While most still have to wait until Friday for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to hit theaters, celebrity fans of the franchise stormed the Los Angeles premiere for the first look at the highly anticipated standalone movie set in a galaxy far, far away.
Cast members hit the red carpet, fully aware that they were now part of perhaps the biggest franchise in film history.
“It has been both surreal and wonderful, to be able to kind of join this family,” Riz Ahmed, who plays Bodhi Rook, tells PEOPLE. “When I say that, I don’t just mean people who have acted in the Star Wars movies or filmmakers – I mean that fans. They really kept this alive in between films. They’ve kept it vibrant, and they’ve always kept this franchise in check, and it’s for them that I think we’re making this film.”
Like many other members of the cast, Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso) is a longtime fan who was trying to focus on his work. Despite his best efforts, there were dreamlike moments that took him back to his childhood.
“We were all wearing that fanboy hat. We had to throw it away. There’s no way you can work with that hat on,” he says. “But there were moments where we went like, this is surreal. Is this happening? Is that a Stormtrooper? Can I touch him? It is surreal.”
Celebrity fans were also out in full force. For many, it was a family affair. Michael Douglas attended with his children Dylan and Carys, just one day after celebrating dad Kirk Douglas’ 100th birthday. Ricky Martin and Christian Bale also brought their kids along to pass on the Star Wars obsession onto the next generation. Director Kevin Smith’s date for the night was his daughter Harley Quinn, who rocked Princess Leia buns.
Others — including Chris Hardwick, Aisha Tyler and Backstreet Boys Kevin Richardson and AJ McLean — were simply kids-at-heart for the night.