A true legend amongst filmmakers passed away yesterday at the age of 87. Irvin Kershner, director of The Empire Strikes Back, succumbed to the lung cancer he had fought for 3 years. Kershner was handpicked by George Lucas to follow up Star Wars, and all he did was make one of the greatest movies of all time. Empire is not just the best Star Wars movie, it may be the best space opera/sci-fi movies ever... EVER!!! The Hoth scenes, Yoda, Han & Leia, Luke finding out that Darth Vader was really Daddy Vader... c'mon man, there is nothing that comes close. Here is what George Lucas had to say about his friend and collaborators death (as per E! news):
"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."
Billy D. Williams called Kershner "... a mountain of a man" upon hearing about his death. Film critic Roger Ebert further cemented the legacy of Empire when he gave this review back in 1997 during a re-release of the film:
"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."
Kershner also directed Never Say Never Again, which brought Sean Connery back to the role of James Bond, and Robocop 2, the sequel to the Paul Verhooven classic. All in all, he was a talented filmmaker and all Star Wars freaks should commend him, because one must face facts: If Kirshner would have fucked up Empire, the franchise would have been over. Thanks to him, its 30 years and still going strong. You will be missed sir. Thank you for my favorite Star Wars movie ever. Good luck on the journey you have ahead.