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George Lucas Says Han Never Shot First; Star Wars ‘Just A Movie’
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Star Wars

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Star Wars creator George Lucas talked about his view on making changes to his fan favorite films, and goes so far as to say that “it’s just a movie.”

The filmmaker, who is the mastermind behind the Star Wars mega-franchise, which includes six big-screen live-action movies, has come under fire for decades now due to his propensity to make changes to the films, much to fans’ dismay. In the interview, Lucas said while other movies gets revisions over time without backlash, when he makes “the slightest change, everybody thinks it’s the end of the world.”

One of the most controversial alterations Lucas made was having Greedo the bounty hunter shoot first in his confrontation with the smuggling space pilot Han Solo in the first Star Wars film (Episode IV: A New Hope). Now, Lucas is saying that it was always Greedo who shot first, we just didn’t see it.

Here’s where I say, don’t even get me started.

Ok, I’m started. First of all: “just a movie.”

Changes are not unusual “” I mean, most movies when they release them they make changes. But somehow, when I make the slightest change, everybody thinks it’s the end of the world…

Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie.

Yes, it’s true, it’s just a movie, I understand that. But when you’ve made billions of dollars on this [just a] movie and gained crazy, devoted fans that have made those billions for you, it’s pretty condescending to say that it’s “just a movie.” But whatever, I won’t harp that on.

How about what Lucas said about the backlash whenever he makes the “slightest change” to his movies. Really, SLIGHT? That’s what you call slight? But, I won’t even harp on that, because it’s obvious that Lucas is delusional.

Here’s what I will harp on: His ridiculous statement that Han never actually shot first and that his revisions were made to just “clear up the confusion.”

The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.

Here we go:

— In the original film, it is clear that Han shoots first. There is no movement from Greedo, no special effects sounds, no nothing. Greedo is still and it’s clear he’s busy running his mouth off about what he’s going to do, so he doesn’t get the shot off first.

— Ok, let’s make believe Greedo DID shoot first (but we know damn well he didn’t). Lucas expects us to believe that Han’s reaction to being shot at is to NOT MOVE? He doesn’t even flinch. If Han was shot at, he’d at least react in some way, yet he doesn’t at all. He maintains his claim, nonchalant disposition. You know why? Because he had a gun pointed at Greedo under the table and didn’t want to alert the bounty hunter to it!

— Also, another issue with Lucas’s Greedo Shot First edict: You’re telling me that a bounty hunter sitting three feet across from his non-moving bounty would shoot and MISS? Really? What is he the worst fucking bounty hunter ever? Seriously, Han is practically lying down, how could Greedo miss???!!! There were no distractions, nothing that would have made him miss, how did he miss?

— But, in the special editions, Greedo is shown shooting first and missing, and that’s when Han takes his shot and kills Greedo. Lucas has said that the fans who were upset with the change are so because they want Han “to be a cold-blooded killer,” and Lucas maintains that Han is not, in fact, a cold-blooded killer. I’m going to take a poll right now:

Who here ever thought after seeing Han shoot Greedo in the original unaltered version of Star Wars that Han was a cold-blooded killer?

::: crickets chirping:::

Exactly: NO ONE!!!!!

— Why do fans think that it’s acceptable that Han Solo shot Greedo first? Umm, because it was self-defense! There’s a reason why Lucas didn’t change the scene to show Han getting his walkie-talkie ready under the table (although, don’t be surprised when that happens one day) — Han was secretly getting his blaster ready under the table because he knew that the odds were high that he wouldn’t be walking away from that confrontation. Do you think someone like Han would WAIT to be shot at first before taking a shot? (And let us not forget, the bounty hunter pointing a gun at him less than three feet away!) The entire conversation between Han and Greedo is Han trying to get out of 1) being killed and 2) being taken back to Jabba. “This time I’ve got the money,” he tells Greedo, but the bounty hunter tells him it’s too late for that. It’s clear that Greedo is there to kill Han.

— Lucas says that Han never shot first, but then why did he change the scene yet AGAIN for the release of the Special Editions on DVD to make it so Han and Greedo shoot at the same time?

— If Lucas didn’t want Han to come off as a cold-blooded killer, then why would he have made Han just nonchalantly walk away from the table and flip a coin to the bartender “for the mess” like it was no big deal? He wasn’t even shook up about having just killed someone and this is a guy who wouldn’t shoot first at someone who was pointing a gun at him with the sole intention of killing him?

— While talking over the issue of Han shooting first with fellow Star Wars fanatic and Geeks of Doom contributor Greg Davies (cGt2099), he said:

Han Solo at this point of his history is not a very nice man. He is smuggling, working for the Hutts, and has no morals except for business and profit. Chewbacca is his moral voice, and this moral voice is also literal in the form of the character, but symbolically as well. It is through Chewbacca’s encouragement that Han comes to the decision to come back and help Luke during the run on the Death Star.

