Who Shot First? - Star Wars FAQs
Who shot first is as prolific as: what came first, the chicken or the egg? Even when you type “who shot” into Google, it’s among the top four most searched items, seemingly making it not as significant as who shot the 35th president, but history is pretty important, I guess. All joking aside, this argument may sound silly to a lot of people, but the outcome of whoever shot slightly before the other has pretty big implications on the Han Solo story arc. To put to bed all of the hours spent arguing over this topic, the proof videos and petitions out there, I will answer definitively who indeed shot first!
There are a surprising amount of people out there that don’t really know what this question refers to. Granted, they probably have heard of it, but they’re not sure why there’s such a fuss over it. To begin with, let’s take a look at the scene in question. In the original version of Star Wars, Greedo confronts Han with his blaster drawn, following Solo’s late payment to Jabba the Hutt. Looking for no more excuses, the bounty hunter claims he will enjoy killing the smuggler. However, Han sneakily pulls out his own blaster from under the table and shoots Greedo dead, leaving Solo very much alive. So, this proves Han shot first, right? Well no, not exactly. You see, George Lucas, and his never-ending quest to destroy the best idea he ever had, changed the scene for the release of the special edition. Though the dialogue stays the same, and Greedo still ends up dead, Lucas made the bounty hunter shoot slightly before Han. Meaning that, at least in Lucas’ mind, Greedo shot first.
Not only does Greedo missing Han from point blank range annoy a lot of fans, but Han not shooting first compromises his rebellious and somewhat ruthless nature. The change ultimately diminishes the character’s growth and development over the story, from being a smuggler who only cares about himself to a dedicated member of the Rebel Alliance who clearly cares for everyone around him. In short, it detracts from his transition of anti-hero to hero.
Lucas has claimed that he did not like the fact that Han shot first, he felt it depicted the character as a “cold-blooded killer”, and he didn’t want one of the main protagonists seen as such. Furthermore, he has apologised about releasing a “half-completed film”, since the movie faced changes to make it the way he wanted it to be. So there we have it, straight from the creator’s mouth, Greedo shot first. However, Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca’s actor, has been releasing snippets of Star Wars’ original script. I highly recommend you check them out. Not only do you get an insight into what the script was like, but you can see how scenes were meant to play out before changes were made. Anyway, the script clearly shows that Han shot first. Because of this, I personally believe Han did and should have shot first.
So in short, George Lucas has made it official that Greedo shot first, but the original version of Star Wars, script included, begs to differ. Furthermore, it’s not Lucas’ product anymore, meaning we can really believe what we want. Regardless, Han was not portrayed as a “cold-blooded killer”, as in both situations he was acting in self-defence. I mean, he did have a gun pointed in his face… Let’s just all agree that Greedo never shot first and is one bad bounty hunter!
So, are you like me and think that Solo shot first? Let me know in the comments below. Also, what question do you have about the Star Wars universe? Ask away and I’ll answer you at some point in this series.
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