Director JJ Abrams said it is an "enormous relief" that fans are finally going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Abrams, who directed, wrote and co-produced the film, was talking on the red carpet at the European premiere of the movie in London's Leicester Square.
He told red carpet presenter Jim Chapman it was an "incredible honour to be here with this remarkable reception".
Actor Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as intrepid traveller and smugger Han Solo, said "it feels good" to play the character again.
When asked if he had a message for fans, he said: "I hope they enjoy the movie. I think it's a worthy effort. I'm very proud of it, thank you."
Newcomer Daisy Ridley, who plays Ren, shouted out to her fans on the red carpet, saying: "May the force be with all of you."
She said being at the premiere was "particularly special because I'm from London, it's good to be home".
A group of stormtroopers from the First Order opened the red carpet.
The first "stars" of the film to arrive were droids R2-D2 and C-3PO, who ambled down the red carpet taking in the scenery.
The newest droid in the Star Wars family, BB-8, got a cheer from fans as it rolled down the red carpet.
BB-8 is one of the highlights of the new movie and is sure to gain a legion of fans.
Actor Warwick Davis, who starred in a few of the earlier Star Wars films and the latest one, could not resist posing for a selfie with BB-8 on the red carpet.
Actor Peter Mayhew, who plays Han Solo's sidekick, Chewbacca, said being at the premiere was "absolutely wonderful", adding: "We've had a great weekend, we were in Los Angeles last night and we're here in London tonight, what more could anybody ask for?"