London - People queued up overnight for open auditions in the English city of Bristol on Saturday as the search began for lead roles in the next Star Wars film.
Disney announced last week they were looking for actors to play a 17-year-old woman who is "street-smart" and "strong", and a "smart and capable" young man for roles in "Star Wars Episode VII".
The two-day auditions at the southwest city's Arnolfini arts centre are the first of a series of open sessions being held across Britain and Ireland over the coming weeks.
Doors at the Arnolfini were scheduled to open at 11:00, though some people arrived as early as 02:00 to secure a place in the queue.
Estimates for the size of the rain-sodden queue ranged from hundreds to thousands. It was so long that officials closed the line early, leaving many more disappointed.
The seventh film in the science-fiction saga and the first of a new trilogy is set to be directed by Star Trek film-maker JJ Abrams. The film is due to go into production in Britain next year with a planned release in December 2015.
According to Disney, the new trilogy will carry the story of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia beyond "Return of the Jedi", the sixth episode in the saga.
David Prowse, who played villain Darth Vader in the original trilogy, hailed from Bristol.
However, his West Country accent was overdubbed with the memorable, more menacing tones of US actor James Earl Jones.
Prowse has urged local hopefuls to disguise their Bristol twang.
"You can't go 'oo-aar my dear, here's my lightsaber'," he said.
Star Wars creator George Lucas launched production house Lucasfilm in 1971 and the first smash hit movie in the series was released in 1977.
Disney bought Lucasfilm a year ago for $4bn.
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