Watch Kevin Smith Talk About His 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Set Visit
Love him, or hate him, there's no denying that filmmaker Kevin Smith is an unabashed movie geek, and (of course) Star Wars is one of his all-time favorite franchises. There's some interesting discussion about Kevin Smith in relation to Star Wars recently, mostly about his visit to the set in London. "I saw old friends who I haven’t seen since my childhood, who aren't really friends... I saw uniforms, I saw artillery I haven't seen since I was a kid. I saw them shooting an actual sequence in a set that was real. I walked across the set, there were explosions." He's not allowed to say much ("I signed the NDA"), and only posted some nerd tears to Instagram at first, but later divulged more in a recent Q&A at a festival this past weekend. Watch below.
The story goes that Kevin Smith, an uber-level Star Wars fan, was invited to come out to the set of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII filming in England last week. This is a very rare opportunity, as the set is extremely private and closed off and they're not even letting any press or anyone near. When he emerged, all he could show (for now) is his "old Bantha-Tracks subscriber's" tears of joy (referring to the Official Star Wars Fan Club newsletter). We all understand that feeling he had, as it would be an experience unlike any to actually set foot on the new Star Wars set and stand inside the Millennium Falcon. We're all jealous of him.
However, this past weekend at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland during his Master Class Q&A, a fan asked him "what was it like being on-board the Millennium Falcon?" From there he goes off on an 11-minute answer about the experience, without revealing anything major (of course), but saying a lot and hinting at so much excitement going on. Here's one excerpt with the full recording after.
"What I saw, I absolutely loved. It was tactile — it was real. It wasn't a series of fucking green screens and blue screens in which later on digital characters would be added. IT was there, it was happening. I saw old friends who I haven’t seen since my childhood, who aren’t really friends, but I love them more than some of my fucking relatives. I saw uniforms, I saw artillery that I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I saw them shooting an actual sequence in a set that is real. I walked across the set, there were explosions. And it looked like a shot right out of a Star Wars movie. I watched them do it four times, standing next to JJ..."
Here's the full Livestream video of the Q&A, which was recorded live Sat, July 5th @ NIFFF in Switzerland. His talk about the Star Wars set visit experience begins at about 35:15 minutes into the Q&A video below.
There's plenty of meaty thoughts in his answer here. To recap: he was invited to set by J.J. Abrams, and references his journey as a filmmaker by being inspired by Star Wars as a kid. "I was a little kid who fucking loved Star Wars who wondered if anyone in the world felt and thought the way I did." I love the poster he references in the office about "Loose Lips Sink Star Ships" and how it's aimed directly at Kevin, because he has a tendency to let loose plenty of details. But it really gets good when he talks about the Millennium Falcon set on "Stage M". He explains how the cockpit in Empire was bigger than in A New Hope, and they used a composite of the two blueprints, and how it's all real. How setting foot on the Millennium Falcon set made him be a kid again and remember all he loved when he was growing up, mainly the joys of Star Wars.
This is Kevin Smith's Instagram tear after his own Star Wars: Episode VII set visit. "All I can share are this old Bantha-Tracks subscriber's tears and snotty nose of joy. The Force is WITH this movie. Holy Sith..."
Whether or not you like his movies, it's hard to disagree with him in this discussion, and it's hard not to listen to what he says about how "he's pulling it off." We all have our doubts, of course, but I think there are those of who are getting more and more excited by the day, more and more optimistic as we hear reports like this about how amazing the set is. How it's real again. Kevin Smith explains the feeling so eloquently:
"As I walked up that ramp I realized that something was missing from those other movies [the prequels] and it's now in these movies. And its not the obvious of like, hey, the Millennium Falcon or, hey, the characters that we know are returning. It's something else entirely — he's building a tactile world, a world you can touch. And he's replicating with all the love of somebody that has the world's greatest collection of Star Wars figures. And when you walk on that set, man, I don't know how else to describe it except thusly: to use another pop culture reference to describe this pop culture phenomenon. It is like the Field of Dreams, the Kevin Costner movie. And, if J.J. builds it, we're all going to come, hard, because it is amazing. It looks fantastic. So anyone out sitting there wondering if he's going to pull it off, he's pulling it off. He showed me cut scenes, he showed me sequences, images, pictures. I cried and I hugged that guy. And I'm sure as I was crying and hugging on him, he was thinking 'time is money' because they're making a movie. But he got it. He was very flattered. And I was like 'Honestly dude, you're doing it. You’re making my childhood again. You're doing our Star Wars.' What I saw, blew me away."
Sounds like everything we're hoping for, and maybe even more. But only time will tell. I know this is mostly hyperbolic hype from a Star Wars fanatic, but I must admit I'm starting to understand what he's saying, and I'm hopeful they are pulling this off in exactly the way he's saying: "If he captures just 10% of what I felt, they're going to make a gazillion dollars... It's old home - it's seeing everybody you want to see again, in a brand new adventure, moving forward." I wish we could all get the experience of walking on set, and feeling how tactile and real it all is, but that's only reserved for the lucky few. We'll have to wait to see the movie in theaters next year. In the meantime, "Star Wars still means the world to me." Same here, Kevin. Bring it on.