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Han Shot First….and Kids Don’t Even Know It



Posted by Steve

I got an e-mail in response to my latest episode of Geek Out Loud in which the writer mentioned that he wasn’t familiar with a version of Star Wars in which Han shot Greedo first. While I was surprised by this, I wasn’t too surprised.

The generation that I grew up in who was introduced to Han being one of the cooler, meaner, badder guys in the galaxy kind of assumes that everyone hates what was done in the Special Editions in the late nineties. The truth is, I was 20 years old when the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy hit theatres, and there were a LOT of kids who had their first exposure to Star Wars in any way in theatres that year.

The first time I was aware that there were people who didn’t know the way things went down in the original versions of the film was once while hanging out with a good friend of mine who is a few years younger than me. (Shout out to Heath, aka Skinner, aka Big Kerm) We were talking about the trailer for Revenge of the Sith and that spiraled into a full on geek out session about Star Wars. I mentioned something about Lucas changing the way the Han/Greedo scene went down and he asked what I was talking about. I proceeded to pull out my old VHS copy of Star Wars and fast forward to the scene. First, I showed Him Greedo shooting a la the Special Edition. Then, I pushed play on the VCR. He just sat there for a second and finally said, “Why did Lucas change that?!?” To this day, that’s the sixty thousand dollar question for me. I understand every other change. I accept Lucas’ explanations and understand where he’s coming from. However, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard the Greedo shooting first scenario explained.

Anywho, for those of you who may have been unaware…here is the scene as it was originally released…..

16 Responses to “Han Shot First….and Kids Don’t Even Know It”

  1. Will Says:

    That was awesome!

  2. C~Rose Says:

    I 2 never knew this until recently. I also wonder y Lucas changed that? Maybe he wanted Han to be a better role model 4 kids and didn’t think having Han shoot first would be a good example? Idk, that’s one possible scenario…but I would like to hear Lucas’ reasoning behind it.

  3. Adam C Says:

    I cant believe it myself. He was a scoundrel and of course he’d shoot first!

    Lucas took away my innocence with this decision.

    Why be honorable anyway it’s a damn bounty hunter, scum of the universe 🙂

  4. Laura Says:

    I remember hearing thinking ooh why did they do that, during the movie the first time I saw the Special Edition. Later I saw an interview with G.L. in which he said that the Greedo shooting first was the original script. But it was argued that it would be ridiculous for a bounty hunter to miss at such a close distance, so that was removed.

    He then stated that he had received complaints from people that in the “Han Shot first” version the audiences introduction to this character was too misleading. We are introduced to him in the beginning as a cold blooded murderer and people had a hard time getting past that to who Han really was.

    Interesting interview, I thought. It was also one where he admitting that he took a big risk by adding Jar-Jar.

  5. Courtney Says:

    THANK YOU for posting this. I am 30 and always refer to the original Star Wars releases as these were the ones I grew up watching (constantly at that!) I also have never quite understood the change and suggest anyone who hasn’t to watch these movies in their original cuts…

  6. Satellite Feed (Denis) Says:

    Hey there Steve,

    Thank you, thank you and thank you for showing this clip to the world at large. While not a “purist” (ie: maintaining that George Lucas should have never touched the original Star Wars movies) I always maintained two big critiques with the “Special Editions”.

    One was the Greedo shooting first element. I never thought ill of Han Solo for his actions in the original movie. He’s a smuggler, an outlaw, a scoundrel (take your pick) who had a gun pulled on him by a bounty hunter. You don’t let the other guy get a shot off first. Han handled his business. While some may argue that the redone scene makes Han’s actions more justifiable, I always felt it was taking away from his “rogue” nature and lessened his character progression of “thinking about himself” to “hero of the rebellion”.

    The second was the removal of Sebastian Shaw as the “Force Ghost” of Anakin Skywalker, and not because of a dislike for Hayden Christensen. In my mind it was the equivalent of “re-mastering” the old James Bond movies and digitally erasing Sean Connery for (the then Bond) Pierce Brosnan (or the modern Bond, Daniel Craig). While I understand why Lucas did it, it still felt like a slight slap in the face to Shaw.

    Keep up the great work,

  7. FSG Says:

    Here’s another thing that kids in the future won’t know…that Episode I didn’t come first. Imagine, if you will, starting the Star Wars sextology with The Phantom Menace and going from there…because that’s the way that kids of tomorrow are going to do it (unless faithful geeks lead them down the righteous path)

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