The global phenomenon that has swept the galaxy has thrust Preston’s own Star Wars legend back into limelight.
Episode VII: The Force Awakens has captivated audiences worldwide and wowed critics, as one star of the franchise, Kenny Baker, found himself star among the stars once again.
Kenny, who lives in Ashton, reprised his role as the lovable droid R2-D2 which saw him rubbing shoulders with Hollywood icons Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.
Industry insiders say when new film took to the cinema screen for the first time yesterday, Kenny was one of only two actors to have appeared in all seven Star Wars films.
And apart from the length of the film, Kenny, 81, said he “loved” the movie which has been well received globally.
He said: “I thought the film was fantastic but it was a bit too long. That was the first time I’ve seen the whole thing and I really liked it, it was a really good piece of cinema. I came back from London last night which I enjoyed too. We went to the premiere, did the whole red carpet thing then watched the film. Then we went to a party afterwards with all the cast which I enjoyed and then I came back. There wasn’t much gossip, I’m afraid.”
Kenny modestly played down his role in the film despite being one of the most iconic characters of the Star Wars franchise.
He said: “I really didn’t do much in the film but I did really enjoy being part of it and I’m pleased it turned out so well.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set 30 years after the events of 1983’s Return Of The Jedi.
Directed by JJ Abrams, the film sees Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew back in their old roles. This is the first Star Wars film under the ownership of Walt Disney with global takings expected to exceed $1.2 billion from international markets according investment company Goldman Sachs.