Irvin Kershner, director of one of the most successful sequels in the history of filmmaking, died last weekend in Los Angeles. He was 87.
Kershner’s ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ is widely considered to be the best of the Star Wars films. After George Lucas scored a huge hit with Star Wars in 1977, he recruited Kershner, his former professor at the University of Southern California, to direct the next film in 1980. Kershner had been a fan of Lucas’ student film THX 1138 and took on the challenge of following up Star Wars. The result was nothing short of legendary.
Two internet polls on Gamespot and MTGSalvation, respectively, show that more than 50% of people think ‘Empire’ was the best of all six Star Wars movies. The film introduced the world to the characters of Yoda and Lando Calrissian, and also included some of the most famous lines of the series, such as “I am your father” and “Do… or do not. There is no try.” In total, the film has grossed over $500 million worldwide since its release in 1980.
Besides the Empire Strikes Back, Kershner also directed the 1983 James Bond film ‘Never Say Never Again’, Robocop 2 in 1990, and a slew of other films and television shows.