NEWS
10/20/2015 15:18 EDT | Updated 10/20/2016 01:12 EDT

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' fans clamour for tickets, wonder where's Luke Skywalker

LOS ANGELES — Millions of fans cried out in joy after they saw the latest trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," but it also left more than a few wondering where Luke Skywalker has been during all the marketing.

Twitter said there were more than 17,000 tweets a minute when the trailer aired Monday night and over 1.1 million tweets since then.

Facebook reported that 1.3 million people had 2.1 million interactions related to "Star Wars" within the first hour of the trailer screening. Even Mark Zuckerberg commented on the official fan page, writing "this looks amazing. I love Star Wars."

It didn't take a Jedi to notice that Luke Skywalker was missing from the promo.

The ads have focused mainly on new characters such as Daisy Ridley's Rey and John Boyega's Finn. But the clips also have strategically teased out the return of original characters such as Harrison Ford's Han Solo and Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia.

Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker is nowhere to be seen — in full at least.

Fans have heard Luke's voice and seen what is presumed to be his gloved hand on R2-D2, but his conspicuous absence from the most recent trailer and the official poster had many Twitter users asking #whereisluke and wondering what that means for his character.

Director J.J. Abrams is somewhat notorious for keeping the plots to his films under wraps, and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has been no different.

The 2-minute, 35-second spot debuted during ESPN's "Monday Night Football" halftime and was made available online immediately after. Overnight ratings for the game show a definite viewing spike during halftime, suggesting that many tuned in solely for the trailer, not the Giants-Eagles game.

Tickets for the "The Force Awakens," out Dec. 18, went on sale earlier Monday, causing sites like Fandango and MovieTickets.com to experience intermittent crashes as a result of demand.

The initial fervour has dissipated, though, and sites seemed to be back up and running and getting fans their tickets. AMC theatres are also selling tickets for 39 "Star Wars" marathon events, where they will be showing all seven films on Dec. 17.

Sellouts have been reported for many of the Thursday night preview showings of the latest chapter. AMC alone sold out 1,000 shows in less than 12 hours but also noted that there are still nearly 4 million tickets available for opening weekend.

Ticketing sites tend to keep specifics about actual sales secret. MovieTickets.com did reveal, however, that "The Force Awakens" had accounted for a whopping 95 per cent of sales on the site in 24 hours.

Fandango experienced unprecedented demand for tickets as well. They've already sold eight times as many tickets as they had for their previous record holder, "The Hunger Games."

"Movie theatres are continually adding new show times on Fandango to meet the phenomenal demand," a Fandango company statement said.

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Online: www.starwars.com

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press