Irvin Kershner

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"I wasn't trying to beat Star Wars," said director Irvin Kershner, who died Nov. 27 at 87. Nonetheless, Kershner surpassed George Lucas' 1977 space opera with his sequel, The Empire Strikes Back. Darker than its predecessor (and containing that most famous of movie lines, "I am your father"), Empire is acknowledged by many to be the tragic heart of the Star Wars trilogy. And while Kershner directed 14 other feature films over the course of his career, including the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again, Empire undoubtedly remains his grandest work.