Don't call them Star Wars fans, call them a Star Wars family.
Carrying light sabers, foldable chairs, tents and endless amounts of snacks, over one hundred people began lining up as early as 12 p.m. on Saturday for "Star Wars: The Line Awakens," a tradition through LiningUp.net.
The 12-day event entails standing, sitting and hanging out in line ahead of the film's opening night at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. LiningUp also teamed up with Starlight Children's Foundation to raise money for the charity that helps ill children and teenagers.
Participants don't have to stay the whole time. The organization's rules allow participants to log their hours. After clocking a cumulative 24 hours in line, they earn a pair of tickets to purchase for the opening show of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Some attendees came from far far away, with accents hailing from England and Australia. Others, who call Los Angeles home, just walked a few blocks or drove across town to the famous Hollywood theater. Many dressed up in their favorite Star Wars attire, ranging from Storm Trooper garb to Luke Skywalker's pilot uniform. Almost everyone said they came for the community experience.
It's been a tradition since 1999, when, devoted fans first stood outside of Hollywood's Chinese Theatre for weeks waiting for the next installment of the films.
My father brought me to Star Wars when I was five years old in 1977 in Maine," Nathan Clukey, who was in a three-way tie for first place in line, told Mashable. "It means a lot to me, the whole Star Wars experience. So, for Episode I, I came here to line up from Oregon. I lined up with all these guys, we became friends and became close and so we came back for Episode II and Episode III. Now we're here for Episode 7. It's our fourth time,it's like a family reunion, we just hang out together, talk, play games and nerd out sometimes.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 131 people — ranging from age 5 to 55— had signed up to partake in the fan-filled event.It got so busy that LiningUp's website temporarily shut down. Organizers set up a hotline to answer any questions fans might have.
Media also flocked to the event, with several journalists taking turns interviewing the fans decked out in their themed garb.
"This theater changed my life in 2002," Caroline Ritter, of Australia, told Mashable. "I am a veteran of Lining Up for Star Wars 2002 and 2005...the family and friendships we've made, that's why I keep coming back."
Ritter's experience is extra memorable this year as she and her fiancé Andrew Porters are holding a Star Wars-themed wedding outside the theater next Thursday, just before the film debuts.
"TCL has been fantastic to let us do this," she said. "This is a dream come true."
The theater has a long history with the franchise: It was the venue for the 1977 launch of George Lucas' Star Wars.
"Every time we've had a new Star Wars movie, we've had this huge group of fans," Levi Tinker, director of tours at the theater, told Mashable. "The fanbase seems to be oriented toward camaraderie. And Star Wars is a prominent part of our theater's history."
Though the fan culture has remained strong over the years, the actual LiningUp event has certainly evolved with time.
Emily Christiansen, one of the organizers from LiningUp.net, said now fans already have assigned seats so the order in line doesn't matter as much. Organizers are also utilizing the Periscope App to provide live feeds of the event to fans across the globe.
This year's event is also just 12 days. Previous LiningUp events have lasted up to six weeks.
"But that was when the films premiered in May," Christiansen told Mashable. "In December the weather is obviously colder and the holidays are coming up."
As the sun set over the Hollywood hills, participants prepared for a larger crowd to join them after work hours. At around midnight, they will set up their tents for the night and security will put up a barricade so passersby can't disturb them in the middle of the night.
And for the first time since the tradition began, TCL is allowing the group to camp out on the theater's historic courtyard, appropriately just a few feet away from R2-D2, C3PO and Darth Vader's hand and footprints in the cement.