More news spills forth from the upcoming digital releases of the Star Wars saga, this time involving one of the most controversial changes made to the Special Edition versions of the films released in 1997. You know the one; it involves a certain scoundrel, his bounty hunting victim and a case of “Who shot first?”
Let’s break it down as it happens: As Greedo heads into Chalmun’s Cantina on that fateful day, he does so with a cocky glint in his bulbous eyes. Unfortunately, his target does not appreciate when people get cocky and proceeds to antagonise the bounty hunter with cool conversation and a nonchalant exterior whilst he discreetly unclips and prepares his blaster. Greedo loses his patience and let’s Han know he’s been “Looking forward to this for a long time”, to which Han replies “Yes, I’ll bet you have”. A flash and blast of smoke later and Greedo slumps forward onto the table. Clearly Han Solo is the victor in this confrontation, but apparently only for the following 20 years as the tables were turned in the 1997 Remastered releases of the Original Trilogy as Greedo appears to fire first, conveniently missing his target as Han appears to move his head slightly to the right and catches Greedo with his return fire.
The contention surrounding this scene has long been mused over by the fans, but not to the extent where they disagree with one another as it is clear in the original movie cut that Han shoots Greedo. Although a minor part of the storyline and character development it caused enough of a stir when it was released, with George Lucas explaining that he didn’t think Han was “a cold blooded killer”, and owing to the idea that Greedo was too young and inexperienced to go up against quarry of such calibre. The new digital releases were rumoured to contain the original 1977 scene, but now that the movies are available the rumours have been debunked around the web, and it remains in place that Greedo fires at Han who returns fire and eradicates his opponent.
The 1997 Remasters certainly polarised fans for various reasons but this has to be the most controversial scene of them all. When we were promised additional footage and extended scenes, we lapped up the idea (this was before DVD bonus features were a mainstay) and went into theatres with excitement and intrigue. And the films look great, no denying, for even trophies lose their shine and need polishing. But adding bits here and there is something that Lucas has become known for over the years, due in part to his championing of technological advances in film-making, and debates in the fandom may never cease as long as the movies are being re-re-re-released.
This minor alteration launched the famous “Who shot first?” debate in the fandom and surely the choice to keep the Remaster scene in the digital releases will keep this debate ablaze on social media. What do you guys think of the Digital changes? Do you think Han would flat out shoot Greedo without hesitation, or retaliate after being shot at first? Let us know below in the comments!