About 3000 people cheered Kevin Smith as he walked onto the stage of Hall H on Friday night at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
"You guys are very sweet, but let's address the Bantha in the room," joked Smith, referring to the fact that his panel was scheduled immediately following the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" panel. At the end of that panel, J.J. Abrams invited all 6,500 audience members to a free Star Wars concert with him and the cast at a separate location -- and about 6480 of them took him up on the offer. The start of Smith's panel was delayed to allow the approximately 3,000 people who were queued up outside to get in.
Smith told the story of how he was backstage watching the panel, seeing all of his childhood heroes on stage, coming out on the floor and watching the behind-the-scenes footage that was screened, seeing the "holy trinity" of Luke, Leia, and Han Solo together in front of him, and seeing stormtroopers back stage.
"I was in bliss," said Smith. "And then right at the end J.J. goes 'Hey we're going to take everybody to a free Star Wars concert and everybody can come' -- and they all fucking went." People in the audience started booing and Smith responded, "To be honest, I was, myself, tempted to go, 'Well, fuck the Kevin Smith panel, let's go watch the Star Wars concert.' Every year I have a fear that I'm going to come out here in Hall H and everybody has left. Welcome to my nightmare."
He then thanked those that were in the room, knowing that those who stayed and those who came in were there because they wanted to be there.
The primary topic of the panel was Smith's new film "Yoga Hosers," the second in his "True North" trilogy which started with last year's "Tusk" and will finish with "Moose Jaws" ("It's 'Jaws' but with a moose"). "Yoga Hosers" spins off the two teenage girl convenient store clerks from "Tusk," played by Smith's daughter Harley Smith and Johnny Depp's daughter Lily-Rose Depp, into their own "rubber monster" movie as they battle an ancient evil presence threatening their party plans. Johnny Depp also reprises his "Tusk" role of Detective Guy Lapointe in "Yoga Hosers." The film also features Haley Joel Osment, Tyler Posey ("Teen Wolf"), Justin Long, Adam Brody, Jason Mewes and Stan Lee.
Smith recalled the day Johnny Depp walked up to him after spending the day on the set of "Tusk" with Smith and the two girls. "You and me should retire and live off the two girls," said Depp.
Smith replied, "Yeah that's an interesting idea. One of us can do that because one of us owns an island."
Smith said Depp had such a great time on "Tusk" playing Guy Lapointe that he told Smith he would love to play the character again. When Smith finished the script for "Yoga Hosers," he wanted to get Depp's blessing to offer Lily-Rose a starring role. He texted Depp and asked if he was free to talk. The phone rang a few minutes later.
"It's him and he proceeds to do the entire opening monologue from 'Tusk' in character," said Smith. "I go, 'hello,' and he says, 'My name is Guy Lapointe...' -- and he launches into it. A perfect fucking rendition of it, man. I didn't even interrupt him. I was just smiling the whole time. When he was done I said, 'Oh my god, you remember the monologue?!' This is months later. He says, 'I can't stop doing this fucking voice. Everyone in my life hates me. I can't stop doing Guy Lapointe.' I say 'Well then you're going to love this.'"
Smith proceeded to tell him the story of "Yoga Hosers" and then brought up "Moose Jaws." "Can I get eaten?" asked Depp.
"Easily," said Smith.
"I'm in!" said Depp.
Smith said that, tonally, "Yoga Hosers" is closest to "Mallrats" in that it's PG-13. There's also no cursing, and Smith called it a tween girl version of "Bill and Ted." He then brought out Harley Smith to help introduce the trailer. "'Yoga Hosers' was a dream come true," she said. "A dream I didn't even know I had. I didn't even know I wanted to act until my dad said he wrote this movie. I had the time of my life doing it."
Harley also recalled one moment on set, which took place after she walked up to her father at the monitors after she had finished a scene. She said Smith was very proud of her and said, "I can't believe you came out of my balls" -- a comment that elicited laughter from the audience. Smith then brought out the monster from Yoga Hosers for the crowd to see. Think Pumpkinhead or Alien with a hockey mask.
Smith revealed a few other tidbits during the panel, including news that his AMC reality series "Comic Book Men" started filming its fifth season on July 9.
Smith plans to complete his unfinished Batman storyline -- "Batman: Bellicosity" -- for DC sometime this year. He says DC did not scrap it and that's he to blame for the years-long wait. It should be out next year.
"Hit Somebody," Smith's hockey-themed movie that has been in development for years, will now be a mini-series and will be done after "MallBrats."
Every cast member from "Mallrats" is on board for "MallBrats" except Ben Affleck. "I'm waiting until everything is locked down and the film is a reality," said Smith. "I'm not stupid enough to have written a part for him that's integral to the plot, but I wrote a very cool cameo for him that will take ten minutes to film. It can be shot anywhere in the world. He doesn't even need to come to the set and, if he does it, it will bring the house down."
"Yoga Hosers" will be released in 2016.