SAN DIEGO — At this year's Comic-Con, the "Twilight" saga stars rode into town like Sherman's army, overtaking downtown San Diego while being flanked by black-T-shirt wearing, eardrum-shattering, Burger King-crowned fans. And although some geeks found it difficult to lay down their Cylon helmets and surrender, the Twilighters were peaceful during their Thursday occupation, as tens of thousands of them partied like they were at the Forks High prom.
"My heart belongs to 'Twilight,' always," insisted Alison Grenda, 14, as she waited for hours outside the Gaslamp Theater, where the stars showed up after a hard day of interviews, presentations and hug-receiving to introduce the biggest surprise hit of last year.
"We're going to see 'Twilight,' and we get to meet the cast," beamed Gina Vallejo, 14, one of the thousands of fans who stood in line to see the film as it played simultaneously in more than a dozen theaters. "And we're really, really, really excited."
"We were going to get ice cream, and we were walking, but they put these metal bars up so we couldn't pass," explained Marin Mayfield, 10, whose break from line-waiting was interrupted by something far more delicious than Rocky Road. "They told us that the cast was coming. Then a big bus came!"
"All the cast got off. There was Esme, Bella, Edward, and then there was Taylor Lautner coming off!" remembered her sister Hayley, 13. "I love Taylor Lautner, so I was screaming, 'Taylor! Taylor!' He pointed to me as he got off the bus, and I was totally hyperventilating."
"Then he came up, I reached my hand out, and he held onto it for a second," she said feverishly. "Then he let go and said, 'Bye! I'll see you in there!' "
Moments later, Hayley would go inside to cap off her "Twilight" day by walking through a lobby filled with Bella and Edward Barbie dolls, "Twilight" candy and Volturi makeup, then sitting down in one of the theaters and watching her favorite film, introduced by Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene and more of the cast. But first, she was busy insisting that she would never wash her "Taylor hand" again.
"No!" laughed the Team Jacob loyalist. "I almost came close, actually. I put hand sanitizer on, and then remembered and wiped it off fast."
Why did tens of thousands of Twilighters invade Comic-Con, sleep on the sidewalk, endure long lines and taunts from bitter sci-fi geeks? For the final word, we went to Briana Gonzalez, 11, who gave us a hard point to argue.
"The books are really good," she said. "And so is the movie!"
MTV News is on the scene with live coverage of the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con all weekend long. Visit MTVNews.com, Splash Page, the MTV Movies Blog and Hollywood Crush for videos, interviews and the latest news on "New Moon," "Iron Man 2" and everything in between.
Check out everything we've got on The Twilight Saga: New Moon."