Star Wars fans awaken early for 'Force Friday'


Hundreds of Star Wars fans kept the force awake into the night as they queued to be the first to get their hands on toys from the sci-fi saga's new film. 

UK stores opened at midnight for the launch of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens tie-in merchandise  - including action figures, toy lightsabers and fancy dress costumes - in an event dubbed "Force Friday".

Around 300 fans - some decked out in Star Wars costumes - stretched into a galaxy far, far away (or at least around the corner) at the Disney Store in central London.

James Burns, 44, from London, who co-runs the Jedi News fan website, said he was particularly impressed with the Lego toys and a remote-controlled BB8 droid.

Explaining his life-long addiction to all things Star Wars he said: "The minute I saw that big ship fly over my head I jumped on and I've never got off.

"I was six years old, my aunt took me to a cinema in Southend - I remember it vividly - and the whole thing just changed my life.

"Star Wars is the classic story of good versus evil, with good overcoming evil.

"I think that's the way a lot of us want to live our lives, we're always trying to be good to each other and try to see the best we can in everybody.

"The community of Star Wars fans all over the world takes that on board.

"I can go anywhere in the world now and find a bunch of like-minded Star Wars fans and strike up a conversation as if I've known them all my life."

Star Wars: The Force Awakens sees original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew return as Hans Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca 

The film will be released in the UK on December 18.