Han Solo shot first!


Despite the alterations to the original cantina scene with Han Solo and Greedo, Solo definitely shot first in my eyes and nothing will change that for me.

The first time I watched the Star Wars: A New Hope’s cantina scene with Han Solo and Greedo, it was indeed the smuggler Solo that fired his DL-44 model blaster before Greedo shot his weapon.

Han’s actions didn’t make me think any less of his character or see him as any less of a hero. To me, that point of the movie wasn’t about him being a hero. That moment was centered on him establishing the fact that if he was threatened, he would not hesitate to do what he had to in order to ensure his survival even if that meant shooting first to prevent his adversary from gaining the edge over him.

Once Lucasfilm released the special edition of the Original Trilogy, I was actually in favor of nearly all of the tweaks and additions to the films. Technology had enhanced significantly between 1977 and 1997 and George Lucas finally had access to the type of technology he needed in order to tell his story the way he wanted.

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Enhancing the film quality and adding new creatures to certain sequences definitely made those classic movies even better in my eyes but once I saw that the cantina scene was edited, I was a bit disappointed.

Now, I wasn’t so disillusioned that I didn’t realize Lucas was well within his rights to do with his films as he pleased but that still didn’t mean I agreed with his logic back then (and I still don’t).

In an interview with The Washington Post, Lucas is quoted as saying:

"“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’”"

In George’s mind, Han’s action to shoot first went against everything that Star Wars stood for.

If you go back to that moment of the movie, it’s not like we as audience members knew he and Leia would become a couple, they hadn’t even met onscreen yet!

I could see if Han had walked behind Greedo and shot him without warning but that wasn’t the case. In the movie, Greedo wanted to savor his moment. He was almost taunting Han Solo with a condescending tone even if what he was saying had to be subtitled. He enjoyed having Han Solo backed into a corner, uncharacteristically away from his Wookiee companion. Greedo’s entire style in that scene showed he harbored ill will for the smuggler and would kill him if he had to. He even remarked he had been looking forward to that moment “for a long time.”

Han was deftly able to keep Greedo verbally distracted long enough to unholster his blaster and as he’s doing this, the camera cuts twice to Han securing his trusty DL-44!

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 08: George Lucas attends the ceremony honoring Mark Hamill with A Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held in front of El Capitan Theatre on March 8, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Michael Tran/Getty Images,)

After one final quip was fired by Solo, he instantly discharged his blaster in Greedo’s direction (point -blank) and the Rodian fell dead in front of his intended target.

There’s nothing you could do or say after the fact to convince me Han wasn’t originally meant to have shot first. Lucas then changed his mind about Solo years later and then had the means to go back and re-do the scene to fit a new Han Solo narrative that he wanted to build.

If you don’t believe me, go back and view the unaltered scene for yourself and then go back and watch the same scene with Lucas’ edits. That sequence plays better to the audience (in my opinion) with Han not only shooting first but by also being the only one to shoot.

It sets Han up as an edgier character than either Luke or Obi-Wan. It shows the type of man he had to develop into in order to survive his lifestyle as a smuggler.

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Later in the film, after Han comes back to assist Luke in destroying the Death Star, his character arc comes around to establish himself as a true hero who would do what he has to do in order to ensure he is able to assist his friend in need.

Seeing a character’s growth play out right in front of our eyes endears that character to us with each subsequent viewing.

Lucas gifted the entire world with so many things via Star Wars, I just really wish he had stuck to the original vision for the cantina scene.