For Star Wars fans, the long wait is almost over, and the media frenzy surrounding the arrival of The Force Awakens is steadily building. Reuters photographers in Japan, Britain and the US captured pictures of fans with their Star Wars memorabilia collections.

Star Wars fans
HGV driver Richard Mitchell, 46, poses with some of his Star Wars collection in his bedroom in Buckinghamshire, England. He once paid more than $1,100 (£725) for a Princess Leia figure and describes Star Wars as 'a way of life'Paul Hackett/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Businessman Testuyuki Nakagawa, 50, dresses as Darth Vader as he poses in front of his Star Wars collection in Tokyo. He said his wife cannot understand why he buys so many lightsabersIssei Kato/Reuters
Star Wars fans
James Burns, 44, poses for a photograph with some of his collection in London. He said: 'I’ve met so many wonderful people, all over the world. It’s a wonderful community of like-minded people with an interest in Star Wars. There’s nothing else like it'Paul Hackett/Reuters
Star Wars fans
A 37-year-old man nicknamed Ikemasa, who didn't want to give his real name, poses while dressed as Darth Vader next to his Star Wars collection at his home in Tokyo. He said that when his two-year-old son sees Darth Vader in a TV programme or movie, he calls out: 'Papa'Issei Kato/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Carpenter and builder Matt Warner, 42, displays his Star Wars tattoos in London. 'Star Wars is like my favourite band, my favourite car, my favourite bit of life... When I need it to be there it's there ... it's a way of life I suppose.' Star Wars characters account for 90% of the tattoos he hasPaul Hackett/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Simon Wilkie poses with the mask from his C-3PO outfit in Norwich, England. He has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity dressed as the Star Wars character C-3POPaul Hackett/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Postal worker Dave Oldbury, 47, shows some of his Star Wars tattoos in Southampton, England. 'It's been a life journey really ... I've travelled round the world, I've met people I would never associate with normally,' he said, 'the thing that unites us is the fact that we all love the films'Paul Hackett/Reuters
Star Wars fans
A 42-year-old man nicknamed Tsukikage, who didn't want to give his real name, swings his lightsaber in front of his Star Wars collection at his home in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo. He mainly collects items relating to his favourite character, YodaIssei Kato/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Yusuke Yamana, 41, (right) and his wife Anna, 33, from Minnesota in the US, pose for a photo while dressed as Tusken Raiders in front of Star Wars memorabilia at their home in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan. They met at a Star Wars fan event in Japan in 2011 and got married in 2015Issei Kato/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Matt Booker, 38, poses for a photograph next to some of his Boba Fett collection at his home in Corsham, Wiltshire, England. He said he has a collection of more than 8,000 Boba Fett piecesPaul Hackett/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Graphic designer and Star Wars collector Julian Peacock, 44, poses for a photograph with his life-size Stormtrooper uniform at his home in south London. He said Star Wars was 'an escape to a happy place... a more innocent time in my childhood. My fiancee, she puts up with it, she's quite happy with me having my own little crazy world of collectible toys'Paul Hackett/Reuters
Star Wars fans
Chris Pellitteri, 45, (scout trooper) with his wife Christine, 36, (royal guard) son Jay, eight, (stormtrooper) and daughter Lily, six, (Ewok) pose for a photo at their home in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Chris saw Star Wars in 1977 at a drive-in when he was seven years old. He said that friends and family think they were 'a little crazy for dressing up in Star Wars costumes, but since they know most of what we do is for charity ... they are pretty cool with it'Mike Blake/Reuters

The Force Awakens stars old hands Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as well as young actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Its plot has been shrouded in secrecy for months, with few details revealed except for some broad character outlines. It had its first official screening at the world premiere in Los Angeles on Monday 14 December and will open in the UK on 17 December. The film's opening weekend box office is predicted to be up to $220 million (£145m) in just the US and Canada. Jurassic World holds the record with $208.8 million in June.