Wait, What?! George Lucas Asserts That Greedo Always Shot First?

February 9, 2012

Greedo and Han Solo

It's been a point of contention amongst fanboys since 1997 when Star Wars (again, I will not call it A New Hope) returned to theaters in Special Edition form complete with new special effects, creatures and remastered sound and picture. However, one of the biggest changes to the film came in the form of an extra split second of footage in the Mos Eisley cantina in which Han Solo is confronted by Greedo. Now in the original film, Solo blasts Greedo without a second thought, but in the Special Edition, galactic history is rewritten to have Greedo taking the first shot. However, George Lucas never saw it that way. More below!

In an interview with THR (via SlashFilm) Lucas claims that it's always been Greedo that shot first, but the limited coverage that was shot during production back in the 70's allowed only for a sloppy edit that never allowed viewers to see the whole picture. For those who need a refresher, here's the same scene from both the original theatrical cut in 1977 (top video) and the Special Edition release in 1997 (bottom):

Speaking on this debacle, George Lucas says:

"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."

First of all, let me just say, that I don't think Han Solo taking the first shot makes him a cold-blooded killer. It's clear that Greedo is going to either take him in or just shoot Solo himself, so in that matter it's just simple self-defense and survival of the fittest. Second of all, while the practical explanation does allow for the fact that Greedo shot first, why is it that we never hear that shot in the original cut? And if that is indeed how the scene always went down, then why wasn't this brought up over ten years ago when there was a huge uproar about it? Were fanboys crying so hard that we couldn't hear Lucas yelling over the Tusken Raider screams of Star Wars fans all over the world. I'm sorry, but I don't think so.

At this point, I don't trust Lucas with anything from the Star Wars universe anymore. You're talking about a guy who named Obi-Wan Kenobi's home planet after Jon Stewart just for shits and giggles. Nowadays, Lucas just makes things up off the top of his head, and since he's the creator of the Star Wars canon, it's accepted as word from God himself. Rightly so, the creator of any given property should have final say over his creations, but when that creator just can't stop meddling with different elements and constantly tweaks what should be a finished product, it seems a little obsessive compulsive.

I guess I can't really say that Lucas is flat out lying, hell, he probably believes half the stuff he's saying, but this just smells like true Bantha fodder all around. If anything, it's just good publicity to get you thinking about seeing The Phantom Menace in 3D this weekend. Maybe this time Liam Neeson cuts off Darth Maul's horns first to make him less evil when he kills the Jedi Master. What do you think?

