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Here's what happened at the AJC/Cox Radio-hosted 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' early screening

Dressed for the part - with costumes ranging from Jedis to Han Solo - and giddy as larks,  movie goers attending Monday night Cox Media Group-sponsored advance screening of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" nearly packed the theater at Regal Atlantic Station Studio 16.

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The screening, hosted by 97.1 The River, Kiss 104.1 and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, drew nearly 350 attendees curious to witness Han Solo's journey before he ever owns the Millennium Falcon or meets Luke Skywalker. There was a healthy mixture of laughs, cheers and clapping throughout the adrenaline-fueled 2 hours and 23 minutes of 'Solo,' which officially opens Friday.

In addition to the early viewing of the film, those in attendance got to participate in "Star Wars" trivia, hosted by 97.1 morning host Steve Craig. Giveaways and a photo booth were also a part of the night's festivities.

The excitement leading up to the viewing, with fans waiting in line for more than three hours, compared to the advanced screening CMG Radio and the AJC hosted for "Black Panther" back in February, said Ryan Campbell, remote coordinator for 97.1 The River.

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"There were kids dressed up , and I saw at least three guys dressed as Solo," Campbell said. "This is the type of screening that gets people excited."

That was certainly the case for Greg Mize. The Marietta dad and longtime fan of the movie series brought his three sons to the exclusive viewing.

"It's exciting to see what was going on on the other side of Skywalker," Mize said. "It will be cool to see what Donald Glover brings to the saga, because he's such a premiere entertainer, writer and actor

Jackson Green, a Douglasville 11-year-old, said he enjoyed seeing "Solo: A Star Wars Story," though the plot was a little confusing.

"I haven't seen a lot of the new ones. I know the older ones more," he said.

Nikki Barren of Atlanta also said her feelings were about the latest "Star Wars" installment.

"I always like 'Star Wars' movies, and this one was pretty good," she said. "I wouldn't say it was better than the last one."

Some critics have also has a lukewarm response to the saga. Washington Post critic Anne Hornaday noted that the movie, “gets the job done with little fuss, but also with precious little finesse."

Erin Hennessy, an admitted "Star Wars" novice, said she was pleasantly surprised by the film.

"I really just came for my boyfriend, but I felt like it was a good story even if you haven't seen the others."

To find out when and where to catch "Solo: A Star Wars Story" when it premieres Friday, visit our Access Atlanta movies and showtimes page.

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