George Lucas, creator of the Star Wars franchise, recently shed light on his decision to change the order of shots fired between smuggler Han Solo and bounty hunter Greedo in their deadly encounter within the original 1977 Star Wars film. Upon its theatrical release, Han Solo anticipates Greedo’s decision to kill the smuggler thereby leading the fast-thinking captain of the Millennium Falcon to gun his enemy down before Greedo has a chance to fire. However, in later iterations of the film, Lucas alters this scene to have Greedo fire the first shot with Han’s killing of the bounty hunter hopefully interpreted as defensive and reactionary rather than aggressive and shrewd.
Speaking with The Washington Post, Lucas states the original version of the scene bothered him for some time as Han shooting first “ran counter to Star Wars principles.” Lucas develops his reasoning through explaining “Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.”
For a shot by shot (pun intended) breakdown of the scene’s multiple iterations over the years, make sure to check out this video while paying close attention to minor details added over time. The video’s description nicely points out subtle differences so give it a quick read to help with interpreting the ins-and-outs of the changing scene.
What are your thoughts on the Han shot first controversial scene? Does it matter to you who shot first and if so why? Let your thoughts be known through commenting below!