LOS ANGELES, Dec 16 (Reuters) - - "Star Wars" heroes and villains battled it out in a costume contest outside Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theater as they awaited the opening of the sci-fi saga's latest offering "Rogue One."
The first stand-alone film in the franchise reboot since Disney bought filmmaker "Star Wars" creator George Lucas' Lucasfilm Ltd for $4 billion in 2012, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" introduces a new set of characters, led by heroine Jyn Erso, played by British actress Felicity Jones.
The movie is set before Lucas' 1977 "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" and follows a band of rebels as they plan to steal the plans for destruction weapon, the Death Star.
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The spin-off has divided critics, but it is seen making more than $300 million at the global box office this weekend as it opens worldwide.
Ahead of the screening, fans dressed up on Thursday night as "Star Wars" jedis, Darth Vader and Jyn Erso for a costume contest. Even a George Lucas look-alike took part, but the top prize went to Dawn Bright who dressed up as Queen Amidala.
"It took me 55 hours worth of research and 55 hours to sew it," Bright, wearing a long black and gold dress and cloak, feathered headpiece and a full face of white makeup, said.
"Rogue One" arrives in cinemas a year after box office hit "The Force Awakens," which kicked off the franchise's latest trilogy.
"Star Wars is more than just a hobby," fan Christy Anani said. "It's the people you hang out with, it's the movies you watch, it's the clothes you buy. It's so much more than just the film franchise."
(Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Alison Williams)