A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (otherwise known as England), director and longtime Comic-Con enthusiast Kevin Smith was invited by director J.J. Abrams to visit the set of “Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.” And Thursday at San Diego Comic-Con we found out exactly what drove Smith to tears in this Instagram on that sacred set. Smith also revealed the elaborate lengths to which Abrams is going to re-create an authentic “Star Wars” experience and bet $10,000 that Disney would show new footage Friday at the presentation.
In our exclusive interview with Smith about Comic-Con, the director dismissed rumors that Disney would not show new “Star Wars” footage as “shenanigans.”
He then changed gears and got personal, revealing what it felt like to stand inside the Millennium Falcon. It’s a great, long “Star Wars” tale. Seriously, watch this, and try not to get choked up as well.
“There, they took me on set, and what I saw was not only beguiling but spellbinding. And also it was real, it was tactile. You could walk around on set and feel things. There were constructs, real people and stuff, not just a sea of green like, ‘Well, this will be this, and this will be this.’ So he’s kind of taking it back to the roots, if you will. And I got to walk on the Millennium Falcon, which I cried after I did that. His assistant Morgan takes me to show me, and J.J. [Abrams] was like, ‘Take him to Stage M.’ And so Morgan takes me to Stage M and turns on the lights, and there’s the Millennium Falcon. And I was like, ‘That’s nuts.’ And Morgan was like, ‘Do you want to walk on it?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, yeah.’
“And the whole time I’d been there, up until this moment, I was like, ‘Oh, this is neat, if you’re going to make ‘Star Wars,’ this makes sense.’ ... When I was a kid, I liked ‘Star Wars,’ and now I’m on the ‘Star Wars’ set. This is kind of cool. The moment I stepped on the Millennium Falcon 10 years dropped off my life. Suddenly I was in my 30s, and I hadn’t done ‘Cop Out,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, this is awesome.’ And then another 10 years dropped off, and I was in my 20s making all those movies people like, referencing ‘Star Wars’ like crazy and stuff. And then another step up the ramp, and I was in my 10s and lower, when I fell in love with this stuff, when it was my religion, when I was a kid. Long before I made movies. I was a Catholic school kid; this mattered more than Jesus. They get mad when you say it; probably more so true now than when I was a kid. So by that third step, that fourth step up the landing ramp, I got so emotional. Suddenly I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is my whole life before I had a life.’ When I was a child, this sparked my love affair with movies. Just ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Jaws.’ I just start crying, and Morgan is like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry -- usually everyone who comes here likes this.’ I was like, ‘Oh, I like it. I like it.’ ”
Smith then discussed how the crew re-created that iconic ship.
“Right away Morgan pointed out, it was really cool, whenever they sit around the chess table, you see C-3PO sitting there, and there’s some rocky [stuff] going on they put on the seat belts in ‘Star Wars.’ It was one of those things that was a throwaway reference. I’ve seen them in the seat belt, not a big part of the mythology for me. But Morgan pointed out, if you look at the 1977 ‘Star Wars’ in order to make it futuristic, they took the seatbelt, and they just put bubble wrap on it. Just little bubble wrap and stuff that will make it look spacey. Cut to the present, and she’s like, ‘Look at the seat belt,’ and they put bubble wrap on it. Everything has been rebuilt to the specs in the ‘70s or the ‘80s because there are two blueprints of the Millennium Falcon (the ‘Star Wars’ movie version and the ‘Empire’ version). And I guess they used those to rebuild it. Even details like that, man, and, she said, ‘Touch it,’ so I touched it and popped a bubble. I had to. You know what I’m saying?”
We’ll have more from Smith as our week at Comic-Con progresses. Also follow our reporting at the Los Angeles Times Comic-Con team in this Twitter list. And for more news, follow Hero Complex on Twitter@LATherocomplex.