When Did They Die: Episode IV: A New Hope
Who Were They: A bounty hunter sent by Jabba the Hutt to retrieve Han Solo dead or alive in repayment for the smuggler’s considerable debts.
How Did They Die: Shot by Han Solo
Greedo’s is among the more surprisingly controversial deaths in all of the Star Wars movies. In the original cut of A New Hope, Greedo confronts Han about the bounty put on his head by Jabba and, in response, Han shoots him with a gun concealed beneath the table at the Mos Eisley cantina.
As part of a campaign to sanitize those original movies, Lucas included an additional blaster bolt coming from Greedo’s gun just before Han’s blaster discharges, thereby making a convincing case that Han was acting in self defense.
Not only does this not make logical sense – how does even the worse bounty hunter miss their target from two feet away? – it also retcons Han’s entire deal. Part of his appeal, after all, is that he’s kind of an anti-hero, someone you root for but who you’re not sure is actually good or evil.
While we all know that Han eventually turns out to objectively good, the potential that he might not be in the beginning instantly made him a complex and intriguing character in an otherwise black and white universe. Not allowing Han to shoot first, then, removes that complexity completely, and sours what was previously one of the best character-defining moments in the series.
Next: 9. Bail Organa