George Lucas has been making the media rounds lately for Red Tails and the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace, and of course reporters can’t resist bringing up age old questions about the Star Wars universe. In one of the interviews, Lucas explains why he changed the Han Solo and Greedo scene in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Of all the changes made in the special editions, this is the one you’ll hear fans freak out over most often (there’s no rage quite like nerd-rage). His explanation might fuel the flames of said rage. He basically says Han never shot first—and it’s actually plausible.
Read his explanation after the break.
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.
While a part of me has always thought the whole shooting first thing said a lot about Han’s character, he also never quite struck me as a stone cold murderer. I could easily picture him punching Greedo but not necessarily pulling out his blaster without an overt threat to his life (other than the threatened bounty). I’m not saying I like the idea of Han not shooting first, but I’m saying I think it sort of fits. I don’t think Lucas is backpedaling at all either. If he says he shot it with the intention of showing Greedo shoot first, well then, okay. What reason does he have to lie—especially since he’s admitting that one of the coolest scenes in the movie was actually a mistake.
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