‘Sith’ raises money for good causes

/ Source: The Associated Press

In the original 1977 film “Star Wars,” a brash young farm boy named Luke Skywalker parts with his prized speeder to pay for a ride on a spaceship named the Millennium Falcon. Almost three decades later, die-hard fans are parting with $500 to attend a premiere of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith.”

Given the high ticket costs at the premieres Thursday in San Francisco and nine other cities — the proceeds go to charity — crowds will likely include well-heeled moviegoers as well as those who pawned vintage action figures to score a ticket. The film opens to the public at midnight showings May 19.

“Revenge of the Sith”— the last installment the “Star Wars” series — chronicles Anakin Skywalker’s transformation from hero to villain Darth Vader. The film may be the darkest chapter in the “Star Wars” story, featuring more violence and a story line showing how a democratic government turns into a despotic regime.

“I’d say they (premiere ticket holders) are in for the best movie since the first,” said Terry McGovern of San Anselmo, Calif., who voiced a stormtrooper in the original “Star Wars.”

McGovern saw the film in a private screening for George Lucas’ friends and family.

Lucas was expected at the San Francisco premiere. Jake Lloyd, who played the young Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” also was supposed to attend.

Guests were set to watch a digital version of the film and attend an after-party where they could swat a pinata shaped like the Death Star and munch on “Wookie cookies.”

Samuel Jackson, who plays Jedi Master Mace Windu, was slated to attend a Los Angeles red-carpet premiere along with Mark Hamill and Billy Dee Williams, who starred in the original trilogy.

Carrie Fisher — Princess Leia in the original trilogy — was set to go to the Washington, D.C., premiere. And in Miami, premiere organizers planned to re-create the cantina scene from the original “Star Wars.”

Lucas has used previous premieres to raise money for charitable causes. Money raised at the San Francisco event will go to the Koret Family House, a group providing housing for seriously ill children seeking treatment away from home.