Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Robert Carlyle and Jonny Lee Miller arrived on the orange carpet - chosen to match T2 Trainspotting’s distinctive branding - to a barrage of cheers and screams outside Cineworld in Fountainbridge.
Hundreds of fans braved the wind and rain outside the cinema, close to the birthplace of Sir Sean Connery, where a large “T2” symbol revolved on a giant turntable to herald its world premiere.
Set 20 years on from the events in the original film, McGregor’s character, Renton, returns to the city for the first time in two decades after betraying his friends at the end of the first film after fleeing with the proceeds of a drug deal in London.
Also in attendance were Kelly Macdonald, who returns to play Diane in T2, and Anjela Nedyalkova, whose character Veronika goes into business with Renton and Sick Boy, with the trio securing a grant to set up a sauna enterprise above a pub.
Oscar-winner Boyle, who made his name with Trainspotting and the Edinburgh-set thriller Shallow Grave, said: “We were joking that there is joking that there is obviously an resolved plot issue in that £100,000 of EU funding has gone missing in Edinburgh. Somebody, at some point, is going to come calling and say: ‘where is that hundred grand?’”
The new film, which is loosely based on Irvine Welsh’s own 2002 sequel to Trainspotting, Porno, reunited Boyle with screenwriter John Hodge.
Speaking on the orange carpet, Boyle revealed that he had spent a week in Edinburgh with Welsh and Hodge to have “one last go” at coming up with a story for a sequel.
He said: “There was a real relish that you can see among the actors that we got it all back together again. There is a kind of unity about the four of them. They all did it for the same money and for the same reasons. It is a real tribute to them.
“The extraordinary thing about John’s script is that he balanced out the four characters. I promised the actors I wouldn’t cut any of them. The four of them just come at you the whole time.
“The way people talk to you in the street about the movie...they talk about all of them. They know all their names and know stuff about them.
“I think I speak for everyone when I say that to see T2 up in lights and see everyone here makes us very proud to be back. We insisted that the premiere was in Edinburgh.”
Carlyle hinted he was keen to step back into the shoes of Begbie, who was featured in a new book last year by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh.
The actor said: “That is the first time you see maybe there is another side to this guy. There’s something quite emotional about that.
“He’s capable of feeling something more just rage, so I’m pleased that element of Begbie has been shown. And maybe that sets up another film in fact because Irvine Welsh has written The Blade Artist. I am up for doing it. So maybe we ain’t seen the end of Begbie just yet.”
McGregor “It is quite daunting to come back to a character who is so well known and loved. Like all of the characters in Trainspotting, they are people who we feel like we know.
“They are like people who we have really met in life - Begbie, Sickboy, Spud and Diane. It was sort of daunting, but I am Renton, and Renton is me.”
Bremner admitted he feared having to turn down the chance to play hapless heroin addict Spud again.
He said: “This is the kind of business where all kinds of things get talked about, and people toil with all their heart and soul to get them made, but with the best will in the world 90 per cent of it doesn’t happen.
“This was something that I thought would be fun, but realistically didn’t seem very likely to happen, even up until very shortly before we started shooting.
“I actually had a real conflict and doubt over whether I’d be able to start when they needed me to start as it was very difficult for Warner Bros to give me a stop date for Wonder Woman.
“But with every fibre of my body I wanted to do it after reading the script and having a first read-through. It felt like everything was there that we could ask for. I was excited and touched by it. I didn’t want anything to get in the way of it. It is quite overwhelming the place Trainspotting has in our culture. It is giddying and sobering at the same time.
“There’s more rage in my character now than before. He is more uncompromising in a way than he was in the first film and he has more determination.”
Macdonald said: “I was saying earlier to the boys that this feels a bit like a school reunion. Trainspotting was the very first script I ever read. It changed everything for me. I’ll be eternally grateful.”