Unmask you shall, London's O2 arena tells Star Wars fans

Security guards searching fans dressed as Stormtroopers at an unofficial Star Wars convention in Manchester on Dec 4.
Security guards searching fans dressed as Stormtroopers at an unofficial Star Wars convention in Manchester on Dec 4. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - One of Britain's biggest cinemas warned Thursday it will use the force of security laws to reveal the true identities of Stormtroopers, Ewoks and Darth Vaders hoping to catch the eagerly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The latest film in the blockbuster sci-fi saga - the first in a decade - opens across Britain on December 17, with fans already snapping up tickets and planning their costumes.

However, the cinema at London's O2 arena complex warned that fancy-dressers would be unmasked on entry and their weapons could be confiscated, although lightsabers were not explicitly prohibited.

"Due to security standards at the O2, customers arriving in costume will be required to remove any face covering for identification purposes," said a message on the website of cinema operator Cineworld.

"Additionally, replica firearms are discouraged and may be confiscated by security services."

The Force Awakens - Episode VII in the saga - takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi and features veteran cast members Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.

Advance ticket sales already smashed records two months before the release and analysts expect merchandise sales to reach up to US$5 billion (S$7.02 billion) this year.

Formerly the Millennium Dome built to usher in the year 2000, the 02 is a large entertainment complex on the Greenwich peninsula in southeast London. Its cinema complex has 11 screens, with capacity for 770 people in the biggest auditorium.