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  • Anonymous
    He's full of it. Read a copy of the script. Han's shot is the only shot. Period...
    • Johnny Neat
       Thank you!
    • Anonymous
      Damn Skippy!
  • Al
    What happened to Blade Runner was something that Ridley Scott didn't freakin ask for. What happened to Star Wars was all you Geroge. I don't care if we weren't supposed to think Han shot first, he did. We all saw it. You can't just keep changing your movie, then it stops becoming the movie you made. Its different. Not the same. BRO. COME ON. 
  • MikeEvil
    George Lucas is a ass why did you go and mess everthing up you suck kids now  are going to grow up with a lie
  • Bobo_Vision
    If Greedo shot first, then he's one lousy shot if he can't hit a 6 foot tall stationary target sitting 4 feet in front of him.  It also means that Han has sluggish reflexes and he's only alive because of luck and Greedo's horrible aim.  It further means that George Lucas is a retard and is only where he is today because people looked to the cool aspects of his space opera and ignored the lame parts, but now his lameness is painting broad brush-strokes over his entire career.
  • RobNZ
    The novel, which has Lucas' name as the author, says Han shot first.
    • Natalie
      Exactly! Thank you. I bought the book after the movie came out..Come on, George! Don't you ever re-read your stuff??
  • Jericho
    i know he has an issue with never being satisfied with the movies he makes, but you would think he would at least leave that specific scene alone or at least make a good enough reason behind it. this description makes it seem like Han is more careless than the original scene...........
  • Dresden King
    Greedo shoots first. fuckin' deal with it.
    • Xerxexx
      • Dresden King
        Uh, all the films depictions since the Special Edition in 1997 as well as this article? Like it or not, that's the OFFICIAL word.
        • Shimrod
          But he's lying. Dosn't that bother you? The original film had Han shooting first. They shot it that way. He's telling fibs.
        • Xerxexx
          He altered those films with horrible editing, and unnatural head movements.
  • d block
    The fact that such a meh moment has been the biggest piece of nerdom over this movie for like 40 years is a perfect example of why this movie is so overrated. Seriously, I will never understand the hype.
  • Boba
    Everyone should just quit whining and stop watching them!
  • Pilgrim_UK
    Does anybody with a girlfriend/wife really care? 
    • What an adorably trite response that completely misses the point. This really isn't about the specific detail of Greedo shooting first. It's bigger than that. It's about artistic integrity and the fact that George Lucas has spent all of his by meddling with something he should have dropped decades ago.  
      • Pilgrim_UK
        Hey I got 4 on hooks here. Its trite but still does not lose its effectiveness.
      • capncapn
        Ethan, are your panties ever not in a twist? You come off as a condescending ass time and again in responses to commenters. 
    • Boby_wan
      Yes because we have wives / girlfriend's we care or else everything is Twilight.
    • DunRingil
      Well ... I care, and my girlfriend as well, and she'd certainly shoot you for that lame comment. First.
    • Johnny Neat
       The real question is do people who claim to have lives better than others on message boards have to comment on shit they supposedly don't care about to boost their own pathetic egos? Go watch live your life dude.
    • Lingjo
      I'm somebody's wife and I care : )
  • Xerxexx
    I'm tired of Lucas, let him say whatever he wants, the fans know the truth, Lucas may have created SW but the fans made SW a legacy.
    • Pilgrim_UK
      Well said Xer just remember fans "We'll always have Paris".
      • Xerxexx
        In regards to Lucas: "Here's looking at you, kid"
  • MajesticXIII
    No matter what the truth is, the only unquestionable fact is that the editing / directing of the scene in both versions of the film, suffers from a severe case of amateurism. The edit in the original version is sloppy in its attempt to cover the dynamic of the scene (or the lack of it) with a smoke explosion. As far as the edit in the special edition is concerned, I find it even more sloppy, and amateurish, not to mention how bad the cinematography angle of this particular scene is. If you play the video frame by frame, at the moment when Greedo fires his gun (0:09), you can see that Han Solo tilts his head slightly to the left side of the frame, but not enough to evade Greedo's crosshair. How could Greedo have missed his mark? Even in normal speed it looks fake. The end result: the whole motion looks utterly ridiculous and the edit that follows next (the smoke explosion) is the nail in the coffin for this badly directed and edited scene. Verdict: I don't care who shot first, but if I were to choose between take 1 or 2, it would definitely be take 1. At least it's more improvised, and it doesn't look fake.
    • I don't know, while I agree both look sloppy, I think the special edition (with the added wide shot) is almost certainly the better edited version.
  • grimjob
    I might believe him. Seems like it could be a plausible explanation. But while watching the original scene up top, after Greedo drops dead, I looked for a blast mark on the wall anywhere near Solo's head. Didn't see anything. Even if it was an editing issue, wouldn't someone have put a mark on the wall while filming?
