Like most of us, Simon Pegg has a story about the first time he saw the original Star Wars, a moment he looks back on fondly more than 37 years later. Unlike most of us, his Star Wars journey has taken him from a childhood obsession to a child-like playfulness in his chosen profession. By now, you may know that Pegg has a cameo role in the J.J. Abrams film as Unkar Plutt, a deceitful junk dealer that plays a pivotal role in unfolding the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But Pegg also had another important behind-the-scenes part to play, a part that is at the current height of his fascination with all things Star Wars.
Now, in an article written for Empire magazine, Pegg reflects on his 37-year-long journey from Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope to his current hand in the box-office record smashing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. You might think that the opportunity to act as a sounding board for Abrams, who not only directed Episode VII but will act as an executive producer on the remaining films, would top the list of Star Wars experiences for Pegg, but as you read along with his journey from childhood to adulthood, you get the sense that the nostalgia of the experience was worth more to him than another step along his career path.
Pegg starts out much like any Star Wars fanboy who had the chance to be a part of his beloved universe would:
In May 25, 1977, some ten months before I would eventually see it myself, Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, then simply Star Wars, was released in just 42 theatres across the US. Exactly 37 years later, the day before I’m due on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, then simply Episode VII, I scare the bejesus out of J.J. Abrams by screeching dramatically at the fact that his suite, at the Abu Dhabi hotel complex we are staying in, is number 37.
He then takes readers on a lovely adventure through time as he recounts his first time seeing Star Wars, how that film became a formative experience for him, and how his obsession was shared by ever-increasing circles of family, friends, and complete strangers. The really cool bits from Pegg’s tale obviously involve his time spent behind the scenes of The Force Awakens:
And now I am standing on the set of the Millennium Falcon (the entrance corridor with the smuggling compartments), holding Chewbacca’s bowcaster, quietly “pew-pewing” to myself, waiting for Han and Chewie to arrive on set and make that entrance. I’ve been on a number of film sets over the years, witnessed a number of cool moments, but I have never seen so many people gathered around the monitors as on that day.
While Pegg has plenty of funny and moving anecdotes about meeting the cast of the original and ongoing films, the coolest part for me was seeing how his lifelong fandom has culminated in not only a cameo within one episode, but a creative hand in guiding the universe itself:
I am on set as a consultant, acting as a sounding board for J.J., who is making tweaks to the already wonderful screenplay. My computer is open in Final Draft and, at the top of my screen, the scene heading reads, “INT. S-REDACTED-R — DAY”. I hear a familiar voice and turn to see Mark walking onto set, looking trim and cool, with a beard that he grumbles about but makes him look handsome and Jedi-like. When they shot Luke placing his robotic hand on R2’s head, a moment glimpsed in the trailer, I sat at the monitors with Mark’s family and marvelled at the huge significance of the moment.
For much more from Pegg on his Star Wars journey, be sure to check out his full article in Empire. And for more on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, take a look at some of our recent coverage provided at the links below:
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Toys Making Fans Ask, “Where’s Rey?”
- Will ‘The Force Awakens’ Success Convince Disney to Release Future ‘Star Wars’ Movies in December?
- Fantastic ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Set Photos Revealed by Cinematographer Dan Mindel
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: Official Images of Snoke and Maz Kanata Released
- Watch Collider’s Tribute to 2015 in Film
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Box Office Sinking ‘Titanic’ to Become #2 Movie of All Time