RIP Irvin Kershner, Director of “The Empire Strikes Back”


Irvin Kershner, director of The Empire Strikes Back, has died at 87 after a long battle with lung cancer. Considered by many fans, myself included, to be one of the strongest films in the saga, The Empire Strikes Back was darker than Star Wars: A New Hope, ending with a series of major setbacks for the heroes: Han Solo entombed in carbonite, Luke Skywalker temporarily defeated by Darth Vader and the fabulous Millennium Falcon in the hands of shady entrepreneur Lando Calrissian. It was a gutsy move for Kershner and series creator George Lucas, but their gamble ultimately paid off when The Empire Strikes Back became the highest grossing film of 1980, the year of its release.

If you love The Empire Strikes Backs as much as I do, you should really take a look at The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, an exhaustive look behind the scenes of one of science fiction’s most enduring films, written by Lusasfilm ltd. executive editor J.W. Rinzler. Stuffed with production notes, set photos, concept drawing and interviews with all of the major players, including Irvin Kershner, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is a fan feast of detail, and perfect for anyone who loves the saga. I ordered a copy for my brother-in-law, but as soon as I can I’m getting a copy for my own collection.

Get the best stories in your inbox, weekly. Any sufficiently advanced newsletter technology is indistinguishable from magic.