The first night of Star Wars Celebration VI was capped off by a command performance by none other than Kevin Smith himself. While Smith has never directly done anything with Star Wars, he was certainly a force in fandom with credible Star Wars homages in his films.
He spent the evening regaling the crowd with stories of his fandom and how it connected him with other people from other cultures across the globe and got across quite capably a sense of how Star Wars bridges more divides than it separates.
When one fan asked him about how he’d change the prequels, he practically auditioned for the “Why We Love the Prequels Panel.” He wouldn’t have done much of anything to change them and loved them for what they were. Sure, they weren’t perfect and Jar Jar was equivalent to him to the Ewoks, but none of it stole from his enjoyment. “Some of these losers were saying you know that George Lucas raped their childhood, but that’s really an insulting slap in the face to the guy who built my childhood. He didn’t rape anything.” (I’m paraphrasing there, but the spirit is the same.)
He then proceeded to tell a rousing tale of the whispers through his youth of the creation of Vader and that fateful volcano-top battle we’d all heard legend of and, upon seeing it, he was reduced to tears. It gave me the chills in the same way the movie does.
The man is truly a Star Wars fan. One of us.
And at the end of his presentation he implored us all to create our own entertainment and allow our passion to guide us like into creating something. We can all generate our own content and we are all unique, making that content valuable and original, even if there are a hundred thousand other people doing what we’re doing.
It was incredibly inspirational.
I was awed, too, that Kevin Smith hadn’t actually met George Lucas. It made me feel that much more privileged for the time I was able to. Like Smith, my fandom has allowed me to see and do a lot of cool stuff that’s worth much more than physical memorabilia.
But there were plenty of other great moments and I wasn’t the only one there for the show.
BaldassBot was there and here were his impressions:
When it comes to ending a day of Star Wars, what better way to do it than spending An Evening with Kevin Smith. I expected this to be a highlight of the show for me and I’m not disappointed. He was at times heartwarming, maudlin, cruel, etc. But he was always funny. Lines like “How do you say ‘ear pussy’ in sign language?” didn’t actually seem out of place. Most poignant were his comments about making films about Star Wars when no one was talking about Star Wars. I can’t help but think its resurgence in 1997 with the Special Editions was made possible by, even inspired by, Smith and others like him. Did George even know we were there out there before Dante and Randall talked about stormtroopers installing toilet mains?
He also said some great thing about Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. It’s obvious he respects them as actors, not just idolizes them as characters. But he does that too. In particular, he had one story about Jason Mewes and Carrie while shooting Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. Mewes hit on Fisher between takes, relentlessly and with a complete lack of tact. It was so bad that she eventually got fed up and unleashed on him. She accused him of being disingenuous with his flirtations: “Deep inside, maybe I’m a 20 year old girl and maybe I wanna do those things. But you don’t mean it and can’t do it and saying it like you really want to do it to me makes you like Ben Affleck.” I’ve probably misquoted most of that, but it’s definitely the right idea.
A fan asked Kevin which made for a better fanboy moment, Mewes trying to go down on Carrie Fisher (on camera, not the above story) or himself crossing ‘sabers with Mark. His response should be collected in a quote book somewhere. “Sometimes, to accomplish you dreams, you have to tarnish a hero.” There’s probably some political advice here relevant to many presidential campaigns but Kevin didn’t mean it that way and I’m not going to take it down that path. I felt this response was applicable to both options, but he was referring specifically to making Mark the Cockknocker. Which, of course, led to a wonderful story about Kevin’s mom speaking with Mark during the shoot. She thought it was great that she was seeing Kevin relive his childhood, same toys but a bigger scale.
This was a great experience and it’s tough to have it happen on the first night of Celebration. I can’t expect to have such a singularly great event over the next three days. Then again, my mood is now right for making the most of it.
BaldassBot tells me he has some video from the panel as well we’ll be getting up soon.
Be sure to keep up with me on Twitter or Instagram (both @swankmotron) for the up-to-the-minute breaking news from Celebration VI.