  • Bobo_Vision
    Comment pending approval.
  • Bobo_Vision
    Comment pending approval.
  • Dangerous Don Danger
    I've always wondered who started this crap about Han shooting first and it making him seem like a cold-blooded murder? Was it Lucas? Even as a kid I always got the impression Greedo intended to murder Han and Han gets the drop on him. It's like a classic western showdown that made Han look like a badass Josey Wales. When will George Lucas stop the assrape of his finest work? He'll probably leave some instructions in his will to digitally alter some more scenes after his death.
    • Tall Cool One
      I've actually had a gun fired at my head.  By the time I realized it had gone off, it was over.  There was no dodging, there was no time for thoughts like, "Oh no! I'm being shot at! I need to shoot back!"  Whether or not Greedo fired would have no impact on Han's decision to fire and/or duck.  It just looks sloppy and rediculous when Greedo misses.
  • Xerxexx
    Same, Han knew that Greedo was going to kill him or capture him...Han did the right thing.
  • How could Greedo miss from that close? haha
  • How could Greedo miss from that close? haha
  • The blaster shot first, but who pulled the trigger? Welcome to "Why is this even a debate?" I'll admit I love Star Wars (Currently playing SWTOR and enjoying...Actually miss SW: Galaxies), but I have to laugh over these debates. I know people make it into serious business, but it should be a fun debate, not some angered exchange like a few are making it. Besides, don't you know? Lucas loves to f#$% with his audience a lot. 
  • Phantomrockcity
    i'm so glad I never got rid of my original VHS copies. for all I care, none of these "remasters" even exist.
  • Anonymous
  • Tk421
    This is the first article that I agree with Ethan on. Well done, Anderton! We share the same opinion. Han firing on Greedo first never registered as cold blooded to me, even as a kid. I'll tell you what's cold-blooded, force-choking an Imperial Admiral for dropping the fleet out of Lightspeed too close to the system 20 or so pages into the script! Most traumatizing event ever witnessed on the screen. 
  • Anonymous
    All this crap is just a turn off. We need someone to create another fantastic universe so we can turn all our attention else where! I can't believe Lucas is still yappin' about that scene!! Are you kidding me???
    • Pilgrim_UK
      Another fantastic universe was created but if I say it people will throw stuff at me.
    • Ravek020
      We had one... it was in Firefly... That got canceled... life is empty...
  • cinemabandit
    So why is there a close up of Han pulling his blaster out of his holster.  Lucas is full of it.
  • Brandon
    George Lucas just wants to sell more shirts and stickers. On another note, Star Wars fanboys are fun to laugh at. 
  • ScoobySnack
    The fact is - the character moment of it all is that we feel Solo is a hustler, and dangerous, which makes us worried about Luke and Obi Wan's journey with him. Him shooting first makes him darker (and yes, cooler), supports the tension and stakes of the big picture issues we are following in the film, and deepens his arc at the end when he changes and helps Luke defeat the Empire. My point being - any good writer/filmmaker would have Solo shoot first, which he did in the original. It's by far the choice that makes it a better film overall. Greedo and Jabba are not part of the rest of the film. The only thing that matters in the scene is that we come out knowing Han is questionable as an ally. At this point Lucas doesn't even know what the hell he created. It's pathetic. He's an arson who can't stop lighting fires to get attention. 
    • Thomas P
      Well, it doesn't; Lucas doesn't have it in him to create the same thought-out character you're referencing.
  • Think about this, Hans may have shot first in the original script (and it certainly appears that way in the film), but the revised editing for the Special Edition is actually better. So quit making a big deal about it and appreciate the improved editing.
  • Moif
    Alas, the hype killed the art a long time ago
  • KibblesNCarbonite
    Check this beast out http://crawlcreator.net/itunes
  • Steven
    I love Star Wars but Lucas is killing my desire for it.  The scene with Greedo shooting first looks false, almost as false as the love that Anakin and Padme display.  I find it amazing he can tag on something so badly and not correct the colour of Luke's lightsaber in A New Hope. Lucas can't direct a film, period!
  • Even as a kid I didn't care that green thing shot Hanselo, it seemed a pretty sensible thing to do. That place was wilder than the Wicky Wicky Wild Wil' West with Will Smith. I actually use the Han Solo rule in bars nowadays, if a guy says something that I think may lead to a confrontation, I pick up a large glass and stick into his face as many times as I can, call it a preemptive strike. Well I've wasted enough time on Star Wars this year again.
  • Pepe
    I'm not watching that 3D crap call Episode I. (neither the Episode 2 & 3)
  • The Douche
    The fact that people even care this much about who shot first shows how sad their lives are.
    • Your on here douche. That shows that you care too. You Fanboy.
  • Johnny Neat
