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Star Wars fans stream into the newly remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, Dec. 17, 2015. The theater upgraded its seating, projection systems, lighting and concessions in the 11 months it has been under renovation.

Star Wars fans stream into the newly remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, Dec. 17, 2015. The theater upgraded its seating, projection systems, lighting and concessions in the 11 months it has been under renovation. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Star Wars fans stream into the newly remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, Dec. 17, 2015. The theater upgraded its seating, projection systems, lighting and concessions in the 11 months it has been under renovation.

Star Wars fans stream into the newly remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, Dec. 17, 2015. The theater upgraded its seating, projection systems, lighting and concessions in the 11 months it has been under renovation. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

John Chatman, right, manager of the AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, shows some of the theater's new equipment to Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Addington, Wiesbaden garrison senior noncommissioned officer, before the theater's grand re-opening, Dec. 17, 2015. The theater now uses an all-digital centralized projection system rather than film projectors.

John Chatman, right, manager of the AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, shows some of the theater's new equipment to Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Addington, Wiesbaden garrison senior noncommissioned officer, before the theater's grand re-opening, Dec. 17, 2015. The theater now uses an all-digital centralized projection system rather than film projectors. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Sgt. Justin Mott, an avionics technician attached to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, was the first person into the newly remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, for a midnight showing of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Dec. 17, 2015. Mott waited in line for 10 hours to get the best seat in the 780-seat facility.

Sgt. Justin Mott, an avionics technician attached to the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, was the first person into the newly remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, for a midnight showing of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Dec. 17, 2015. Mott waited in line for 10 hours to get the best seat in the 780-seat facility. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

Some of the nearly 800 seats in the remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, sit ready before the grand reopening of the theater Dec. 18, 2015, which coincided with the release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." The theater has been under renovation since January this year.

Some of the nearly 800 seats in the remodeled AAFES Taunus Theater in Wiesbaden, Germany, sit ready before the grand reopening of the theater Dec. 18, 2015, which coincided with the release of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." The theater has been under renovation since January this year. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

WIESBADEN, Germany — Stars Wars fans in Wiesbaden got a special treat for the first showing of “The Force Awakens”: a new movie theater.

AAFES’ Taunus Theater reopened Thursday night for a midnight screening of the new Star Wars movie after nearly a year of renovations.

“When my group of friends walked in, we were all saying, ‘Wow.’ It’s just amazing how much it’s changed; it’s really cool,” said Spc. Michael Sadler, with the 2nd Military Intelligence Brigade in Wiesbaden.

Since the Army and Air Force Exchange Service closed the 780-seat theater in January, the interior has been completely remodeled, with new air conditioning and bathrooms, better seats and modern projection and sound equipment, said John Chatman, the theater supervisor.

Sadler was also impressed by the lighting and amount of legroom.

A temporary movie theater on Clay Kaserne had low attendance, as many people preferred to drive an hour to Ramstein Air Base or wait for off-base theaters in Wiesbaden and Frankfurt to show movies in English. The timing of the theater reopening and the first screening of the much-anticipated Star Wars movie was a coincidence, Chatman said.

Sgt. Justin Mott, an avionics technician, was the first person in line; he had been waiting since noon for the doors to open at 10 p.m. He was joined later by his wife, Sonya, and daughter, Chiara. Mott was looking forward to continuing a family tradition of enjoying the franchise with his daughter.

“I was watching (the original trilogy) with my parents, and my aunts and uncles,” he said. “They passed it along to me, and now here I am, passing it along again.”

stoutamire.dan@stripes.com

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