Fans flock to ‘Last Jedi’ in Southgate

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Southgate — On Thursday, James Piche and Ryan Piche crowded into the MJR Southgate theater with other fans and prepared for the war between good and bad in the latest “Star Wars” epic, “The Last Jedi.”

“... This has always been a big part of our lives growing up and now,” said James Piche.

Like other true fans of “Star Wars,” the brothers, both of Dearborn, bought their tickets — eight — as soon as they were on sale in October and grabbed six people to watch the public debut of the movie.

Local box offices like the MJR in Southgate and Westland sold out their 7 p.m. shows with online sales, according to representatives at each theater.

Fans said they were eager to see director Rian Johnson’s vision of the struggle between opposing forces of the “Star Wars” universe.

“The best movie has to be the “Force Awakens,” because it brought back the series in a way the prequels didn’t and really set the bar for these new movies, so I’m excited to see what happens,” said Jeremy Limbach, 32. The Lincoln Park resident dressed in Jedi robes for the event.

Ryan Piche favored “The Empire Strikes Back,” the second installment in the “Star Wars” franchise, but he was willing to weigh this new, eighth film with against the 1980 movie.

“My favorite is the “Empire Strikes Back” because of the classic scene when Darth reveals he’s Luke's father,” said Piche. “We’ve heard rumors this could beat it, but we’ll see. If it’s terrible, I’ll be disappointed because the “Force Awakens” set the bar pretty high.”

Others like Hillary Laduke and Steve Laduke of Southgate made sure to steer clear of the movie trailers because they wanted to wait for the debut.

“We got our tickets two days ago when we heard there would be a lot of spoilers coming out on social media by our friends, and we didn’t want that,” said Steve Laduke, 30. “We didn’t look at anything and didn’t even watch the trailers. We want to be completely surprised.”

The original movie, “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” hit screens in 1977.

Brian Ditzek and Daniel Barrera, originally from Dearborn who now live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, come back each year for the holidays and to see new “Star Wars” movies.

Like Limbach, Ditzek came dressed as a Jedi and carried a plush porg, a small avian on Luke Skywalker’s island.

“Were huge fans, obviously,” said Ditzek, 32. “We bought these tickets as soon as they were available and dragged our two new wives to join the tradition with us. “Episode III” is my favorite because at the time, we all thought it would be the last. I think this might be my new favorite.”