    For me if Greedo shot first and Han just defended himself at the perfect coincidental moment, then his character arc doesn't actually change as it did or was remember but us older fans. For me he shot first, if Greedo even intended to which I believe he wasn't from what was shown originally, period, end of story. Lucas is a megalomaniac who no longer has anything to offer past his money and power over Star Wars to get other projects off the ground. Even Spielberg, who has more talent in his pinky than Lucas has in his whole body came to his senses and apologized for changing stupid things in E.T.. I refuse to buy Star Wars on Bluray, which I had been waiting for since that format was introduced, because of all of Lucas' personal revisionist takes on his work. It's one thing to improve an effect but to change a story plot point or character arc is too much. The prequel trilogy and his whole debate with fans over the title "The Clone Wars", which was already accepted, to his preferred just to be a cunt "Attack of the Clones", which also made little to no sense, showed me he had lost his fucking mind and his head had gotten too big for the little talent he possessed. From insulting Sebastian Shaw's work to disregarding his fans and film history, Lucas' can take a long walk off a short pier. Either give us the theatrical versions of the original Star Wars trilogy, if not for film history's sake than to just respect fans, or get the fuck lost and shut the fuck up.  
  • Richie G
    Theres and interview with George Lucas in my newspaper yesterday where he says the best bit of advice he was ever given was from someone named Francis who told him he was "terrible and have to learn to be a good writer". I thought it was really humble of him to admit, but it turns out this was advice he was given in college so don't get your hopes up
  • Anonymous
    George lucas went "insane" right after ESB. When his wife left, when he chased off Kurtz, etc, et al. Extreme wealth and success, especially very quickly, can corrupt someone as they are given the ability to create their own world around themselves and cut themselves off from having to compromise with the rest of the human race. Or with reality at all. I call it the michael jackson effect. Because he was the more severe victim of it. But they're both prime examples of it. There is nothing else to see there. Unless you're the type who insist on rubbernecking a trainwreck.
  • Dougie Rankin
    I hate to tell you this guys, but if you freeze the first video (Original) at 56 seconds you can see Greedo's shot hitting the wall next to Han's head! Looks like old Mr Lucas is telling the truth.
    • Steven
      Can't see it, but I do see Greedo before the flash with his gunning pointing to what would be the right of Han's head, yet the 'shot' hits to the left.....
  • David Balderdash
    The wide screen, laser disc transfer, of the unaltered, original trilogy released on DVD will forever be in my possession. It will never exist on Blu-ray, but I will always have it in a form that isn't VHS. This will (and has to be) good enough for me.
  • Blurb
    First of all: Han shot first. Now on to my comment: I don't understand the huge surprise in all of this. This is the man who named one of cinema's most iconic heroes after his dog, which was - rather lamely - named after a state. Three of the more iconic aliens from the Jabba's barge scene in RotJ were named, Klaatu, Barada, and Nikto (if you need an explanation then you're not much of a sci-fi fan). The evil space station in Star Wars is called the "Death Star" - very original. And despite trying for decades to make "lightsaber" a  household name, Lucas has in recent years called them, "laser swords". Also: if FirstShowing had enough clout to get a Lucas interview, they would NEVER pose the questions with the vehemence with which this article is written. And you want to call out HIS lack of "artistic integrity"?
  • lando
    honestly, Im a fan, saw star wars in the theater when I was four, etc etc..first and foremost: George created it, its his baby, he can do whatever he wants with it. I have both the original and the greedo shot first dvd, at this point, I don't care what insanity he has to say, he knows as well as I do that he can ruin our relationship as much as he wants but he'll always have my money! as we speak I'm waiting for this weeks clone wars. I buy the video games, Im watching phantom menace this weekend, he owns my firstborn child.. we can bitch about him all we want, but in the end, star wars is my childhood and I'm there anytime he want to put something new or old in front of me. done...he wins.   you guys realize this franchise will out live us all right? just checking...
  • Anonymous
    Know what seems obsessive-compulsive? This endless debate over a second of film that (let's be honest) doesn't have any real significance. No matter what, Han leaves and Greedo doesn't because he's shot. The whole cold-blooded killer thing was fair enough for a change I guess, but geez, the fans (if they can still be called that) just won't shut the hell up about any tiny little changes.
    • Tall Cool One
      Not fans of George Lucas, but fans of Star Wars.  The Original Star Wars that became a blockbuster in '77 and made Lucas a ton of money.  Most of us are upset because we can't get the original on blu ray or even a decent DVD format.  I'm also upset that I can't get the theatrical version of Amadeus or the unrated version of Live Free or Die Hard on blu ray.  When people see a film and fall in love with it and are then denied that version of it, it upsets them.  That's why there are 4 versions of Blade Runner and 2 versions of Apocolypse now on blu ray.
