From The Lord of the Rings to lightsabers, Stephen Colbert knows his nerd culture. Whether he's battling James Franco over Tolkien trivia or explaining the new Star Wars lightsaber in detail, he has never shied away from displaying his geekier side to his audiences. By now, it's become part of his public persona. Not only is the man a renowned political satirist and master of improv comedy, he's also an icon for nerds everywhere, showing the world that it is actually possible to be cool, and at the same time, know the intimate history of the planet Coruscant (the capital of the Republic from Star Wars, for the muggles reading).
Here are 15 times Stephen Colbert hilariously geeked out over Star Wars.
15 When he and Jon Stewart battled for the title of biggest Star Wars nerd
In this hilarious clip, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert battle over who's a bigger Star Wars nerd (because why the heck not?). They begin by engaging in a trivia contest, racing to name which cell number Princess Leia was held hostage in, but when they find that they are equally matched in their knowledge, they resort to more drastic measures, battling each other using lightsabers and The Force (has there ever been a nerdier sentence?). Eventually, Stephen cedes the title to Jon after he dons (and rocks) a full-blown Princess Leia costume. As Stephen walks out of the room, Jon calls out to him, telling him, "I love you." In perfect Han Solo fashion, Colbert replies with a straight-faced, "I know." (Cue the nerdgasm).
14 When Stephen recalled his Star Wars affair
After Carrie Fischer (RIP, queen) admitted that she and Harrison Ford had an affair while filming Star Wars, Stephen followed suit, admitting to his own sci-fi fling. In this clip, he reflects upon his time with one of the members of the Cantina Band from Star Wars. He pulls out a photo of his alien lover, pointing to the instrument in the creature's hands. "Trust me," he warns his friend, "That thing he's holding—it ain't a flute. But, boy, could he play it." Oh, TMI, Colbert. And it only gets more graphic, as Stephen tells the story of how the two met. "One night, I was in the Cantina and I just heard the most beautiful sounds coming from the back of the room. I turned around and there he was, looking like a beautiful upside down testicle." How...cute?
13 When he seethed about the early British release date for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
In this adorable clip, Stephen Colbert expresses his anger over the British release date for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Way back when the first movie was released in the 1970s, Stephen actually won tickets to see a pre-screening, experiencing the space sensation that would go on to dominate the cinemas for decades a good three weeks before it opened nationwide. Thus, as the first Star Wars fan (his words), he was incredibly excited to be one of the first in line in New York City on the opening day of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, Colbert's anticipation was spoiled when he discovered that the film was opening a day earlier in Britain. "The idea of those lucky chimney sweeps sitting down in the cinema with their warm beer and a bucket of horse teeth," Colbert seethes, "So mad this makes me, speaking like Yoda I am!"
12 When he introduced the new character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Stephen Colbert is never one to miss an opportunity to talk about Star Wars on The Late Show. In this segment, he gives his take on the latest rumours about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Fans had heard the sound of heavy breathing in the trailer, and rumours had started to circulate about the potential return of Darth Vader. Poking fun at this idea, Colbert reveals what he's excited about in the new trailer. "I'm way more excited about another character who you never see but only hear," he tells the audience. He then debuts an edited trailer containing a strange blue character (a mix of Avatar and the Grinch), which he claims is the voice behind the siren sounds in the new trailer. "It's the exciting new Star Wars character, Whooping Willy!" Colbert exclaims.
11 When he perfectly addressed the controversy around the new lightsaber
In this piece of nerd porn (trust us, we would know), Colbert goes full geek, explaining the details of the new Star Wars lightsaber. When the trailer for The Force Awakens first premiered, there was a lot of hoopla about Kylo Ren's lightsaber, which had two beams coming out at the base of the saber, forming a kind of lightsaber hilt, or a "manage a saber," as Colbert puts it. Many fans had some issues with this model, but Colbert takes it upon himself to straighten the problem out, offering a very detailed description of the (fake) science behind the design. As he explains it, "People think it's actually three different plasma beams, but it's all one. The long beam comes out and the two smaller beams are still attached to it. Any Padawan knows that!" Yes, Master Colbert.
