back to article Empire Strikes Back director Kershner dies at 87

Irvin Kershner, the man who directed what was arguably the best of the six Star Wars films — The Empire Strikes Back — died over the weekend at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87. "I knew that it was going to be a dark film, with more depth to the characters than in the first film," Kershner told Vanity Fair about Empire just …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Who other than George Lucas would argue that Empire Strikes Back wasn't the best Star Wars film?


    1. thecakeis(not)alie


      "What did you like better, Jedi or the Empire Strikes back?"



      "Empire had the better ending! I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It end on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is; a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a buncha muppets."


      And yes; Empire was the best of the three Star Wars films. I really wish that they would hurry up and make the three prequels and the three sequels. Preferably without Lucas' involvement. I'm hungry for more than three Star Wars films!

      (Also, is The Matrix ever going to get a sequel?)

      1. Thecowking

        They'll never make a Matrix sequel

        The original had such a wonderfully open and uplifting ending that any sequel would only be a disappointment.

        They're smarter than that.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He did 'Never say never again'

    Maybe he wasn't so good after all.

  3. Rombizio


    ..."what was arguably the best of the six Star Wars films ..."??? It was the best. Period. He should have directed all of them and done the screenplay as well. And written the story too. The original trilogy is light years better than that 3 pieces of crap people call "new movies" and Empire Strikes Back is the best of the 3 original ones.

  4. Lush At The Bar


    ...the Force be with you Irvin. Always.

  5. Dick Emery

    Sad indeed

    Lucas has had 3 good movies (One collaberative). THX 1138, Star Wars and Indiana Jones with Spielberg. Everything else he has touched has been crap.

    Kershner took the second installment and made it the best of the Star Wars saga. If Lucas had directed I am sure we would have had to suffer more Ewok and Jar Jar annoyances and it probably would have flopped.

    1. Blake St. Claire

      THX1138? Are you crazy?

      Perhaps you mean the short he did at UCLA?

      I can't stay awake through the feature-length THX, it's so bad.

      American Graffiti is a classic IMO. That's still only three good movies, and 3½ if you count the THX short.

      1. Blake St. Claire

        make that USC

        not UCLA

      2. Daniel B.


        I actually liked that one. It feels like someone mated Brave New World and 1984 with "current" (70's) tech. Yes, it's sloooooow, but it is kinda good.

  6. nsld

    jar jar binks could be made tolerable

    If Obe Wan Kenobi came back and sliced and diced him with a light sabre within seconds of his first appearance.

  7. Sooty

    I disagree!

    "although it would have taken a cinematic genius to have raised the character of Jar-Jar Binks from insufferable to merely tolerable"

    It wouldn't have taken a cinematic genius to have Liam Neeson cut his head off the moment he opened his mouth the first time!

  8. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Yo Robo

    Just don't mention Robocop 2. Not one of his most successful films.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kershner also directed Robocop 2

    which manages the peculiar feat of being a very good imitation of Paul Verhoeven

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Irvin, come back!!

    I wish Irvin Kirshner had directed the last 3 Star Wars movies. Especially whenever I recall dialouge like "I'm haunted by the kiss you never should have given me!" (Trust me Anakin, you're not the only one who is haunted) or the awful "oooo, no, I love you more!" exchange from Revenge of the Sith.

    And of the first trilogy, I always used to joke that you can't feel that any evil galactic empire whose elite troops can be taken out by stone-age teddy bears isn't in fact a rotten structure just waiting for the first woodpecker to come along and knock it over :) But the second trilogy balances that out by the spectacle of Jar-Jar Binks giving the seminal speech that convinces the Senate to introduce police powers :) Maybe the Star Wars opening should begin with "A long, long time ago in a really dumb galaxy, far, far away"

    Lastly, I hear there is a version of the Phantom Menace out on the internet somewhere that has been edited to remove all the scenes where Jar-Jar speaks or does anything. Now that's a movie that might be worth watching.

