With fans and critics giving The Force Awakens the thumbs up, the cast and crew of the latest Star Wars film expressed huge relief as the movie rolls out in cinemas worldwide. The seventh episode of the popular sci-fi saga won over fans globally after months of secrecy surrounding the film, billed as the biggest movie release of the year.

Few details on the JJ Abrams-directed picture have been released, except some broad character outlines in the run-up to this weeks release. As reviews were published on 16 December, following an embargo, cast and crew relished the positive feedback at the films European premiere in Londons Leicester Square after first hearing from the critics while travelling from Los Angeles, where The Force Awakens premiered on 14 December.

The positive critical reception to revitalising a franchise that began in 1977 and whose latest film came out 10 years ago was a huge relief, said the films producer, Kathleen Kennedy. John Boyega, who plays troubled Stormtrooper Finn, said he had not yet read reviews but was glad to hear theres positive feedback. Newcomer Daisy Ridley, who portrays scavenger Rey, welcomed the reviews, but said there was one audiences views she was still awaiting. I think its wonderful that...everyones work has been appreciated, she said. I just want my family to like it.