BY REBECCA MCCABE
Back when Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977 few may have guessed how the movie would begin a very successful franchise. Star Wars was the creation of George Lucas, who introduced audiences to a new form of science fiction. He created different methods of bring outer space to life. He created fighters with special powers that would defend goodness throughout the universe. These fighters are called Jedi and their special power is called the force. Their weapon of choice is an amazing lighted sword called a lightsaber. His ideas have kept movie watchers captivated and entertained for almost 40 years.
My dad and mom remember watching each movie as it came out in their childhoods. They still love them as much as I do today.
In the 1970’s, technology was very limited and George Lucas created a movie that seemed very advanced for its time. Twenty years after the original movie came out, George Lucas made a special edition where he used updated technology to make the special effects better in Star Wars and its two sequels, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”. Not only did he change the technology, but he also changed some scenes.
One of these scenes in Star Wars has become a hot topic of debate. Since 1997, Star Wars fans everywhere have been fighting over one question: “Who Shot First?” This is an argument about whether Greedo or Han Solo pulled the trigger first. In the original, Greedo doesn’t even get to shoot his gun because he is dead. In the special edition, however, Greedo shoots first and misses, and then Han shoots him to save himself. Many people, including me, believe strongly that the original Star Wars movie shows the correct order of shots. Han shot first!
In both the Star Wars 1977 and its special edition movie 20 years later, the scene the fans are arguing about is basically the same. It starts out with Han Solo, a notorious, money hungry smuggler, just finishing making a deal with Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi to take them to Alderaan for a great deal of money. While getting up to leave, Han is stopped by a bounty hunter named Greedo who makes him sit down by pointing a gun at him. Greedo explains that his boss, Jabba the Hut, is sick of Han never finishing his smuggling jobs to pay Jabba back the money Hans owes him. So, Jabba has put a bounty on Han’s head. After a heated discussion, Han pulls out his gun and shoots Greedo. Or at least that’s how it goes in the 1977 original version. In the 1997 remake, George Lucas adds in an extra clip where Greedo pulls a gun and shoots but misses, then Han pulls his trigger, killing Greedo, and saving himself.
One problem with this change, is that many fans watched the original movie first, and will never believe that Greedo shot before Han did, even though it is placed the special edition. The original movie came out 20 years before the special edition, which gave people a lot of time to get comfortable with the original scene, and for many people when they get comfortable they don’t want to change. It is wrong to change the facts after 20 years.
Another reason people should continue believing that Han shot first, is because he is a smuggler that is used to disobeying the law. Being a smuggler, he has probably been in more than one gunfight during his lifetime. William Avitt in his article, “Star Wars: Why ‘Han Shot First’ Debate Is Still Important,” explains that “10 times out of 10 if the bad guy gets the chance to shoot first, the good guy won’t have the opportunity to shoot back at all. He will be dead.” (http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/star-wars-why-han-shot-first-debate-is-still-important/) Seeing as how Han Solo isn’t really the “good guy” type at this time in his life, it makes more sense that he likely shot first and would not have just sat there, waiting to be shot.
Another reason to back up the argument that movie watchers should continue believing that Hans shot first is that it helped his character development throughout the trilogy. Star Wars was the first piece of the movie series to come out, so the audience had just barely met Han Solo. Everyone was forming opinions about him as a new character. He was a law-breaking smuggler that owed money to others, and used his ship to transport people and things across the universe. By seeing him shoot Greedo before shoot him, everyone can see that Han is a man in a dangerous, bad business. Within the first three movies the viewers experience Hans going from a bad person to a good one. It is very obvious that he struggles at first between being good and bad. This transition becomes clear when he leaves Luke, but then decides to return and he saves Luke’s life. It is easy to feel that if Han had been given this choice at the beginning of the adventure, he would have taken the money and left, but by the end everyone knows Han is a good guy, a friend to the Jedi.
Many people argue that Greedo shot first. They say that since George Lucas worked on the special edition, he must have chosen to make it more obvious in the special edition that Greedo shot first. They say he did this to fix any misunderstandings anyone might have had from the first movie. When George Lucas was asked about it in an interview, he said, “Han shooting first in the Mos Eisley cantina ran against the character’s principles. “Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’” Lucas asks. “Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.” (http://www.ew.com/article/2015/11/30/george-lucas-han-shoot-first) Obviously George Lucas is saying that in the special edition he changed the order of who shot because he wanted to change how we viewed Han Solo. If Han had not shot first in the original movie, George Lucas would not have decided to change it in the special edition movie. This proves that in the original movie, that millions of people around the world have loved for almost 40 years, Han Solo did indeed kill Greedo before Greedo had a chance to draw his gun. It is impossible to change an original- it will always be the original. So the argument that Greedo shot first makes no sense. He may have shot first in the special edition, but not in the real, original movie.
It is clear that many fans prefer the original version compared to a changed remake. It is hard to change an idea that has been deeply rooted for 20 years before a change was ever attempted. It is also obvious that the character development is much more interesting when Han goes from being a mean, self-centered, in-debt, law-breaking smuggler to an amazing, life-saving, selfless pilot fighting for the good of the universe. No matter what people try to argue, it is very clear that Han Solo shot Greedo first.