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.

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.