(Actress Carrie Fisher & Director Irvin Kershner)
This week marks the sad passing of Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner. The beloved director not only inspired his former student filmmaker George Lucas, but also other future directors, actors, screenwriters and more, not to mention the millions of fans worldwide who still proudly comment that The Empire Strikes Back remains their favorite in the Star Wars film saga.
We asked some of our favorite celebrity fans what Kershner meant to them, as well as gathered the best celebs tweets that celebrated this one-of-a-kind director.
“He brought motion and maturity to the most grown up chapter of the Star Wars saga. His decisions are inextricably woven into its success.” – Simon Pegg, actor/author
“One of my earliest film memories is of The Empire Strikes back. Still one of my favorite movies. A truly sad day.” — Milo Ventimiglia, actor/director
“I heard just recently about Irvin Kersher’s passing. It’s hard to put into words how much the work he did on Empire meant to me. It’s not only my favorite film in the Star Wars universe hands down, but it’s one of my most favorite films of all time. The introductory shots of planet Hoth alone resonate so clearly in my mind, regardless of how long it’s been since I’ve seen TESB. In fact, there are so many iconic visuals in that movie it’s mind blowing. This was probably the darkest film of the original trilogy. It had crazy twists and finished with one of the best cliffhangers of any film I’ve ever seen. I know I will always remember and appreciate Kershner for making a film that shaped who I am today.” – Joe Trohman, Fallout Boy guitarist
“Since his passing I’ve been thinking what was the most masterful part of Empire Strikes Back? And it comes back to Yoda. He was funny then disturbing and scary and then wise. And it was a puppet. Irvin made less with more. He focused on the characters and less on the fact they were in space. Lawrence Kasdan and Frank Oz gave us Yoda but it was Kershner that made it so real, so frightening, so important. And again, it was just a puppet.” – mc chris, rapper
“Kersh was one of the lucky ones — he found his passion and followed it. He absolutely loved movies. He was an amazing mentor to my father, a great friend to our family, and an inspiration to fans all over the galaxy. I have absolute faith that his legacy will live on for centuries. He’ll be greatly missed.” – Katie Lucas, The Clone Wars writer
“Farewell to Irvin Kershner – a true cinema legend. With The Empire Strikes Back, Kersh took an absolute phenomenon and somehow made it even better, creating perhaps, the greatest film of all time. An incredible feat indeed… and one that we still feel the impact of today! His contributions to the Star Wars Saga will never be forgotten. May he be one with the Force!” – Kyle Newman, director of Fanboys
“Han shot FIRST, but Irvin shot BEST.” – Jane Wiedlin, The Go-Go’s guitarist/vocalist
“Firstly, most of us can only hope to live to the ripe age of 87. Irvin outlived most people in years. However, out living people is nothing compared to directing not only one of the greatest movies of all time, but in my opinion, the BEST Star Wars movie EVER made. Having experienced acting and being married to an actor, I know it is up to a director to coax emotions out of the cast. He did this splendidly, as we can all see (some of us over, and over and over!). Thank you Mr. Kershner, for helping deliver one of the greatest movies of all time for many generations to enjoy. gone, but never forgotten!” – Adrianne Curry, supermodel & reality TV star
“I had the honor of meeting Mr. Irvin Kershner at a few events we both attended. I was saddened to hear about his passing. Mr. Kershner helped bring to the screen one of the most beloved films of all times, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. He will be missed, but through his work he will continue to entertain many generations to come. My thoughts are with his family at this time.” – Daniel Logan, Star Wars & The Clone Wars actor
“Empire Strikes Back is the first movie I ever saw in a theater. Nothing has quite lived up to the experience since. Irvin Kershner was a cinematic master and a huge reason why I do what I do for a living.” – Amy Berg, TV Writer/Exec Producer for Eureka
“Getting the ‘I love you / I know’ exchange out of those actors is one of the finest moments in the history of film direction, and Empire is still the most important movie in my life. Today I am going to make some tea, wrap myself up in a blanket, and revisit Robocop 2.” – MC Frontalot, rapper
“Empire Strikes Back was when I first got really excited about Star Wars. Took what was already great and made it a masterpiece….A great director, sadly missed.” – Jonathan Ross, UK TV show host
“Irvin Kershner’s contribution to Star Wars cannot be measured. If the second film in the saga had failed, we might never have seen the future of the galaxy that has become an integral part of our ongoing pop culture dialog. Kersh added humanity to characters we loved and helped us all believe a puppet could move a starship. His talents will long be missed.” – Chris Gore, G4TV Film Expert & Nerdlebrity
“By far, my favorite movie in the entire Star Wars pantheon is Empire and one of the main reasons was the direction of Irvin Kershner. His vision beautifully captured the darkness of the story he was telling and some of the greatest scenes of all-time were created under his watch-the Hoth battle, Yoda and Luke training in Dagobah, Bespin.
My biggest complaint about Irvin was that he didn’t direct one of the new trilogy movies as well.
Rest in peace Commander.” – Chris Jericho, wrestler/actor
“It takes guts of steel to enter another man’s empire and demand improvement — Irvin Kreshner had those guts. He expanded George Lucas’s ground-breaking vision, navigated the rough waters of audience expectation, complicated production and financial strife and propelled a narrative that had already become the face of popular culture into a new order of artistic magnitude. Also, he loved ‘the puppet,’ and that makes him a hero in my book.” – Javier Grillo-Marxuach, writer/producer of The Middleman and Lost
“I’ll never forget and always be thankful to him for exploding my young mind for my first epic battle scene. The battle of Hoth will stay with me always.” – Ben Templesmith, comic book artist/writer
“My favorite thing about Empire are the performances. The actors inhabit that extraordinary story with a relatable subtlety that borders on naturalism. I attribute this to Kersh’s deft and confident directing on the set and imagine he must’ve held sway in the cutting room. Kersh + Kasdan+ Lucas = best Star Wars ever. ” – Jesse Alexander, TV writer/producer