So I’m really at a loss for words here. Odds are if you’re reading this that you know how I feel about Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in particular. This morning Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back, passed away.
Kershner brought the best out of the characters and worlds that George had created. It was his directing, along with Kasdan’s script, that elevated this world above the realm of Kid’s Stuff. He showed us our heroes at their lowest points, and though they ended the film defeated, he saw brought them to a point of hope, though greatly diminished from where they left off in A New Hope. Kershner made these characters real, even giving life to a little green elf and a man in head-to-toe golden plastic. Good vs. Evil is universal, fairy tale conflict, but a crisis of faith (Luke), spirituality (Yoda), love (Han and Leia) and heartbreaking betrayal (Lando/Vader’s big reveal) are universal, real-world struggles that strike a chord in all of us one way or another. These were the things that made The Empire Strikes Back, despite all of it’s otherworldly spectacle, the most down-to-Earth of the films.
Star Wars’ legacy has already shown that, 30 years after The Empire Strikes Back was released, these films still prove to be just as powerful as ever. Kershner’s contribution both to that legacy and to fandom as whole, like the Force, will always be with us.