    1. Ian 55
      Thumb Up

      There are several

      "The Phantom Edit" is perhaps the most famous, but they're all proof you can polish a turd. Google 'fanedit' to find various fora for obsessives. There are Star Wars edits where Greedo never fires, never mind shoots second.

      I keep looking at Robocop 2 and thinking that somewhere in that mess is a worthy successor to the original.

  11. Wintermute

    The Prequels are so bad that they demand an explanation

    If you've ever wondered what is wrong with the prequel Star Wars movies, I have found someone who has taken great care to explain it all:

    I recommend that you throw away your copies of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones and watch these instead. In fact, although I could not imagine ever suffering through either movie ever again, I have rewatched the reviews. Now that's something.

    1. KnucklesTheDog


      I would recommend those reviews to any star wars fan, his scene by scene deconstruction makes you realise not only were they bad, but also much of the plot makes no sense at a level I'd not considered before. Plus the documentary footage where you see them watching the end result with Lucas for the first time says it all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I liked

        the constant cuts between lucas justifying jar jar, by saying its a kids film & then going to scenes of all the senators dully talking about trade negotiations.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Pedant alert: Actually THX1138 was not only a short,...

    it was a full blown movie starring Donald Pleasance and Robert Duvall. The novelisation was way better than the movie, you got to delve more into the concepts of a drugged and monitored populace, abuse of power, love triangles, desire to escape, etc.

    1. Jason Hall

      Blake's 7 anybody?

      So did Lucas just copy the story behind Blake's 7 on one of his trips to the UK, but not have the cash to build a big spaceship yet?

  13. Colin Brett

    What happened to episodes 7, 8 and 9?

    The most annoying thing I ever saw on the Internet was on the official website.

    A few weeks after the launch of Episode 1, I checked There was a button for Ep 1, two blank buttons (presumably for 2 and 3) then buttons for 4, 5 and 6. Just beside those were three more blank buttons which I assumed were for the sequel trilogy. Two weeks later, I checked the site again and these blank buttons had gone.

    Will there ever be a sequel trilogy or has George Lucas ruled it out completely?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      episodes 7-9

      A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away---

      When there was only one Star Wars movie.

      When Greedo shot first.

      When Jabba the Hutt wasn't a giant CGI slug.

      Before there was a World Wide Web and a website.

      Lucas told us that he had plans for nine movies.

      Indeed, what happened to episodes 7, 8, and 9. Then again, if there's any chance they'd suck as much as 1, 2, and 3, then forget it.

      1. PatientOne

        episodes 7,8,9...

        As I understand it, they will never be produced. The reason being too much has already been released that continues the story beyond Jedi that there's no real room for Lucas to continue.

        Leia marries Han, has 2 kids. Luke falls to the dark side, but not really: It's a clone and Luke comes back to fight himself. The dwindling empire isn't dead, it's still kicking and finding new evil to throw at the new republic. The books are out and have been for some time, and more material is produced yearly. Not a lot of room for Lucas to work on something new unless he moves on from Luke and goes with Luke's son. Or daughter. I don't think either have appeared in the books and the like. Then again, I stopped reading the books because they were getting a bit irritating. And then came episodes 1-3...

        Anyhow, just popping out to the YT2400 for my jacket. TTFN.

    2. Steven Gray

      Well, according to Mad Magazine in 1982...

      ...there were supposed to be 12 episodes.

      The spoof article is reproduced here:

  14. bexley


    Well done for making the best star wars film and rip.

    To return to topic, dear god no, no more star wars movies please. If Lucas managed to fuck up 3 new ones what makes you think he wont fuck up another 3.

    Unless they get guy richie or someone like that to direct them then dont bother

    snatch wars

  15. Matt Hawkins
    Thumb Up

    Police Powers

    "But the second trilogy balances that out by the spectacle of Jar-Jar Binks giving the seminal speech that convinces the Senate to introduce police powers"

    To be fair this is the most realistic bit in the film.

    A flimsy argument by someone the whole planet hates, resulting in draconian police powers being enforced on the civilian population.

    Happened in at least two countries I can think of !

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