    • Xerxexx
      Richard, thank you! Best post ever.
  • Anonymous
    wasn't it that guy who shot first on the grassy knoll?
  • Sethamus
    Very excited to see a viral start up for ASM.  Sadly, I am in the wrong place at the wrong time so no swag for me. Curse you Parker!  Lose stuff closer to me!!
  • Max Renn
    George Lucas is dead to me.
  • Wbenderdrums
    wow! Seattle? I live in Tacoma, so I should ask my mom to take there and find the next clue. looking forward to see this movie. i bet this is the year of the comic book movies.
  • JHBP
    What George fails to grasp is that his revisionist versions make for a worse movie! The reason it matters who shot first is not just about the accuracy of our fan experience…it matters because it effects the story and characters: A more calculated and brutal Han is one who should never show up to save Luke in the final battle…thus we appreciate the change and growth that his return highlights. That growth is based on his experiences with Luke, Obi-wan, and Leia in which he starts to care about them and also sees the value of sacrifices like Obi-wan’s; experiences he didn’t have when he cold-bloodily kills Greedo to save his own skin. (Btw, That scene is also a necessary contrast to the previous fight where Obi-wan doesn’t strike first!) And the thing is we know Lucas used to understand this, at least a little, because he did the exact same thing with Madmartigan in Willow! Remember that Willow leaves the baby, Elora Danon with Madmartigan, who promptly looses her to the Brownies but doesn’t care at all, because he’s selfish like Han – until he’s accidentally reunited with Willow and the baby and starts to develop an affinity to them. There were no editing issues in there! Madmartigan is sleeping with another dudes wife instead of caring about the Elora. I know Lucas had lots of plans that didn’t work out just how he envisioned…but he’s never learned that sometimes an accident can improve an artist’s work. Just ask his buddy Steven how Jaws would be if he got the shark to work so that he could show it right at the beginning!
  • Han didn't shoot first. To say so would imply that Greedo got off a shot as well. Han shot, Greedo did not.
  • Chris
    Just an observation: Han fires from under the table, yet there is an explosion on top of the table; is it possible that Lucas is telling the truth?
    • Tall Cool One
      He shoots through the table
  • Dustin Asher
    ...and it's always been George Lucas who tries to destroy my childhood memories first.
  • lando
    Geez people...get over it already! you want to see what "raped childhood" memories look like?!?!?!?! watch GIJOE!! get over who shot who first, you can watch either version whenever you want.  my childhood memories are intact. nobody can change your memories, get over it.
  • George Lucas is such an idiot.
  • Marco
    I know it's been a long time since the last comment was made but i believe this needs to be ended with an opinion from both sides. Everyone needs to stop insulting George Lucas and his descision to make Greedo shoot first. George Lucas's descision was based on the judgment that if Han had shot first it would've made him look like a cold-blooded killer. Many of you say that that Han shooting first doesn't make him look like a cold-blooded killer but picture this. Han being cold-blooded and shooting first, misses the point completely. Instead George Lucas's descision to make Han shoot second foreshadows the change in his moral compass towards the end of the trilogy. He goes from being someone that only looks out for himself to someone who helps take down the entire Galactic Empire. That in my opinion is the true reason for that edit. Many of you may disagree (many of you probably will) but you need to stop and look at things from a diffrent angle. Stop looking at who Han was before but who became afterwards. I also believe that you should show more respect to George Lucas. In his time he created Star Wars; something that would be loved for generations and will continued to be loved for an eternity. Some of you accuse him of being megolomaniacal, pathetic, a bad film maker/writer and even an idiot. But truth is you are downright wrong. His descisions were made with careful judgment and consideration as to what would truly be right in his opinion. It may be your opinion that he is wrong but it doesn't matter because his professional choice trumps your unprofessional tirade. The Star Wars legacy would never have happened without the fans but the movies would never had happened without him. Star Wars is what it is. And what it is, is so much more than you could possibly imagine.
  • creox
    Han shot, Greedo dies. End of story. Even the original script states this but the big reason people get their shorts in a knot is due to the blatant and ongoing revisionism. Hell, Go ahead, George. Make everyone in SW a wookie and they all wake up at the end and it turns out it was all a dream after too much hash. BUT...release the original 1977 unaltered and remastered version as well. Everyone wins.
  • keep_it_real
    Greedo always shot first! and Oceania has always been at war with eastasia!




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