I love George Lucas; always have, always will. His imagination spawned the entire Star Wars universe, for which he has served as writer, director, and producer, amongst other things. His wondrous franchise is seemingly more popular than ever, if you’ve been paying attention to the Force Awakens worldwide box office.
That being said, Lucas isn’t infallible. Besides the Star Wars prequels, which more than a few people have issues with, my biggest gripe with Lucas is the way he changed what I view to be a perfect movie: Episode IV: A New Hope. As you almost certainly know, when the film was originally released in 1977, the Mos Eisley cantina scene featured Han Solo (Harrison Ford), a smuggler working for Jabba the Hut, being confronted at gunpoint by Greedo, a dangerous bounty hunter. After some back and forth where the bounty hunter tells Solo that he’s been waiting a long time to kill him, Solo shoots Greedo before he can get a shot off. In the scene, it’s clear that the wisecracking smuggler is about to be killed and shooting Greedo is his only option to get out of a dangerous and life-threatening situation.
When the film was re-released in 1997, everything changed.
Lucas, thinking the cantina scene made Solo look like a “cold-blooded killer,” added a shot where Greedo shoots first at Solo, opening Solo to return fire in self-defense, and he quickly dispatches Greedo. The change rightly enraged the intensely devotional fan base. Not only did it completely change the scene, it made the bounty hunter a chump. How could this tough bounty hunter that got the drop on Solo miss him at point blank range?!
Lucas must have heard the complaints because for the 2004 DVD release he was at it again, changing the scene’s timing so the shots were fired at the same time and Solo dodges Greedo’s shot. While this change made the scene better than the 1997 edition, it still altered a scene that should have been left alone.
In the years since these changes were made, you’ve probably seen people wearing t-shirts that said “Han Shot First” and read numerous fan theories and think pieces on the face-off. It’s one of those things that Star Wars fans take very seriously.
So when I attended the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press junket I decided to ask director J.J. Abrams and cast members Harrison Ford, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie who shot first. Check out what they had to say below:
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