The Force is strong for York 'Star Wars' fans


As a figure rappels in a shaft of light into the dark, vast interior of a starship, a woman asks, "Who are you?"

The music builds and men, women and robots are shown in varied landscapes. A man stands on a cliff and looks out at an expanse of desert while a voice intones, "I've got nothing to fight for."

A light saber gleams in the rain, starships fly through the night, fighting happens on land and in space.

"The Force: It's calling to you," the woman says finally. "Just let it in."

The trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which aired during this week's Monday Night Football game on ESPN, called to many fans worldwide, and tickets for the movie, which opens Thursday, Dec. 17, went on sale Monday night.

Fans in York are no exception.

"We've been pre-selling a lot for it," Stewart Knisley, booth manager at Regal Cinemas 13 in West Manchester Township, said Wednesday.

Knisley said the theater has nine showings scheduled at various times on opening day. Three hundred tickets for that Thursday have been sold so far, and the first few shows are close to filling up.

What if Regal sells out for opening night?

"We'll add more," Knisley said.

Viewers have the option of watching the movie in 3-D or regular format, he said.

Frank Theatres Queensgate Stadium 13, in York Township, lists two Imax showings as well as regular showings on Dec. 17. The earliest Imax showing, at 7:30 p.m., is sold out.

Fans: "I tried to get (tickets) right as they went on sale, but the movie sites were all crashed," said Brian Waltersdorff, who owns Comic Store West in Springettsbury Township.

Waltersdorff said he wants to see the movie with friends on opening night and then again the following day with his daughters.

His elder daughter, 21, grew up watching the "Star Wars" prequels as they came out, Waltersdorff said. She's a big fan. His other daughter, six years younger, not so much.

Waltersdorff said he saw the first "Star Wars" movie in 1977, when it came out. He was 7 years old.

He's been a fan ever since, he said.

"It's just one of those movies — when you're 7 and you're a kid, it has everything in it that you like," he said.

Waltersdorff said his favorite character is Boba Fett, who, according to Wookieepedia (, is a Mandalorian warrior, bounty hunter and "the only unaltered clone of the famed Jango Fett."

"He doesn't talk much, but you know he's tough, and you don't want to mess with him," Waltersdorff said of Boba Fett.

Chris Coulson, who owns IT company Coulson Technologies and works with virtual reality, is also a longtime fan of the series.

"It's the storyline, the plot. ... It shows that we're not alone in this universe," he said. "It made people think, hey, maybe we should look at the big picture."

Innovation: Coulson appreciates the way that "Star Wars" and other pieces of science fiction get people to look to the future, even driving innovation and inspiring new technologies.

"There's a lot of stuff in 'Star Wars' that's actually come true," he said.

It's not quite a force field, but MIT has created a deflection field that the military now uses, he said.

Coulson was excited to discover an interactive "Star Wars" video online that allows viewers to become immersed in virtual reality: a spacecraft skimming across the desert. By clicking and dragging with the mouse, viewers can get a 360-degree view of the scene through which the craft is moving.

Coulson said that he and his wife, who are both big fans and have attended a "Star Wars" convention together, will go to a late showing on opening night.

Will he go in costume?

"I think I have a Darth Vader outfit somewhere," he said.

— Reach Julia Scheib at