10 When he gushed about the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
When it comes to issues of importance, Stephen Colbert has his priorities straight. In this clip, he makes sure to cover the biggest news of the week. "It has been a crazy week for the election... Both parties might be headed towards contested conventions," Colbert recaps, "So let's get straight to the big news: There's a new Star Wars trailer!" He then gushes about the trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for a good minute, highlighting his favourite parts of the teaser. "It's got everything. Stormtroopers, imperial walkers, that droid that's just a box with legs," he exclaims, "It's got the Star Wars logo, people standing in hallways with fluorescent lighting and, of course, the Death Star, which the empire just cant stop building for some reason!"
9 When he sent a hilarious message to George Lucas about lightsabers
In this hilarious bit from one of Stephen Colbert's opening monologues at The Late Show, Colbert expresses anguish at an exchange he had with George Lucas back on his old show, The Colbert Report. Apparently, George Lucas used the name "laser swords" over lightsabers in the first draft of Star Wars, and still prefers to use this alternate name for them to this day. So, ever the respectful host, when Lucas guested on Colbert's show, Stephen decided to honour Lucas's preference, and asked him during a commercial break whether he'd like to have a laser sword fight. George agreed, but right before they came back on air, he leaned in to tell Colbert, "You should know—most people call them lightsabers." But before Colbert could tell Lucas that he knew that, they were on air again and he couldn't say anything. In this video, Colbert sends a message to George: "I knew they were called lightsabers!"
8 When he helped J. J. Abrams recruit Harrison Ford for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
In this hilarious clip, Colbert reveals that he actually played a major(ly fake) role in securing Harrison Ford for the Star Wars sequels. Debuting never-before-seen (because it's fake) footage from a midtown hotel lobby, Colbert shows a clip of Harrison Ford and J. J. Abrams, with a desperate J. J. trying to convince Harrison to return as Han Solo for the future Star Wars films. Harrison seems against the idea, telling J. J., "I don't go back, man, I go forward" (did we really need an Indiana Jones 4 then, Harrison?). However, when Colbert appears in full Han Solo costume to audition for the role, Harrison starts to come around. "Is this really an option?" Harrison asks, as J. J. appears to warm up to the idea of Colbert as Han. Abrams admits that, if Harrison doesn't return, he might have to consider other options. When Colbert reassures Harrison that he'll dedicate his performance to the memory of Harrison Ford, this pushes Ford over the edge, and he angrily stomps away—but not before telling Abrams that he'll take the role. Waiting until Harrison is gone, Abrams then quietly thanks Colbert, revealing that the two had played Harrison like a B'omarr pipe organ.
7 When he was caught in a crisis of faith, between Star Wars and the Catholic Church
In this bit from The Late Show, Stephen Colbert discusses the Catholic Church's feelings towards Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "I'm a Catholic, so of course I get all my movie reviews from L'Osservatore Romano," Colbert tells the audience, before revealing that the Vatican had been less than enthusiastic about the film. Apparently, the Vatican actually gave a better review to Spotlight, the award-winning film about journalists who investigated scandal in the Catholic Church."[They called The Force Awakens] confused and hazy, even adding that the blockbuster overdoes the darkness," Colbert reveals, clearly not very happy with the news. "I'm now caught in a crisis of faith between deeply held beliefs embedded in me since childhood...and the Catholic Church," Colbert jokes.
6 When he invited fellow nerds to join him and J. J. Abrams at a nerd-off
In this cute clip, Stephen Colbert invites both "nerds and nerd-sympathizers" to join him and J. J. Abrams at a nerd-off. "Hello, internet," Colbert begins, "How are you doing? Nah, it's okay, you don't need to put on your pants for me" (how did he know?!). He then sums up what the upcoming nerd-off between him and J. J. would entail. "We'll geek out about all of our favourite nerdy topics: sci-fi, science-fi, sci-fiction and of course Stars, both War and Trek," Colbert explains. He then throws in a bonus: "J. J. directed movies for each of those franchises, so he's the only one qualified to say which characters would actually get it on in your fan-fiction," Colbert says, hilariously adding, "I hope it's Uhura and C-3PO. Think of their beautiful golden babies!"
