This is the 38th post in a daily series. Read about it here and see the list of previous posts here. A new post about “Star Wars” will be posted every day for 40 days leading up to the franchise’s 40th birthday on May 25th.
A few years ago, Adam Scott appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Among the things he and Kimmel discussed was his love for “Star Wars.” Scott told the story of how he had written a letter to Mark Hamill to invite him to his birthday party when he was a kid. Further in the interview, he explained how he got choked up when Hamill replied to him on Twitter…
…and how “I lost my mind” when Harrison Ford nodded at him on the street.
In other words, Scott endearingly demonstrated that he was a huge nostalgic nerd. He was one of us.
Earlier this month, Scott was on “Jimmy Kimmy Live” to discuss the TV show “Big Little Lies.” In the course of the interview, guest host Kristen Bell pointed out that it was May 4, and thus it was Star Wars Day. Bell brought up the previous Kimmel interview, and how Scott had sincerely believed Hamill could come, but was not disappointed when Hamill was a no-show.
Then, in the middle of the story, Scott and Bell were interrupted by an the unmistakable opening notes of the “Star Wars” theme song. The camera focused on Scott, frozen like a deer in headlights.
From backstage, Hamill came out to greet Scott while wielding a green lightsaber. Scott, visibly shaking, could not hold back his excitement, releasing a stream of bleeped-out cuss words. Hamill apologized for missing Scott’s birthday, and a stammering Scott had trouble speaking. Finally, all he could say was, “This really is one of the best moments of my life.”
Scott reacted in the way most lifelong “Star Wars” fans would react to meeting Mark Hamill. That Scott himself is famous and has been around Hollywood long enough that he has surely met several famous people did not seem to matter. Even he could not help but to be a fanboy when meeting Luke Skywalker.
It was an adorable scene in which a celebrity could arrange for a fan to meet one of his long-time heroes and make a childhood dream come true. And the fact that the fan was someone who was famous himself highlighted the importance of “Star Wars” in pop culture.
It was a wonderful moment, and it helped us see that now matter how famous he was, Scott could not divorce himself from his childhood. In that moment, we got to see that despite his fame, money, and success, Scott is not that different from the rest of us who geek out on “Star Wars.” We’ve gotten to see him on “Big Little Lies,” “Parks and Recreation,” or “Party Down,” but the Adam Scott was saw on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that night a version of himself we “Star Wars” fans could instantly recognize.
No matter how much we age, no matter how much time passes, “Star Wars” returns us to when we first saw it. For many of us, that is our childhood, no matter when that is. For my older brothers, that’s the late ’70s and early ’80s. For me and my dear friend George, that’s the late ’80s and early ’90s. With each of them, I have spent hundreds of hours discussing and dissecting the “Star Wars” franchise. Those discussions have gotten more sophisticated and intellectual as we have gotten older.
But our adult selves melt the instance we see the Lucasfilm logo or hear that main theme. I’ve watched the movies with each of them several times in the last 30-plus years, and it always plays out the same way. We default to our younger selves, in awe as if we are watching the movie for the first time, goosebumps on our neck as if we have never heard that majestic score by the London Symphony Orchestra. In reality, we’ve heard that song hundreds — if not thousands — of times.
Scott demonstrated on television in front of millions of people that he was the same way. For all his experience, could not fight it.
And we would not have had it any other way.