The force is with Star Wars geeks at Israeli theaters

Asked whether he was feeling loss over the fact that this would be the last Star Wars movie, Balofsky said confidently, “It won’t be. It won’t be.”

Children enjoying Star Wars at Cinema City Jerusalem  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Children enjoying Star Wars at Cinema City Jerusalem
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Throughout the country, Star Wars geeks were out in force Wednesday night to see the first showing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, what is billed as the last movie of the famed cinematic franchise.
At Cinema City in Jerusalem, Star Wars T-shirts were popular with the crowd picking up their tickets at the box office, and children battled each other with lightsabers around the lobby and posed for pictures by the statues of evil Stormtroopers that have been a fixture in the lobby since the theater opened. One camera-shy Orthodox woman said she wasn’t feeling well but had come anyway, her hair covered with a scarf decorated with the Star Wars logo.
The most visible fans were a large group of young students, teachers, parents and grandparents from the Jerusalem HackerCamp – a tech-oriented program for children – who bought 90 tickets to the first show. Shaiel Yitzchak, the head of the camp, said they had not just bought the tickets but that they had selected seats in the shape of Yoda’s head.
Asked whether his students were excited to see the film, Yitzchak said, “Not much, it’s no big deal,” adding that he was joking and that they were extremely eager to see the film. He said this is the first time they had gone to the movies as a group since the release of the last Star Wars film.
Martin Rhodes, who had brought his grandchildren to see the film along with the HackerCamp group, said that although his grandchildren were not born when George Lucas’s first Star Wars movie was released, they were looking forward to seeing it. “They were listening to the [Star Wars] music all the way here,” he said. “And they can make the noises,” he added, encouraging his grandson to make a sound like a lightsaber.
Ron Balofsky, who arrived with his wife, Shoshana, and their children, was the one person in his family who came in costume, wearing a black cape and a Darth Vader mask. “We’re the Star Wars family,” he said.
"It’s more than a movie,” said one soft-spoken young man, a student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who preferred not to give his name and who had come with his best friend. His father had introduced him to the movies when he was a kid and he had seen all of them, “more times than I can count.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will pick up where the last film left off, with the further adventures of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and many others.
It will also mark the final film appearance of Carrie Fisher, who died in late 2016, years before the movie was filmed. But director J.J. Abrams was able to create a performance for her here using footage that was shot for Star Wars: Episode VI– The Force Awakens.
The film, which opens throughout Israel today, is showing in several theaters at the two multiplex chains in Jerusalem, Cinema City and Yes Planet. Tickets went on sale in October and at Cinema City, there were just a few seats left on the site.
Asked whether he was feeling loss over the fact that this would be the last Star Wars movie, Balofsky said confidently, “It won’t be. It won’t be.”