Star Wars fans got some good news just prior to the July 4th holiday. Apparently J.J. Abrams invited Kevin Smith (director of Clerks, Chasing Amy, etc… and a notorious Star Wars fan) to the U.K. Pinewood Studios Star Wars set. There Smith was allowed to see what was going on, and since his June 30th visit to the set he has provided further evidence that J.J. Abrams is on the right track with the latest episode in the Star Wars universe.

For instance, Smith hasn’t held back and enthusiastically described walking the set as a “f–king magical” experience. Smith went on to single out not just our old favorite’s wandering around the set but, and just as importantly, the overwhelming lack of CGI usage evident on set:

“What I saw, I absolutely loved. It was tactile — it was real. It wasn’t a series of f–king green screens and blue screens in which later a bunch of digital characters would be added. IT was there, it was happening…. I saw uniforms, I saw artillery I haven’t seen since I was a kid. I saw them shooting an actual sequence in a set that was real. I walked across the set, there were explosions. And it looked like a shot right out of a ‘Star Wars’ movie.”

Sounds very good to me. Keep it up J.J. I have high hopes you will produce something light years better than the wreckage of Episodes I and II (which were dreadful and only marginally redeemed by a slightly better Episode III). In the meantime, here are some oldie but goodie candid shots tweeted out earlier this year from the one and only Peter Mayhew, whom I met at Comic Con a few years back. By the way, other than the first pic (including Carrie Fisher’s stunt double) you should know everyone in these pics (okay I will give you Stuart Freeborn in the Yoda pic) otherwise if you don’t then you should ask yourself; Star Wars fan are you?

Carrie Fisher and Stunt Double Lucas and Star Destroyer Carrie Fisher Star Wars Set Stuart Freeborn and Yoda Harrison Ford Anthony Daniels Partial 3PO Lucas and Obi Wan Star Wars Set Irvin Kirshner and Mark Empire Set Production Meeting Taking a Break on Star Wars Set Carrie and Warwick Davis Anthony Daniels Carrie and Peter Harrison Peter Carrie and Anthony Billie Dee Harrison and Carrie Empire Set Lucas directing on Star Wars Set Harrison and Hammel Carrie and Harrison Empire Set Carrie Fisher Napping Empire Set Vadar and Luke Empire Set Fisher and Hammel