AUBURN — There are more than 1,000 pages in the book “Stars Without Numbers.” By the supper hour Thursday, Matt Lalemand had read well over half of them.

“It’s really helped me pass the time,” Lalemand said.

A guy has plenty of time to read, you know, when he shows up nine hours early for a movie.

Laleman, 33, was the first in line Thursday for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” He was first by far, in fact.

“I got here at 10 this morning,” the Auburn man said. “I’ve been first in line the last three years.”

As the sun set on Flagship Cinemas late Thursday afternoon, Lalemand wasn’t just first, he was the only one in line waiting for the latest “Star Wars” movie. By 4:30 p.m., he’d been there, all alone with his book, for more than six hours.

“I haven’t eaten anything all day,” Lalemand said. “I filled up on cereal before I left my apartment. Hopefully, that will hold me.”

Have we mentioned that he was wearing a Princess Leia wig? He was — a wig that elegantly matched his fly-away beard.

“I ordered it on Amazon the other day,” Laleman said. “It’s about all my budget would allow.”

Shortly before 5 p.m., Lalemand finally got some company when Louise Ann Ellis rolled in to take a spot behind him.

“I’m a ‘Star Wars’ geek, absolutely,” Ellis said. “From way back.”

After Ellis came a man in a football jersey. After him, a couple and then a family from Mechanic Falls.

“For a while, I was the token geek girl,” Ellis said. “We have a few more now, so I feel better.”

Holding the No. 3 spot was 29-year-old Jason Powell, a man who said he was brought up in the “Star Wars” culture along with his father and brothers. He showed up at Flagship a couple of hours before showtime, not knowing where he’d end up in the line.

“Last year I showed up two hours early,” Powell said, “and I was still 30th.”

“The Last Jedi” stars Mark Hamel and Carrie Fisher, two of the most iconic actors from the original “Star Wars,” which swooped upon the movie-going public at warp speed in 1977. For those waiting in line Thursday night, there were questions that needed answering.

“Who are Rey’s parents?” 38-year-old Julie Gross was itching to know. “They never said in ‘The Force Awakens.'”

Gross, of Auburn, said she has been a “Star Wars” fan since she was a kid. She heard that there were tickets available for “The Last Jedi” while standing in line at Hannaford last week. After hearing this grand news, she immediately went out and got a ticket.

“I just had to do it,” Gross said.

And along with questions came predictions. Don Frost, a Mechanic Falls man who brought his family to the cinema two hours ahead of showtime, was one of the few people in line bold enough to make a prognostication.

“Luke does not fall to the dark side,” he said. “That’s my prediction.”

If the others had ideas about how the plot would play out, they kept those ideas to themselves. They simply predicted that they would thoroughly enjoy the movie that drew them out hours in advance.

“I like this new series a lot,” Ellis said. “I’m confident this one will be as good as the others.”

“It should be just as good as the other ones,” said Lalemand, still holding the front of the line with his elaborate hair buns in place. “I haven’t been disappointed yet.”

Matt Lalemand of Auburn, wearing a Princess Leia wig, got in line at 10 a.m. for the 7 p.m. sold-out showing of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at Flagship Cinemas in Auburn on Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Linda Frost, center, of Mechanic Falls and her daughters, Whitney, left, and Hallie, wait for the sold-out showing of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at Flagship Cinemas in Auburn on Thursday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” is ninth in the Star Wars series. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)


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