part of multiple fan groups, and I’ve met people across the world. Even when you meet someone brand new, that fandom is just an instant connection.”
Nicole Youngblood, along with two sons and two of their friends, was first in line for the 7 p.m. showing.
“We thought there’d be a really big crowd, so we got here early,” she says. “We home-school, so we were able to get here at 1:45.”
They also thought to bring camp chairs, card games and snacks. Youngblood said that her sons are bigger fans than she is.
“I’m just a mom trying to make a great memory,” she said, laughing.
Cody Bowden, who was behind the Youngblood group, arrived at 2:45 p.m.
“I’ve done it for several other movies,” he said. “I like waiting to make sure I’ve got a good seat. The IMAX here doesn’t let you reserve seats, and especially with the dome, you need to have a good seat.
“But it’s also that I’ve been waiting for it for several years, and it’s nice to be here on opening day.”
Rebecca Rodriguez, the museum’s executive director of marketing and communications, said that no unusual security measures were in place, other than a police officer set to arrive around 6:30 p.m. for crowd control.
Shortly before 5 p.m., about 20 to 30 people were in line (although none in costume) for the 7 p.m. show — and the museum planned to let them inside early, once a screening of The Polar Express had concluded.
The Rouswells, by the way, had even more than a new “Star Wars” movie to celebrate: Jeanmarie, who is getting her master’s degree in social work Friday, found out while in line that she had been hired for a new job.