THE popularity of the long-awaited new Star Wars movie has led to a surge in fans wanting tattoos of Darth Vader, ewoks, and storm troopers.

Tattoo studio Vintage Inx, in Honywood Road, Basildon, has reported an increased in customers asking for Star Wars related inkings.

One superfan is even planning to get an entire arm sleeve of tattoos inspired by the film series.

Tattoo artist Sam Butler, 23, who owns Vintage Inx, said: “I specialise in doing portraits of things that are close to people’s hearts.

“For some that could be family members or animals but for others its characters, like those from Star Wars.

“It’s been a real mix so far of iconic figures from the original movies, but now I am taking bookings for people wanting scenes or characters from the new films.”

Customer Mike Martin, 38, of Whitmore Way, Basildon, already has a storm trooper design on his arm.

Yesterday, Mr Butler began work on a tattoo of bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Mr Martin plans to get a Darth Vader inking next, with work on his sleeve set to continue over the coming months.

He said: “I’ve been a fan of the films ever since I can remember so it feels natural to have tattoos of my favourite characters.

“Although I’ve told Sam what I would like, I’ve given him creative control over how these are depicted and joined together.”

A Yoda design completed by Mr Butler in September won him first prize at the Bournemouth Ink ‘n’ Art Fest, as well as recognition from two of the stars of the movie series.

Both Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, and Carrie Fisher, who plays Princess Leia, liked pictures of his design on Twitter.

Mr Butler, who has been a tattooist for four years, is already fully booked until spring next year.

Other tattoo artists in south Essex claim the Star Wars series has always been a popular theme for their customers.

Chessie Clear, who runs Pride and Glory Studio, in Leigh Road, Leigh, said: “We haven’t noticed a particular rise recently, but Star Wars has always been popular and we have done it quite a bit in the past.”


THE latest film in the Star Wars franchise has smashed records for advance bookings at cinemas across south Essex.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened at venues nationwide today with cinemas including Odeon, in Southend, and Empire, in Basildon, holding midnight screenings for eager fans.

Phil Peirce, manager of Empire, at the Festival Leisure Park, insists the cinema is more than capable of handling the unprecedented demand from customers.

He said: “We have sold nearly 30,000 tickets in advance, which is a huge number.

“Our previous record for sales inside 24 hours was for 50 Shades of Grey, when we sold 560, but for Star Wars it was 4,500, which is on a different planet.

“We have never seen anything like it, but we have got lots of room left because we keep adding extra screens.”

The Basildon cinema has 18 screens, including a new Imax screen which launched in June.

Mr Peirce added: “Imax has been unbelievably popular and we also have the luxury of being able to show Star Wars on ten or 11 screens, while still being able to show other films.”

Odeon, in The Broadway, Southend, will be screening the film 17 times in 2D and 17 times in 3D today.

Bosses added extra screenings to cope with demand.