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Star Wars Prequels Movies

Empire Strikes Back Director Irvin Kershner Dies at 87 132

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the they-come-in-threes dept.
bigredradio writes "Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner died at his home in Paris after suffering from illness, his goddaughter Adriana Santini confirmed to the AFP Monday. He was 87."
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Empire Strikes Back Director Irvin Kershner Dies at 87

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  • Sad day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bobnova (1435535) on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:48AM (#34375526)
    A sad day, that was the best movie of the series IMO. Too bad he didn't do more of them.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      They always go in threes. First LN, now IK. Who's #3?

    • Indeed. While they are all very cool, SW:TESB was, by far, the best of the lot. Lucas is good (well...okay at it, anyway) and they are all enjoyable to a certain degree, Episode 5 is the one I revisit most often.

      -JJS

      • I notice that these kinds of comments haven't spurred the massive debate (yet) that usually comes with them. Is it that those who disagree are staying silent out of respect for the recently deceased?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by catbutt (469582)
        As much as I wince at some of the worst scenes throughout the prequels, it always saddens me to see people slam on Lucas so much. Kirschner did a fine job directing ESB, but come on....Lucas is the visionary behind the whole thing and deserves a lot of credit for the amazingly rich world he built.
    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      I think the first movie ("Episode IV") was the best movie, but Kershner was the best director. The first movie was a bigger and more intense one, a true epic. The sequel was harder, though, like most sequels, and was directed by someone who wasn't the overall visionary - someone who hadn't thought up the movie for his entire life beforehand. The excellence of the directing in The Empire Strikes Back can be seen easily in contrast to the The Return of the Jedi and the next three, all of which are sequels. So

      • Re:Sad day (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540) on Monday November 29, 2010 @12:00PM (#34375696)

        The sequel was harder, though, like most sequels, and was directed by someone who wasn't the overall visionary - someone who hadn't thought up the movie for his entire life beforehand.

        Which is precisely why Empire Strikes Back ended up better: it's far easier to see and correct the flaws in someone else's vision than your own. That's why editors exist.

      • by Rhaban (987410)

        If Lucas gets someone else to direct the next Star Wars movies, he might possibly find someone as good as Kershner was, but he's got an even better chance of finding someone better than Lucas was.

        Future star wars movies could use a better director than Lucas, but what is really needed is that they find a better writer than Lucas. It should not be too difficult.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Enderandrew (866215)

        Honestly, I think Brian Singer has a hard-on for 70's sci-fi and could make new Star Wars films that look and feel like the original trilogy.

        The prequels look too clean and modern in contrast.

        Last I heard, Singer walked away from Logan's Run and wanted to do a new reboot on Battlestar Galactica, ignoring the new SyFy iteration, and stay closer to the original series.

        You could set a new trilogy 20-30 years in the future with Luke as the old master now. Harrison Ford has repeatedly said he would never go back

        • Frankly, I think we're going to have to wait for Lucas to kick the bucket, and then his heirs will, in the interests of maximizing profit, find someone more suitable. By then, I'll wager most of the original cast will be too old or dead, so you'll have to move to new characters.

          I think having Mark Hamil come back as Luke Skywalker, in a sort of Yoda position, would be cool. I can't see Ford returning, though. I'm not sure it would be necessary. You could always reference his death somehow.

          • The problem is that Lucas likes the paychecks he is getting from all the Star Wars novels he insists are canon (except when they aren't) and they have written 40+ years out I think at this point. The main characters (save for Chewbacca) are still alive. If he made new movies where Han had died, then his entire line of novels goes out the window, and all the revenue that comes from them.

            He could do it, but it would be stupid.

            I think his best bet would be to work with Zahn (who has made the most popular and b

        • I'd suggest a new Starlost, but Harlan Ellison would probably sue anyone involved with that.
          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            If you worried about Harlan Ellison suing, you would never get any science fiction movie made. He thinks he came up with *everything* first. Of course, he also thinks he's not a mediocre, overrated hack. Wrong on both counts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721)

        Episode V was the best because Lucas was as far from the process as possible. Lucas may be a visionary, but he also has the extraordinary tendency to poison that vision.

        I can only imagine how good Episode III would have been if someone like Kirshner had been driving the car.

