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Star Wars Producer Gary Kurtz has died at the age of 78. In addition to helping to convince the studio to fund Star Wars in the first place, he was also producer and second-unit director for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and is generally credited with encouraging Lucas to create a universal religion — The Force — for the movie series.

On set for *Empire*

After a much-publicised spat with Lucas over the direction the films were taking, he passed on producing what would become Star Wars: Return of the Jedi as he felt it too similar to the previous films. He went on to produce The Dark Crystal, Return to Oz and Slipstream.

George Lucas has issued a statement via LucasFilm

Gary’s passing will be felt throughout the Star Wars family. Through what were sometimes challenging shooting difficulties and conditions, his contributions as a producer helped bring the stories to life onscreen. My heart goes out to his family.

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  • 3
    Is he the one on the left or the right in that photo? – Rand al'Thor Sep 27 '18 at 4:52
  • 2
    The one on the left is James Earl Jones so it has to be the other one. – Matt Oct 4 '18 at 11:49
  • 3
    @Matt - James Earl Jones' voice has quite the stage presence if you can see it in a photo. – Valorum Oct 4 '18 at 12:12

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