WaitingInLineby Shawn “Obi-Shawn” Crosby

You’ve likely heard about –or maybe even participated in- the historic line-ups in Hollywood, California that made it “ground zero” for the opening of the Star Wars films. 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi created camps at the forecourt of world-famous Egyptian Theatre, and the 1999, 2002, and 2005 prequels saw fans gathered on Hollywood Boulevard for up to six weeks in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre preparing for the latest film in the saga –though fans of Revenge of the Sith had to march to the Cinerama Dome when the film didn’t actually screen at the Chinese.

A lot has changed over the 10 years since the last film’s release, most notably the nature of the internet, which allows us to buy event tickets from the comfort of our desktops without the need for pesky socialization. All we need do now is show up at the right time, smartphones in hands, to gain admittance to the biggest blockbusters of the season. But that negates the community that forms around these events, the friends that are made, and the shared experiences that makes fandom so great.

Therefore, in defiance of technology and in the interest of charity and camaraderie, there will be a Hollywood line anyway… and you’re welcome to join the cause as “The Line Awakens”, and experience the 35-year-old tradition for yourself.

On the eve of Episode VII, you have a chance to participate in the stuff of legend as, from December 1st to the debut of the film on December 18th, exuberant fans of LiningUp.net mount a fundraising tribute to their prequel lines of the past. Starlight’s “GIVEactually” campaign will again be the recipient of their philanthropy as they “man the line” awaiting The Force Awakens and try to beat their previous donation of $30,000.

But this time there’s a twist — in an unprecedented coincidence, Episode VII is screening across the street from itself on opening day. Grauman’s Chinese, which screened Episodes IV, I, and II will show the new film in Imax Laser 3D Projection. Half a block to the Southeast on Hollywood Blvd., Disney’s El Capitan showplace theater will screen the first film in their newly-acquired franchise in Dolby Atmos and Real3D. Each theater has special events planned for the weeks leading to the film.

If you are up to the challenge and want to line up or even camp with the line, the organizers at LiningUp.net welcome you and can even use your input on the choice. Should the line camp at Disney’s own El Capitan Theatre, preferred theater of Lucasfilm and the new owners of Star Wars? Or in front of the Chinese Theatre, historic site of the last three prequel lineups? Both theaters have generously welcomed fans’ return, and are making extreme arrangements to accommodate them.

If you’re brave enough to join LiningUp.net waiting, camping, and helping the Starlight Foundation, you can do the following:

  • Join the “LiningUp for Episode VII Hollywood” Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/LineUp4StarWars
  • Read up on the line and camping options in my theater comparison.
  • Then take a short LineUp survey.

While you can sign up for the line until the film debuts in December, if you want affect the theater choice, you’ll need to vote by Monday, Oct. 12th by 5PM PST.

Always an adventure, the lines have been a place to meet fans new and old, share a common experience and bond over the Star Wars films as those waiting get the first opportunity to see the film. In addition to creating some fannish war stories, you’ll be helping a great philanthropic cause. As Obi-Wan encourages Luke, you’ll “have just taken your first step into a larger world” of fandom.