This is also why Han shoots first in the originals: it’s a character development thing. We WANT to see Han go from being douchebag antihero smuggler gunning down degenerate fuckwads in Mos Eisley to making the moral choice to save the day, help his friend, and blow up a weapon that is so big that it’s easy to see Palpatine was compensating for something.

Damn, I love Greg. Ok, I think I’ve ranted enough. Here’s where I turn to you, the readers, and say “What do you think? Was it really Greedo who shot first? Is Star Wars actually, in fact, just a movie?”

Check out the video here below that has a side-by-side comparison of the Han/Greedo shooting portion of the scene.


[Source: THR]


  1. Couldn’t agree more.  Fuck you Lucas…you are no longer allowed to touch any movie, ever.  Not yours, not other peoples, not even ones you plan to make in the future.

    Comment by Tarsonus — February 10, 2012 @ 11:41 am

  2. He’s right about one thing. It’s just a movie. One that I choose not to buy on Blu-Ray, see in 3D, etc, because of his alterations.

    Comment by Guest — February 10, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  3. The shooting script alone proves that Lucas is a liar.

    Read the scene between Jabba and Han in the landing bay. Jabba says that Greedo wasn’t going to shoot Han (implying that he hadn’t even tried) and Han’s response (that he thinks Greedo THOUGHT he was going to shoot him) backs it up.

    Comment by Corporate Dog — February 10, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  4. Just goes to show how little Lucas cares about the fans.. and how much he admires himself. He’s set himself up to make an obscene amount of money by merely re-releasing his films.. again.

    Oh yes.. and Starwars has INSPIRED Films, books, comics, toys, apparel, music, art, video games, and kids everywhere. It’s dense to say ‘it’s just a movie.’ It’s a large part of the American popular culture, and the films have evolved as they’ve been released… I mean i get touching up the sweeping shots on Hoth.. but please tell me why Lucas found it necessary to add a five minute scene of a cgi alien lady singing in the Cantina in the re-release of New Hope… WHY?

    Comment by Nick J Zakhar — February 10, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

  5. also note that the explosion happens while the camera is pointed at Han. Lucas intended  to scare the audience into thinking he was just blasted by Greedo- then instant relief when the next show is pulled back showing Greedo slump down to the table.
    Han was always intended to be a greedy space pirate who redeems himself at the end of the movie. Lucas is full of it.

    Comment by bobaganoooosh — February 10, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  6. one other thought- just for comparison— Indiana Jones shot the big dude who had the sword in Raiders of the Lost Ark– then just turned around and walked away!! EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL HAN SCENE!!!
    the dude with the sword didn’t even attack or make the first move!
    Speilberg has balls, Lucas is a pussy

    Comment by bobaganoooosh — February 10, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  7. “…obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. … evil alien shoots at our hero, our hero fights back in self defense.”

    See, this is the problem right here. I should state up front: I am not a fan of the Star Wars movies. I haven’t been since the age 13 or so (in the ’80s).

    However, I said to a buddy, a Star Wars nut, a few years ago, “The reason Lucas changed the Greedo scene is that Lucas doesn’t understand subtlety — as proven by his prequels. Lucas was forced by writers, producers, and the stars of his first Star Wars film to change parts of the script, b/c his script was too simplistic (Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford have talked about making him change parts). So, while anyone with ANY understanding of human emotion and human subtlety understands that Han shot first b/c he KNEW he was in imminent danger, Lucas doesn’t get that.”

    And finally, here we are, with Lucas proving my point. No one EVER thought Han was a cold-blooded killer; no one “WANTS” Han to be that.

    Han realizes he’s going to be taken away dead or alive…his choice was to remain alive — and stay where he is. The only way out was to shoot first, b/c the conversation and the body language makes it very clear that that was becoming less likely every moment. So he did what he (literally) HAD to do.

    Comment by Phlegmbot — February 10, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

  8. It’s very difficult to disagree with this assessment. Lucas has lost his freakin’ mind.

    Comment by Jeremiah Zohner — February 10, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

  9. I thought that music scene was in The Return of The Jedi, but I hear you.  That was very distracting.

    Comment by lacrossestar83 — February 10, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  10. Lucas would make a wonderful politician, believing his own bullshit no matter what anyone else says or thinks.  Every day that has passed since May 1999, “Star Wars” moves farther away from my heart….Thank God for Peter Jackson, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, and, well, any filmmaker who is not George Lucas.

