The end of 2016 closed with a tearful goodbye to one of Star Wars' most beloved actresses, Carrie Fisher, but, from the looks of it, 2017 may end on a much higher note. Critics warmly received the latest installment of the Star Wars "The Last Jedi" following its world premiere in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Writer and director of the franchise's eighth installment dedicated the night to Fisher, who died after filming had completed.
"She's up there flipping the bird and saying, 'Don't bring this night down with solemn tributes,'" Johnson said on stage at the Shrine Auditorium.
Formal reviews won't be out for a few more days, but journalists and others who attended the screening shared their initial reactions online, saying the movie is action-packed, but charters into new territory. Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican said the film "will shatter you and then make you feel whole again."
"The Last Jedi" was also praised from within the industry itself. Director of "The Fore Awakens," J.J. Abrams, said the latest movie was "great" and that "Rian killed it." "Logan" director James Mangold echoed similar sentiments, calling the movie "a great chapter of a blockbuster franchise," that also had Johnson's "voice shining through."
The eighth installment will hit theaters on December 15 and is anticipated to be one of the year's biggest releases. Early box office projections expect the film to debut in teh $200 million range for its first weekend.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.