Sometimes, when he’s saying all manner of asinine things, or directing Cop Out, it’s easy to forget that Kevin Smith made a bunch of movies that I dearly love, is at least partially responsible for changing the direction of modern cinema, and is, at heart, a huge nerd and fanboy, just like the rest of us. Like many of us, the Star Wars movies defined his childhood, so when J.J. Abrams asked if he wanted to visit the London-based set of Star Wars: Episode VII, you can bet he jumped at it. He’s talked about the experience before, but at San Diego Comic-Con, in the vaunted Hall H, he talked about it again, and the result is fantastic to watch, regardless of how you feel about the man.
We aren’t in San Diego this weekend, we’re tucked in our dark, dank corners of the country, hunched over our keyboards as usual, but our sister site Cinema Blend is all up inside Comic-Con and captured this video of Smith on stage. He’s funny, engaging, self-deprecating, sarcastic, and sincere, all the things that made you love movies like Clerks, Mall Rats, and Chasing Amy. (I still like everything up to Jersey Girl.)
Of course they made Smith sign an non-disclosure agreement—the man has a penchant for talking—so he doesn’t reveal anything too major about the movie, but he does a really good job of making you excited for Episode VII and convincing you that Abrams and company are doing something truly special. He describes what he saw as “absolute magic,” and that’s coming from someone who has seen behind the curtains of how movies are made.
Smith describes seeing all of the practical effects, costumes, and elaborate sets that will actually appear in the movie in lieu of the ubiquitous green screen that was everywhere in George Lucas’ three prequels (I also blame those movies for popularizing the term ‘prequel,’ which I can’t stand, but use too frequently). He saw things he loved as a kid, and described the whole scene as if Abrams has the “best set of Star Wars figures ever,” which is heartening for fans to hear.
But then he gets to Stage M, and the M, of course, means Millennium Falcon. As he talks about his first step onto the set (it took him back in time to a better world where Cop Out doesn’t exist), you can’t help but share his giddy emotion. Whatever you think of him as a public figure, this is a guy with a deep, passionate love of movies, especially Star Wars—watch to the end to see just how much those movies mean to him—and that love is infectious.
Star Wars: Episode VII opens everywhere December 18, 2015.