Decked out in their finest fur suits, robes and rubberized intergalactic head gear, sci-fi fanatics nationwide are counting down the hours to geekdom's End of Days: the opening of "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith." (search)

Many have spent days on line for tickets, waiting with bated breath for the opening — at 12:01 Thursday morning — of the final installment of George Lucas' six-part cinematic opus.

The sidewalk outside the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City has a been a nonstop carnival of Storm Troopers and light sabers.

"It's interesting that people walk by and call us crazy," said Michael Thayen, 20, a student from Maine. "They're on their way to work [while] we're here having fun."

"They're not all nerds," he added of his fellow fanatics. "It's a passion."

Even New York's Finest got into the spirit Tuesday. As one blue-and-white went by the theater, a dark revelation suddenly came over the loudspeaker: "Luke, I am your father," said the disembodied voice. A cheer went up from the line.

The film is expected to be a blockbuster. Web ticket broker moviefone.com says more than 65 percent of its total ticket sales in the past week have been for the new "Star Wars," and most shows in both New York and Los Angeles have long been sold out.