One Star Wars fan already camped out in front of Uptown Theater in D.C.

WASHINGTON — Not far from the front door of the Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park, sits a man who is camping out for nearly an entire week ahead of the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Star Wars camp-out in front of the Uptown Saturday. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)
Star Wars camp-out in front of the Uptown Saturday. (WTOP/Dennis Foley)

“I’m just waiting in line to get into the movie theater for Star Wars next Thursday,” David Casterline told WTOP nonchalantly, while sitting in a wooden chair along Connecticut Avenue Northwest.

The camp is like an outdoor living room, all set up for whatever weather comes his way. The Uptown is playing an early release of the much anticipated film Thursday night.

“I got two wooden chairs and a recliner that I got for free on Craigslist the other day,” he said. “I’ve got a full, body-length beach chair I’m going to sleep on, a tarp in case it rains, food and a tarp in case it rains.”

This setup is partially surrounded by a metal barrier, put up by the theater in anticipation of Casterline’s arrival.

Joining him on this unseasonably warm December afternoon is his girlfriend, Sarah Weimar.

“I love him,” Weimar said, relaxing in the recliner.  “I am here to support because he loves Star Wars.  And me, too.”

She said she likes his outdoor setup and said there was just the right amount of stuff. All of his bases were covered, she said.

“I actually would like a table.  A little table would be fun,” Weimar said. “He and I have joked that we should set up a table with flowers and have a little date or something and tell people we just met or it’s a first date.”

But to make arrangements like these to camp outside a movie theater for a nearly a week takes some serious planning.

“If I could have, I would have been here even earlier,” Casterline said.  And no, he doesn’t have a lot of free time on his hands to just willingly wait outside a movie theater for days.  “I moved around my schedule a little bit, took days off from work, and someone’s going to sit in my spot for a day.”

Casterline already has his tickets for the showing, so he’s not waiting for that.

“Just to be the first one in.  Get in the door first.”

And the Fairfax resident could have chosen any theater to camp out at, but he chose the Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park for a special reason.

“This theater has some history. The original movie played here in ’77 and there is not a lot of theaters like that left so it’s a little more of a deal coming here.”

Cars whizzed by on Connecticut Avenue, and people walked right by the temporary set to patronize the local businesses or to walk their dog.  Some may said Casterline was a bit too early to be in line or that they thought he  maybe a little crazy.

“All day yesterday was just questions and people taking my photo and people asking if they can park here,” Casterline said. “Just all sorts of crazy stuff.”

But his girlfriend doesn’t think this was crazy or odd.

“That’s a matter of opinion,” said Weimar. “My opinion would be that it’s passionate and different and weird is cool.”

Even police officers who probably could have told Casterline he needed to move his camp have shown support.

“Every officer has been rooting us on, cheering us on saying ‘Good job, guys!'” said Casterline.

This isn’t the first time Casterline has waited outside a theater for the opening of a Star Wars film.  He camped out for the last release about a decade ago when he was in high school.  He’s hoping to see more Star Wars fans soon.

“I’m thinking Monday will be the next person to come on line,” he predicted.  “It’ll be pretty full come Wednesday and Thursday.  If you’re a fan, come out, hang out with us, exercise your passion for Star Wars.”

And they are okay with getting weird looks from passersby.

“We’re not as weird as we look, I guess,” Weimar said.  “Or maybe we are.  I don’t know.”

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s not a bad time to be outdoors.

“I got some coffee from the coffee shop,” said Weimar, smiling.  “I’m sitting in a recliner. It’s beautiful weather.  It’s a nice way to spend a Saturday.”

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