Wookiees, Jedi and Stormtroopers took the region by storm last night as The Force Awakens finally hit the big screen.
And for one woman, who was lucky enough to get tickets for one of the first showings at Cineworld in Boldon, it was well worth the wait.
Brogan Wilson, 20, attended the screening dressed as Rey, one of the new characters played by fresh-faced Daisy Ridley, and has said that the film was "the best one yet".
She continued: "It was fantastic. It was a great atmosphere - I have never seen anything like it.
"It was one of the best nights I have ever had."
Few details have been released about the mysterious Rey, a new addition to the Star Wars character list along with Finn, played by John Boyega.
She has been described as a "resilient survivor" and a "scavenger" who has been living in the harsh desert world of Jakku.
Brogan, who lives in South Shields and is studying business admin, has been a fan of the franchise for 10 years when the trailer for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith caught her eye.
"It was mostly to do with Anakin Skywalker," she admitted.
Earlier this year, 3,000 people watched Brogan as a finalist in a cosplayers competition held at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. She was dressed as Padmé Amidala, played in the prequel films by Natalie Portman.
Cosplaying takes Brogan all over the country, she said, and she has been lucky enough to meet most of the Star Wars cast including Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, and Carrie Fisher, who plays Princess Leia.
Speaking of the new film, she said: "I could not be more happy with it.
"Everyone was up for it and I loved every minute - it's definitely worth the wait. Everyone is going to love it."
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is out now. The story follows on from the end of Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983.