The first social media reactions to Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi are now online, following the film’s world premiere in Los Angeles, CA. The highly-anticipated sequel continues the story previously established in J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and takes the long-running franchise in new, ambitious directions, while also laying the groundwork for Abrams to return for Star Wars: Episode IX – the concluding chapter in Lucasfilm’s Star Wars sequel trilogy.

Although not much is truly known about the highly-anticipated sequel at this stage, The Last Jedi has been decidedly different from the get-go, with Lucasfilm focusing on potential tantalizing twists. Of course, those details are being kept under wraps until the film hits theaters next Friday. What is known, however, is that The Last Jedi forgoes a time jump and takes place mere moments after the events of The Force Awakens, with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) finally uttering his first words on-screen since 1983’s Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.

Related: When Does The Last Jedi Review Embargo Lift?

Lucasfilm premiered Star Wars: The Last Jedi in Los Angeles tonight, and the first wave of social media reactions have now flooded online. So far, critics are saying Johnson delivers an emotional, jaw-dropping sequel that lives up to the hype. We’ve compiled some of the SPOILER-FREE reactions below. Take a look:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi clocks in at 2 hours 31 minutes, thus making it the longest Star Wars movie ever released. In fact, an early cut of The Last Jedi was over 3 hours long, but trimming assembly cuts down is standard operating procedure for blockbuster movie directors – and Johnson wanted the sharpest movie he could make. Sadly, Carrie Fisher’s passing in 2016 means The Last Jedi will be her last Star Wars movie, which meant Johnson had to get creative with the film’s editing to conclude Princess Leia’s (now General Leia) story arc.

Lucasfilm’s confidence in The Last Jedi goes above and beyond typical releases, as they’ve now handed the reins of an entirely new Star Wars trilogy to Johnson to play around with, creating the first set of Star Wars films unconnected to the overarching Skywalker saga. No one has had that much creative freedom with what is considered the world’s biggest media brand since George Lucas himself. So, Johnson hopes that critics and audiences alike enjoy this film so that he can move forward with his new trilogy relatively stress-free.

More: Every Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer & Clip

Source: Various (see links)

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