Director-actor-podcaster Kevin Smith has never worked on an official "Star Wars" project, but he's enthusiastically talked about the films enough to be added to the upcoming Star Wars Celebration at the Orange County Convention Center.
"An Evening with Kevin Smith," a question-and-answer session on Aug. 23, will be his contribution to Celebration, a four-day fan gathering that also will feature Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Seth Green and other luminaries.
"I took my fandom of 'Star Wars' and kind of made it one of the cornerstones of what I do," Smith said Thursday. Mentions of the films were worked into "Clerks" and "Mallrats," two early Smith films."It kind of became expected that anytime I was making a flick there would be some sort of 'Star Wars' joke or reference," said Smith, 41. "I kept it up for a long, long time."His hard-core fandom has roots in two childhood events. The first was seeing three costumed characters — Darth Vader, Chewbacca and a stormtrooper — at the grand opening of a toy store.
"We're talking pre-cable TV, pre-Internet, pre-anything interesting," Smith said. "It was magical, man."
His second big "Star Wars" moment was when a friend received a mail-order set of "Star Wars" action figures.
"We didn't have a VCR back then. You couldn't run a DVD of 'Star Wars' over and over again," he said "You saw it when it was in the theaters, and then if you wanted to enjoy it again, you kind of had to make it up yourself, and the action figures were helpful when it came to that."
Smith has not had a "Star Wars" credit, but he has ideas set in the Star Wars universe. A dream project would be based on the life of an existing character, he said."Boba Fett is this mysterious character that really didn't do that much in the 'Star Wars' universe but, boy, people loved him because he looked cool as hell," Smith said.
He said he'd want to be the producer — not writer or director — of a Fett film, and he'd hire "Captain America" director Joe Johnston, who has worked with "Star Wars" mastermind George Lucas.
Smith also likes the concept of a "greatest hits" package."Here's the young Han Solo, man. Here's the young wookiee, Chewbacca. … Oh, he crossed paths with Vader at one other point." Smith said. "That's what the fans would love to see, like a mash-up kind of thing of all the favorite elements."
Smith has plenty of work without taking on dream projects. He's producing the second season of "Comic Book Men" on AMC, a movie-centric series called "Spoilers" for Hulu and creating dozens of podcasts. Coming up next year is "Hit Somebody," which he says will be his final feature film.
"It's the last one I'm going to direct. I'm going to concentrate on podcasting," he said.Tickets for "An Evening with Kevin Smith" go on sale Monday for current Star Wars Celebration attendees and on July 2 to the general public. Prices range from $15 to $75. For more information, go to StarWarsCelebration.com.