George Lucas on Star Wars: Who Shot First?

***Think what you will about George Lucas, but in terms of Star Wars, it can all be traced back to him. That’s why I always find it so interesting to listen to him talk about it. His creative process, the reason certain decisions were made, and how these movies became the pop cultural staples they are. This space is dedicated to just that. This is “George Lucas on Star Wars.”***

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition‘s “George Lucas on Star Warsarchive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Han Solo, Greedo, Star Wars A New Hope

The Scene: The bounty hunter Greedo confronts Han Solo over money he owes Jabba the Hutt. The two sit at a table.

In the original version of the film, Han shoots Greedo dead under the table.

In all versions following the 1997 Special Edition release, Greedo shoots at Han first and misses, prompting Han to fire back and kill him.

George Lucas Says: “It was always meant that Greedo fired first, and in the [original release] you don’t get that too well. And then there was a discussion about, “Well it’s good that it’s left amorphous and everything.” … In terms of Han’s character and everything, I didn’t like the fact that when he was introduced the first thing he did is just gun somebody down in cold blood. That wasn’t what was meant to be there.”

I Say: Like a lot of (Dare I say most?) Star Wars fans, I’m a “Han shot first” guy, and call BS on the idea that Greedo shot and missed at point blank range. If Greedo was supposed to fire his gun first, then why have the two of them sitting at a table? The notion that Greedo, or anybody, could miss a shot like that is laughable.

What’s more, I’d argue Han gunning someone down in cold blood fits perfectly with what George describes as his character arc. He’s talked at length over the years about how Han Solo starts out very selfish, cold, and out for himself. But through his relationship with Luke and Leia, he gradually starts to become compassionate and care about others. As this is Han at the beginning of that arc, it’s more than fitting for him to kill Greedo to save his own skin.

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