Star Wars fans – many outfitted in their favorite characters’ costume and garb – were in countdown mode as they waited outside Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre on Thursday night (December 15) for the opening of “Rogue One.”

The highly anticipated and latest entry in the “Star Wars” franchise has divided film critics but is expected to bring in more than 300 million at the global box office this weekend.

For the hardcore fans, including some who camped out overnight to secure their place at the iconic theater, there is no doubt about the excitement surrounding its release.

“This is going to be absolutely amazing,” said Matan Goldstein, who was decked out in a Star Wars fighter outfit. “It is something that is going to really bring back my childhood as well as just having fun. It is something new and exciting. I’m ready.”

Among the events taking place prior to the screening included a Star Wars costume contest.

And while the cast of characters taking part included your Darth Vaders, Jedi Warriors and even a George Lucas look-a-like, it was Queen Amidala who took home the top prize.

“I made the entire gown from scratch and made the material even,” said a breathless Dawn Bright, after hearing her named called for having the best costume. “It took me 55 hours worth of research and 55 hours to sew it and it takes 2 to 3 hours just to maintain it, from all the white stuff on my face, the small little tears that happen in the gown. But, I have to tell you I have 22 screen accurate Star Wars costumes that I made from scratch. I have 5 here at the Chinese Theatre for the next couple of nights. I’m just so excited.”

“Rogue One” arrives in theaters a year after the main cast of the original 1977 film reunited for “The Force Awakens,” which went on to take more than 2 billion at the box office.

Box office analysts expect “Rogue One,” which started its worldwide rollout on Wednesday, to do smaller business overall but to gross a bumper 300-350 million on its opening weekend.

“Rogue One” stars Felicity Jones at the head of a brand new cast and follows a group of rebels who band together to fight the evil Darth Vader’s plans for intergalactic domination. It is a standalone prequel to the 1977 film “A New Hope.”