Deployed Troops Will Get to See New Star Wars Movie Early -- and for Free

Star Wars cosplayers pose for a photo.
Cosplayers pose for a photo during Cub Con II, a multi-genre entertainment convention, Feb. 23, 2019, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force/Erick Requadt)

Deployed troops looking forward to the latest Star Wars film won't just have a chance to see the film before they return stateside -- they might get to see it before everyone else.

'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' will be shown at free screenings in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates and "undisclosed locations in Southwest Asia" starting Dec. 18, two days before it is released in the U.S., officials with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) announced today.

"Bringing a blockbuster movie like 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' to deployed troops during the holidays is a big morale boost," Tom Shull, head of AAFES, said in a release. "These service members are away from family and friends during this special time of year -- and seeing a big release at the same time it's being shown back home strengthens their connection with family and friends and eases the tensions of deployment."

This isn't the first time a Star Wars film has been shown for free downrange. In 2017, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" was screened for deployed troops. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" played in 2016 and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" played in 2015, according to AAFES.

There is one caveat to offer of free, early screenings, the release said. The free screenings will only be available at locations where AAFES does not have one of its Reel Time Theaters. And Exchange theaters in Qatar, Afghanistan and Kuwait will only play the movie during its normal theatrical release, AAFES said.

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