Everyone agrees that there really isn’t a movie in the near future that audiences are more excited about than Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Hell, it wouldn’t be unfair to say that it may be the most anticipated film in history. The newest chapter of the Star Wars saga will reunite the cast of the original trilogy and will continue the story that began back in 1977 with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. During the super-secret production of the film, very few people were allowed to witness the awesomeness that was taking place behind the scenes but Kevin Smith managed to make it to the shooting location and was happy to report that what he saw brought him to tears. This past Friday night, while at San Diego Comic-Con, the fan favorite science fiction property likely managed to draw yet another tear or two from Smith but for an entirely different reason. Thanks to Star Wars, Kevin Smith’s Hall H appearance at SDCC was only witnessed by less than a third of his usual audience.
For years, the Friday during San Diego Comic-Con has been referred to as “Star Wars Day”. On a typical SDCC Friday, any Wars fan can find a plethora of programming to choose from that will transport them to a galaxy far, far away, while staying in their seat. From creating Yoda puppets with the little ones to lightsabre training exercises and everything in between, if you are looking for your dose of Star Wars, Friday is the day to do it. Well, this past Star Wars Day was even a bit more special as Disney had previously announced that Ep. VII director J.J. Abrams and EP Kathleen Kennedy would be in attendance, along with some special guests. As expected, this threw all of geekdom into a tizzy, and, suddenly, Star Wars Day became the most anticipated day of the convention. So much so that there were fans waiting behind the San Diego Convention Center as early as Tuesday, two days before the initial start of the convention. Keep in mind that this was even after it was reported that the panel would present no new footage of the upcoming blockbuster.
As you can imagine, when the late afternoon Star Wars panel finally made its way to the Hall H stage, the roar of the crowd could be heard across the street, as if seven thousand voices cheered in unison for some special event, which, of course, is exactly what happened. No new footage was presented but the audience was treated to an appearance from Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, as well as Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Domhall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie, and some behind the scene footage of the film. As the panel came to a close, things got a bit ugly for Kevin Smith, who had the unenviable duty of following the Wars panel with a panel for his upcoming Tusk spinoff, Yoga Hosers. You see, the folks at Disney had a special treat for the Star Wars panel audience members: a secret Star Wars concert, featuring the music of John Williams, with appearances from Williams and members of the cast of the film. The entire audience of almost 7k people was escorted out of Hall H by fully costumed Storm Troopers to a park a few blocks away, mostly cheering and happy to be a part of history. One person who remained in Hall H wasn’t cheering this move, however.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 11, 2015
I feel a grave disturbance in the Force. As if six thousand people were suddenly silenced by a free concert. Might have to cancel my panel. — KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 11, 2015
In years prior, Kevin Smith has hosted seat-packed panels anytime he is on hand, whether it is to promote a movie or simply have a hilarious conversation. This move on Disney’s part bucked that trend but it also did something that was kind of cool: it guaranteed that those in attendance for Smith’s panel actually cared deeply about seeing the panel and that every word, every bit of information, and every moment of screened footage would be more than just a bit appreciated. As a matter of fact, as the attendees of the Star Wars panel were whisked away, the remaining fans waiting for entry to Hall H were all hoping that they would have a chance to see Smith in action and had no problem missing the Star Wars goodness for a chance to participate in an intimate panel with the popular writer/director/all-around-geek-personality. Ever the sport, Smith decided that cancelling his panel wouldn’t be fair to those in attendance, as few as there may be.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 11, 2015
And, it turns out that it was a pretty wonderful panel, once all was said and done.
In the end, not many can resist the power of The Force, which Smith completely understood and while it wasn’t the audience that he has drawn in the past, it was still enough to have a great time.
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) July 12, 2015
Say what you will about Kevin Smith but the man is a trooper – just not a Storm Trooper.
Were you at the Kevin Smith panel? How close did you get?
Update 7/14/15: It appears that J.J. Abrams and Kevin Smith have kissed and made up a bit. According to Smith while on the Hollywood Babble-On podcast, Abrams saw Smith after the panel and apologized for leaving him without an audience:
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry, I feel like Darth Vader.”
The apology didn’t end there, though. After the whole fiasco, Abrams continued to apologize in an email:
“I’m mortified, I’m fucking like I would never do that to anyone, let alone somebody I adore, like you.”
If you want to hear it straight from the man’s mouth, check out the podcast here:
Category: Nerd Culture