    • Sad to lose the director of my favorite movie of all time (not just SW movie). I know that most wouldn't put it that high on their list, but it shined far above all the other movies in the best trilogy ever.... and I'm a bit of a SW nut :-)
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      As has been observed many times, Empire is the only one that felt truly mature and aimed at grown-ups. It's also the one Lucas had the LEAST to do with (no coincidence there, IMO). He should have been allowed to do Return. Maybe there would have been more of Luke and Vader, less of the teddy bears.

  • May the Force... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lag10 (667114)

    be with him.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by TED Vinson (576153)

      Lucasfilm has announced the December release of a 'new director's cut' of The Empire Strikes Back in which Mr. Kirshner will make a cameo appearance as a 'Force ghost' to honor his contribution. This is the perfect, must-have gift for Star Wars fans everywhere.

      Lucasfim has also announced the January 2011 release of a 'special, revised director's cut' of The Empire Strikes Back in which the Kirchner Force ghost will be played by Hayden Christensen...

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:49AM (#34375532)
    Will make him more powerful than ever.
  • by tedgyz (515156) * on Monday November 29, 2010 @11:52AM (#34375580) Homepage

    as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

  • NOOO!!!!!

    In all seriousness though, RIP Mr Kershner. May the force be with you.

  • by Uthic (931553)
    Condolences to his family (well ok, not that they'll read this). Sad that I have no idea what else he did besides TESB.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Sad that I have no idea what else he did besides TESB.

      Filmography
      Stakeout on Dope Street (1958)
      The Young Captives (1959)
      Face in the Rain (1963)
      The Luck of Ginger Coffey (1964)
      A Fine Madness (1966)
      The Flim-Flam Man (1967)
      Loving (1970)
      Up the Sandbox (1972)
      S*P*Y*S (1974)
      The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976)
      Raid on Entebbe (1977)
      Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)
      Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
      Never Say Never Again (1983)
      The Last Temptation of Christ (actor) (1988)
      RoboCop 2 (1990)
      SeaQuest DSV (TV se

  • Sounds like a good opportunity for Spike to get one more in before the end of the year.
  • I prefer to believe he is merely frozen in carbonite.

    That being said, I recall the AFI Tribute to George Lucas, where Lucas openly admitted he couldn't write dialog. And Harrison Ford blasted him for writing dialog. Lucas is very good at coming up with a basic story and innovating at effects. But he isn't great at getting acting performances from actors, nor writing dialog. He knew he had these limitations, and thusly he allowed others to write the scripts and direct on Empire and Return of the Jedi.

    So why

    • Kershner wasn't available. And the pressures on George Lucas were very different. The original was made pretty much as a self-financed project with the powers that be thinking "meh, if he fails it is his money, if he succeeds, we got a nice flick out of it that sells a few tickets to the kids".

      And then Star Wars happened. And he got pretty much a green light on the 2 sequels because NOBODY understood just what the fuck had happened.

      Many people don't understand anymore just what effect Star Wars had. The w

      • That's the point. Princess Leia may not have been a committee, but George Lucas is, by himself. He has the ego of an auteur and wants 100% control. He didn't want a studio offering input. He didn't want anyone to question him.

        But from day to day he doesn't seem to know what he wants.

        A New Hope started as a Dune rip-off. And it was a single movie, except when it was going to be 6, 9 or 12 movies. And the Jedi where the Whills, and they used spice on a twin-sun desert planet where a fat human villian controll

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hal2814 (725639)
        "Yes yes, Alec Guinness was known. Okay, but from WHAT exactly?"

        Off the top of my head, The Ladykillers, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago. Alec Guinness was WELL known before he became Kenobi. It's a testament to the popularity of Star Wars that Alec Guiness isn't known primarily as Colonel Nicholson (the part he won a Best Actor for). Peter Cushing was also a very well-known actor before Star Wars, maybe more so than Guinness.
      • Re:Read below (Score:4, Insightful)

        by h4rm0ny (722443) on Monday November 29, 2010 @06:05PM (#34381378) Journal

        The actors SURELY could have acted better. Why couldn't any of the newbies pull an Alec Guinnes or Harrison Ford?