    Comment by R.I.P. My Love 4 Star Wars — February 11, 2012 @ 12:05 am

  11. Compare the scene to the barber shop scene in High Plains Drifter.  Clint Eastwood calmly sits there readying his weapon under the cloth while the three men are clearly preparing to harm him.  He shoots them in  pre-emptive self-defense but with a calm demeanour.  No, he’s not a lovely fluffy bunny character but then neither was Han at this point.  Han’s casual coin toss as he walks away places him right alongside the Stranger in High Plains Drifter.  And as someone above posted, it’s no different to the swordsman scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark yet no one considers Indy a cold-blooded murderer.

    And if there’s any doubt, go read the original 1976 novelisation, page 104.  The original story shows clearly that Han is well aware that Jabba’s people tend to be trigger happy and as the conversation continues, Greedo makes it plain that he wants to shoot Solo for prior events where Solo has made him look a fool.  And oh look, just a few pages later and Jabba is a human too.

    George Lucas keeps releasing the movies for people to buy but how many of us buy them not for the messed up movies but for the original deleted scenes so we can see more of the *original* versions?  No one wants your retconned garbage Mr Lucas, we want our Star Wars back with an apology.

    He says that Star Wars is just a movie.  Well it is, it’s just a movie.  And he’s just some Hollywood schmuck who is resting on the laurels of the only good thing he ever produced and destroying it in the process.  I for one won’t be going to see yet another version in 3D.

    Comment by Andrew Jones — February 11, 2012 @ 9:49 am

  12. I’ve never been a particularly big fan of The Star Wars movie, but even I agree with fans that the changes he keeps making are… just wrong. There’s a difference between fixing something that might not have been clearly shown or fixing sound so it could be heard better (cause people know for some reason television and movie people on some things have issues making sure the dialogue can be heard over the background music or heard in general) so that it can be seen better and outright just changing stuff cause you can. Which is really what I think it boils down to at this point. He’s changing stuff cause he can.

    After watching that side-by-side a couple times it’s clear as day that Han shot first, and I don’t think that makes him a cold-blooded killer or awful person. He’s a criminal, his life was in danger, et cetera et cetera… Of course he shot first. In the second clip it’s also obvious that if Greedo had shot first that Han would have moved, because there is no way that shot would have missed- yet it did, miraculously. I think Lucas just needs to leave them alone. For fans these are not “just movies”. They are alot more than that for some people.

    Even if it is “just a movie” then he needs to have some respect for those fans that came to see his “just a movie” and made them as big as what they are today. Oh, and perhaps stop insulting their intelligence cause if THEY told you Han shot first then he probably and they’d probably know as most Star Wars fans have seen the movies enough times to recount every little thing. They want to buy the DVDs to see the original, actual movie. Not the movie with changes made constantly that mess it up.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 11, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

  13. I want to add a point here.

    George Lucas said recently that Shakespeare’s plays went through many revisions and that he doesn’t see why people should get so worked up about the changes he’s made to Star Wars.

    Well alright.  Any playwright, in fact any author, will write several drafts and test versions and will seek feedback during the process before settling on the final version.  So Shakespeare et al would have had plays performed so as to gauge audience response and if they didn’t go down well, changes would be made.  Ultimately let’s not forget that the author would be trying to create something the audience wanted to see and which would be received positively.

    But there’s the first problem.  George created the first published version, people loved it.  Then he started tinkering and gradually audience reaction has turned violently against it.  He is no longer interested in creating something that the audience wishes to engage with, he is only interested in himself.  Therefore the audience needs to stop attending his plays so to speak until he realises that he is no longer writing something the audience wishes to see.

    The only way that George will put Star Wars back into a form that his audience wishes to see is if his audience walks away in search of a writer who will give them what they want to see instead of an ego-driven writer who thinks he can do what he likes and everyone will watch anyway.

    Let’s pretend for a minute that George actually did originally intend for Greedo to shoot first.  Just pretend.  Well the audience reaction was massively negative.  Let’s pretend for a moment that Han shooting first was actually some kind of production error.  The audience reaction to that production error was overwhelmingly positive.  Which one of these does it make sense to keep?

    Listen to your audience reaction and feedback George.  It’ll fix your reputation far more than listening to the voices in your head.

    Comment by Andrew Jones — February 11, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

  14.  I totally agree with you…although max and Sy sing in ROTJ not hope. just pointing that out. I think Its fine to touch up the movie like some scenes where he showed some droids to help tie the older movies in with the newer ones or just to add more scope to the films but when he changes plot points and things it becomes something else entirely I was just discussing this in my film class the other day.

    Comment by Sugar_Skull — February 11, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  15. if it is just a movie why is he so set on changing it?

    Comment by Heather Parsons — February 15, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  16. People need to really get a life. If the guy wants to make revisions, go for it. Ill support him even if the other star war looser’s wont. I cant believe how people seem to think they own something that they never created. If you are a fan of Star Wars then you are a fan of the creator of Star Wars. He is right, is just a movie … go get married, have some kids and by all means, get a life! 

    Comment by Cigaraficionado — May 26, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

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