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“Empire” Director Irvin Kershner Passes Away

This isn’t easy for me to say publicly, but I’m a Star Wars nerd. I’ve kind of denied it for years, playing it off like I was just a “fan.” But like it or not, it’s a part of me. He-Man, Transformers, GI Joe, WWF wrestling, these things came and went in my youth, but Star Wars stuck with me, even in the dormant years between 1984 and 1996. I painfully watched not one, but two horrible made-for-tv Ewok movies (one even starred Wilfred Brimley!), read the first two trilogies of the expanded universe and even bought a few “Insider” magazines to hear about upcoming projects (that was pre-internet, before information moved at lightning speed.)

So, it was tough to hear about the passing of director Irvin Kershner. And one might be saying, “Well, this isn’t George Lucas!” No, that’s true. But, for me anyway, he may have been even better. Yes, Lucas created the universe, but Kershner gave it a soul in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Kershner allowed the actors’ performances to dictate the pace, style and heart of the movie, then flooded it with special effects, instead of doing it the other way around. That’s what makes “Empire” so special.

Specifically, Kershner changed several things in the original script and not all the changes were welcomed by Lucas. Check out these clips below, the rigid acting in this deleted scene shows just how important directors can be to film making and the interview illustrates his creativity and humor.

Even though the entire trilogy has been a good “friend” over the years,  “The Empire Strikes Back” has always been my best “friend.” Whenever I was sick or feeling low, I would pop in “Empire.” For whatever reason, it gives me comfort like a warm blanket or a re-heated piece of pizza on a lazy Saturday afternoon (probably a bad analogy for anyone who didn’t grow up getting pizza every Friday night.)

The more I see and read about Irvin Kershner, the more I like him. This quote that he told his son in the months leading up to his death is one of the more inspirational things I’ve heard. “You have to throw yourself into things. There is no second way. Passion gives you energy.”

Or “Do or do not. There is no try.”  Yoda to Luke in “The Empire Strikes Back.”


Thank you Irvin Kershner for creating something that will be with me forever.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Star Wars and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to ““Empire” Director Irvin Kershner Passes Away”

  1. phoebe says:

    ahhh this made me tear up….well said!!..:)

  2. andrew says:

    well written, as always. oh yeah the pizza every friday night. sometimes little c or may be the charlton house of pizza.

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