        I'm going to take issue with you on just this one point. There was some very good talent in those films, in particular Ewan McGregor who clearly put a fair amount of work into making his performance consistent with Alec Guinness's. Natalie Portman has never set me ablaze with awe with a role, but she's certainly a more than competent actress. I'm even willing to believe that Hayden Christensen would be decent with competent directing. And as to Ian McDiarmid - well, what more could be said? But how much can you do with a line like: "I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating... hoping that kiss will not become a scar."

        Once you have a reasonable amount of experience acting, you've well-learned how much effect the director has. You can take it from one of my own recent experiences, that when the director is against you, it can be almost impossible to put in a credible performance. In those prequels, you could practically see the director throttling their performances. The difference between "Noooooo!" working and being a joke, is only partly the performance of the actor himself, and far more in the build up, the scene setting, the pacing, credibility and interaction with those around him.

  • Coincidence? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Monday November 29, 2010 @12:06PM (#34375792) Homepage

    I just added Forbidden Planet to my Netflix queue, and noticed Empire was one of the "more like this...." features. Spooky. Was this because it also featured the work of a just-deceased person? Or did God just order up the same movie, and decided that he wanted "more like this" and took Kershner too? If it's the latter, then Bill Shatner and/or Leondard Nimoy may be in trouble, because The Search for Spock was suggested next to Empire; and Rod Taylor of the 1960 The Time Machine (also suggested to me) is getting on in years, and might want to be extra careful for a while as well.

    • by Culture20 (968837)

      I just added Forbidden Planet to my Netflix queue, and noticed Empire was one of the "more like this...." features. Spooky. Was this because it also featured the work of a just-deceased person? Or did God just order up the same movie, and decided that he wanted "more like this" and took Kershner too? If it's the latter, then Bill Shatner and/or Leondard Nimoy may be in trouble, because The Search for Spock was suggested next to Empire; and Rod Taylor of the 1960 The Time Machine (also suggested to me) is getting on in years, and might want to be extra careful for a while as well.

      In Heaven, there is a real Star Wars I being filmed with Leslie Nielson voice acting a droid and directed by Kershner. Jim Henson is doing the alien work.

  • and NSNA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Srsen (413456)
    He also directed the understated and underrated (IMO) Never Say Never Again [imdb.com].
    • That was a great Bond film, much better than the trash that Moore was puking at at that point. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Connery was Bond, and even playing a middle-aged Bond he was still far better than Moore.

      • by Thud457 (234763)
        No.

        Connery's greatest role was, is, and always will be Zed .
        That Bond role will be merely a footnote to his true greatness.
        • Between Zardoz and 2001: A Space Odyssey, I assume LSD was mandatory for making and watching Sci-Fi of that era.
          • Zardoz is LSD. I watched that, and felt utterly entranced by the surrealism. My head didn't feel normal for hours.

            Imagine watching 2001 and then Zardoz back-to-back. :\

  • It just figures that the one Star Wars movie that didn't suck harder than Miley Cyrus while getting her first record contract was the one that George Lucas didn't direct. Too bad Lucas had to direct the others.
    • by Jonner (189691)

      Lucas didn't direct "Return of the Jedi" either: it was Richard Marquand. According to Lucas, he didn't have time to direct either episode 5 or 6. IMHO, those were the two best because Lucas didn't direct them as well as the fact that Lawrence Kasdan was involved in the writing. What Lucas doesn't explain is why he had time to write and direct the prequels by himself, as they seem to have been much bigger, more complex productions. It seems to me that when he realized his limitations and collaborated with b

  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Monday November 29, 2010 @12:45PM (#34376302)
    Solid article on Kershner and his push-pull relationship with Lucas:


    http://www.salon.com/entertainment/col/srag/1999/05/13/kershner [salon.com]

    Kershner was too ill to accept Lucas' offer to direct Phantom Menace. One wonders what his sensibilities for human drama and actual tension would have done to that cartoon.
  • I'm sad to see a great man passing. I don't think he got enough credit for directing the best of the Star Wars series. Rest in peace.

  • Am I the only one that had to double-take because of the "Entertainment:" prefix on the title?

  • My death pool is doing really well this year. If Woody Allen would just join Messers. Kershner and Nielsen I'll pocket $1000.

    Come on, Woody, give in to the ennui! I hear Heaven is a lot like Manhattan!

  • I've read that the original screenplay was written by a woman who died early in production who didn't get much credit for her influence on the script. Any more info, Fandom?

  • by MrKaos (858439)
    The Force will be with him, always.

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