Excepting a blurry, leaked image of the Millennium Falcon, there’s been few tangible details released from J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: Episode VII set.
So, on June 30, when Clerks director Kevin Smith posted an Instagram photo teasing that he had visited the set at the U.K.’s Pinewood Studios, Star Wars fans begged him for any hint of what Abrams has in store for George Lucas‘ universe.
Smith — a dedicated Star Wars fan who earlier wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter detailing his dream for the new film — quickly dashed hopes by noting that he had signed a nondisclosure agreement. But he liked what he saw: “All I can share are this old Bantha Tracks subscriber’s tears and snotty nose of joy. The Force is WITH this movie.”
The Instagram post left plenty of unanswered questions. And the director has addressed a few of them, speaking at length during an appearance at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland on Saturday.
“[Abrams] had sent me an email out of the blue while they were shooting in Abu Dhabi last month,” Smith said, explaining the Star Wars invite.
“So we go to the set and they’re actually shooting, and they’re shooting — and this is what I can’t tell you what they were shooting — but what I saw I absolutely loved,” he said. “It was tactile, it wasn’t a series of f—ing green- and bluescreens in which later on digital characters would be added. It was there, it was happening.”
“I saw uniforms, I saw artillery that I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I saw them shooting an actual sequence in a set that is real — I walked across the set, there were explosions — and it looked like a shot right out of a f—ing Star Wars movie,” he said. Smith also got a tour of “Stage M,” where he saw the full-scale Millennium Falcon and stepped inside to walk around.
Abrams is “building a tactile world, a world you can touch. And he’s replicating it with all the love of somebody that has the world’s greatest collection of Star Wars figures,” Smith gushed.
Smith was a guest of honor at the Swiss film festival, which runs July 4-12. Video of the event is here (NSFW language included), via Slashfilm. The Star Wars discussion begins after the 35-minute mark.