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, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The Evidence

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.

#HanShotFirst #StarWarsUntainted


* 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.


Jenna B. · at

Yup. #2.

Laura VanArendonk Baugh · at

I’ve had this tab open for days, waiting to comment….

Han shot first. Period. And changing that takes away from the incredible progression he made from a snarky egotistical rogue to a snarky dedicated rogue.

Han doesn’t have to be wholly worthy of marrying Leia right in his introduction; he’s got a full three movies before they even get around to agreeing they’re in love, much less getting married.

Plus, you’re completely correct about self-defense; Greedo has already stated that he will kill Han if he’s not paid off, and Han doesn’t have the money with him. Ergo, Greedo is about to kill him (“That’s the idea”). Making Han into someone who hopes the problem somehow just goes away, instead of dealing with it head on, fundamentally changes who he is — which is why the fandom reacted so vehemently to the change.

You’re right. Han shot first. And I don’t hate Lucas, but I think he made a couple of poor story decisions, and that revision was one!

    Teddi · at

    So glad you had the chance to comment, Laura. I love the way you put that: “progression… from a snarky egotistical rogue to a snarky dedicated rogue”. Nailed it.

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