We Don’t Care What You Say, George: Han Shot First!

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Greedo shoots firstGreedo shoots first

Who shot first in Star Wars? George Lucas says his infamous tweak clarifies the situation.
Image: Lucasfilm

George Lucas needs to stop screwing around with Star Wars fans’ memories. It’s bad enough — worse than bad enough, honestly — that, nearly 35 years after Star Wars (not-yet-Episode IV) premiered, he is still making significant changes to the original trilogy. But now he’s insisting that we’ve been seeing it wrong since the very beginning.

Yes, Lucas is actually claiming that he only changed the appearance, not what actually happened, in the Han-shoots-Greedo scene in Mos Eisley in the (real) first film. Everybody knows that, until the “Special Edition” hit theaters in 1997, Han shot Greedo before Greedo could shoot him, and Greedo got off a wild shot as he died. Except according to Lucas, that’s not what happened. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Lucas says:

The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.

This is — and I’m using this term only because this is meant to be a family-friendly blog — garbage. No Star Wars fan anywhere, ever, has thought of or wanted Han Solo to be a “cold-blooded killer.” A cold-blooded killer would kill someone he knew or at least thought to be unarmed, when that person is not a threat to them. In the Han-Greedo confrontation, that describes Greedo, not Han. Greedo is holding a gun on Han throughout their conversation, and makes it perfectly clear he’s planning to shoot Han right then and there. Han simply gets the drop on Greedo and kills him before he’s able to carry out his plan. Who — other than Lucas, evidently — would consider that “cold-blooded?”

Then there’s the fact that it simply makes no sense at all that Greedo could have shot first. Greedo is supposed to be a professional bounty hunter. How long do you think the career, and life, of a bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe would be if he could actually miss a stationary target 3 feet in front of him that he’s been aiming at for several minutes? In the original version, he misses with his dying shot because — here’s the thing — he’s dying at the time, and that can really throw off your aim. There is simply no reasonable explanation for Greedo missing before Han shoots him — heck, Jar Jar could make that shot!

So seriously, George, if you can’t exercise enough self-control to stop yourself from changing your movies — despite the fact that you’re the only one who thinks you’ve made them better — at least have the decency not to insult our intelligence by trying to make us think we didn’t see what we know we saw.

Get the Official GeekDad Books!