"The world has lost a great director and one of the most genuine people I've had the pleasure of knowing," Lucas said in a statement sent to E! News. "Irvin Kershner was a true gentleman in every sense of the word."
"It is because of the emotions stirred in Empire that the entire series takes on a mythic quality that resonates back to the first [movie] and ahead to the third," critic Roger Ebert wrote in a four-star review, published upon the sequel's 1997 re release. "This is the heart."