We are remiss in not mentioning that Irvin Kershner, (above left) director of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, died over the weekend. Kersh, as he was known, was the last person ever known to argue with George Lucas, as when the director decreed that Harrison Ford’s ad libbed “I know,” was a better line than “I love you, too.” Although Kershner was hailed for years as the man who made Star Wars the epic legend it was to become, he only only directed a bare handful of films afterwards–the Frank Miller-penned ROBOCOP 2, and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. Fifty-seven when he made EMPIRE, he settled into a long, comfortable old age after directing the movie that helped make nerd-dom the force it was to become.
While perusing obits, we came across this quote:
“When I finally accepted the assignment, I knew that it was going to be a dark film, with more depth to the characters than in the first film,” he said. “It took a few years for the critics to catch up with the film and to see it as a fairy tale rather than a comic book.”
which shows a bit how times have changed. Would any director now dare use the “comic book” term as one of castigation? If anything, “fairy tale” would be more negative.
Bonus interview link — it’s nice that Kershner lived to enjoy the 30th anniversary celebrations for his masterwork.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.