Did Han shoot first? In my mind, it will never change:
Of course he did.
But once again I feel betrayed by George Lucas. (The first time was in the theater watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.*)
George Lucas and Revisionist History
In this article on Rollingstone.com, George Lucas tries to explain how Han needs to be a John Wayne figure to marry Leia, the kind of guy who would only shoot in self-defense (ie, after being shot at).
I disagree, and from two different directions:
- There’s nothing wrong with Han as a self-focused, self-preserving scoundrel who later learns (by being around the right kind of friends) to put others first. This feels like an authentic character journey and doesn’t detract from his appeal or worthiness at all.
- When you KNOW the bounty hunter is there to kill you, “self-defense” should not require waiting until the bad guy gets a shot off. Even today’s absurd legal defense criteria admits that all you need is to *feel* that your life is in immediate danger to justify deadly force in self-defense.
Here’s a video comparing the two scenes:
Part of me wishes I could get my hands on an original script just to see if Lucas is telling the truth about how Greedo “always shot first”, but part of me doesn’t care. I know what I saw when I first watched Star Wars, and that’s that.
* Despite the disappointments, however, I want this clear: I still love George Lucas. Creators can make story decisions that I don’t like (Joss Whedon!), and even lie to me, and it won’t change my love for them. How does the saying go? To err is human. To forgive, divine. I choose the divine path, even though it’s not popular. People sure do love to hate on other people, don’t they? Just remember: that’s the path to the dark side.