NEW YORK - The "Star Wars" franchise has been called a modern mythology: A series of legends that captures the imagination of so many. Pretty much anywhere in the world you could go, "The Last Jedi" is poised to to enhance all that has come before.
Trailers for the new movie are deliberately vague, designed to get you to buy a ticket without revealing much about what happens. But the film, finally revealed, is expected to gross more than $400 million opening weekend after a worldwide release.
"Fans from different countries are different, but still you just feel the love," actress Daisy Ridley said at the LA premiere last Saturday.
Her character, Rey, takes center stage in "The Last Jedi," asking plaintively at one point, "I need someone to show me my place in all this."
She seeks help in fighting the evil First Order from Luke Skywalker, who has exiled himself to a remote island. Seen just briefly at the end of "The Force Awakens," actor Mark Hamill takes a major role in this one.
"Even though I think I know it all, they throw things at me story wise that I never could have imagined," he said.
He has been so much a part of the franchise for so long, Hamill is recognized anywhere in the world he might care to to travel.
"To be part of something that brings so much happiness is just a gift that you can never take for granted," he said.
Actor John Boyega reprises his role as Finn.
"This cultural phenomenon, I just think the fans are the most dedicated," he said. "And you can really see that in the vibe at the premiere."
Actor Benecio Del Toro is a newcomer to this universe
"It's got a hook on 4-year-olds and 80-year-olds," he said. "It just hooks everybody, and I'm just really lucky to be part of this."
Del Toro plays a code-breaker who interacts with Finn, which is one of several sub-plots in this two-and-a-half-hour picture. But no part of it is more poignant or moving than scenes involving the late Carrie Fisher. Before she died, Fisher described the appeal of "Star Wars."
"It's about family, and that's what's so powerful about it," she said.
Her scenes resonated most for me, but I fully realize so many are planning to go see "The Last Jedi" no matter what the critics say about it.
Fans head to theaters for 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' premiere