5 When he and Carrie Fisher revealed other Star Wars secrets
When Stephen Colbert geeks out about Star Wars, it's a sight to behold, but when he geeks out about Star Wars with Carrie Fisher, it's a whole other level of awesome. In this clip, the two reveal startling(ly fake) facts about the Star Wars films, some of which are as cringe-worthy as they are hilarious. "We had a lot of pranks on the set," Carrie admits, "One time, we cut off Mark Hamill's hand and they decided to keep that in the movie." So that's why it looked so realistic! Colbert then joins in. "Turns out it took Peter Mayhew nine hours to grow out all that Chewbacca hair," he jokes, and Carrie goes on to reveal perhaps the most cringe-worthy secret of all: "Mark Hamill actually did this weird thing where he made us smell his lightsaber and guess where it had been." #ChildhoodRuined.
4 When he helped us dodge Star Wars spoilers with #SpoilerSpoilers
In this clip aired just before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theatres, Stephen Colbert launches a movement to defend fans from unwanted spoilers. "Star Wars is going to generate a ton of spoilers, and they're about to hit us like we're womp rats just sitting here in Beggar's Canyon," Colbert jokes. In efforts to diminish the effects of the inevitable Star Wars plot leaks, Colbert decides to turn into the skid, starting a new hashtag on Twitter. "We must flood the national conversation with fake spoilers," Colbert explains, going on to encourage viewers to create fake spoilers on Twitter under the hashtag #SpoilerSpoilers to dilute the strength of legitimate leaks. He then launches the hashtag himself, tweeting out a variety of hilariously ridiculous "spoilers," the crowning jewel of which is the (fake) revelation that, in The Force Awakens, Ewoks are hunted to extinction due to their deliciousness. (They probably tasted like chicken).
3 When he guessed the entire plot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
In this hilarious clip from way back in 2015 (AKA a long time ago in a democracy that seems far, far away), Stephen Colbert gushes over the newest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "Seeing the Millennium Falcon again...I got this combination of weeping and giggling that I call geepling," he admits, clearly smitten with the newest teaser. He then proceeds to take the hints from the trailer and guess the entire plot of the new movie, claiming authority as "the original Star Wars fan" (this may actually be true, since Colbert saw the first movie before its designated release date). After he takes us through a pretty epic-sounding string of plot possibilities, he realizes the problem with his perceptiveness, "Now I've spoiled the movie for myself," he realizes, sadly shaking his head.
2 When he critiqued Covergirl's Star Wars ads
In this clip, Stephen Colbert critiques the way companies capitalized on the fan fever surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens in their marketing campaigns. "I have made a solid pledge to buy and use any product that has a Star Wars tie-in," Colbert admits, showing the audience a Luke Skywalker bathroom set he bought in 1977. However, Colbert can't help but be a bit critical when products with no relation to Star Wars whatsoever utilize the movie's popularity in their marketing. Showing a Covergirl ad that presented shades of eyeshadow labeled as the dark side and the light side, Colbert skeptically remarks, "Oh, the forced marketing integration is strong with this one." To close, Colbert decides to engage in some questionable marketing of his own. "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away...there were eggs," he says, eating eggs off of a Star Wars decorated plate. "May the fork be with you," he hilariously closes.
1 When he posted green screen footage of himself goofing around with a lightsaber so that fans could create hilarious videos
Back in the days of The Colbert Report, Stephen played the pundit character of Stephen Colbert. But, while playing the character, Stephen had difficulty hiding some of the stronger aspects of his personality, including his love of Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings (the nerd is strong in this one). So, Colbert merged his own interests with those of his character, which allowed him to geek out as much as he wanted on the show, while staying completely in character. This resulted in many hilarious(ly nerdy) shenanigans, including the geeky contest that resulted in the above video. Basically, Colbert rolled around with a lightsaber in front of a green screen and asked fans to create funny videos using the footage. As a result, we now know that this video of Stephen fighting a rancor is everything we ever needed in life.