Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog


George Lucas, Meet George Lucas

Yeah, in the grand scheme of things the delusions of a filmmaker seem pretty small. But to those of us who were around when Episode IV A New Hope was just simply Star Wars, it matters, damn it!

George Lucas has slipped so far into fantasy land that he thinks he can explain away one of the worst mistakes of his film career.

No, not Howard the Duck; any movie with Lea Thompson can't be all bad.

I'm talking about the revised 'gunfight' between Han and Greedo.

According to Lucas, the millions of people who remember Solo blowing that poor green bastard away have just been imagining things all these years. Lucas says that Han never shot first; that it was a piece of sloppy film editing that made it look like he fired first.

There's one problem with that little bit of revisionist history. In the novelization of Star Wars, written by Lucas, it says otherwise.
"Going somewhere, Solo?"
The Corellian couldn't identify the voice, coming as it did through an electronic translator. But there was no problem recognizing the speaker or the gun it held stuck in Solo's side.
The creature was roughly man-sized and bipedal, but its head was something out of delirium by way of an upset stomach. It had huge, dull-faceted eyes, bulbous on a pea-green face. A ridge of short spines crested the high skull, while nostrils and mouth were contained in a tapirlike snout.
"As a matter of fact," Solo replied slowly, "I was just on my way to see your boss. You can tell Jabba I've got the money I owe him."
"That's what you said yesterday-and last week-and the week prior to that. It's too late, Solo. I'm not going back to Jabba with another one of your stories."
"But I've really got the money this time!" Solo protested.
"Fine. I'll take it now, please."
Solo sat down slowly. Jabba's minions were apt to be cursed with nervous trigger fingers. The alien took the seat across from him, the muzzle of the ugly little pistol never straying from Solo's chest.
"I haven't got it here with me. Tell Jabba-"
"It's too late, I think. Jabba would rather have your ship."
"Over my dead body," Solo said unamiably.
The alien was not impressed. "If you insist. Will you come outside with me, or must I finish it here?"
"I don't think they'd like another killing in here," Solo pointed out.
Something which might have been a laugh came from the creature's translator. "They'd hardly notice. Get up, Solo. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. You've embarrassed me in front of Jabba with your pious excuses for the last time."
"I think you're right."
Light and noise filled the little corner of the cantina, and when it had faded, all that remained of the unctuous alien was a smoking, slimy spot on the stone floor.
Solo brought his hand and the smoking weapon it held out from beneath the table, drawing bemused stares from several of the cantina's patrons and clucking sounds from its more knowledgeable ones. They had known the creature had committed its fatal mistake in allowing Solo the chance to get his hands under cover.
"It'll take a lot more than the likes of you to finish me off. Jabba the Hutt always did skimp when it came to hiring his hands."
Leaving the booth, Solo flipped the bartender a handful of coins as he and Chewbacca moved off. "Sorry for the mess. I always was a rotten host."

And there it is, written by the man himself. Greedo never even got a shot off; as Luca wrote, his fate was sealed the moment he lat Han get his hand under the table.

I feel better now.
Posted by Rich
Commentary • (5) CommentsPermalink

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take it from an old hired gun, solo shot first first, or he wouldn't have been the one walking away. if you have to shoot someone don't waste time with conversation, get it done.
Posted by "gunner"  on  02/17  at  10:03 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Truth and integrity matters.
Posted by Marilyn Vancil  on  02/17  at  10:36 PM

I never understood why Lucas changed it, or denied doing it.

Han Solo was a scoundrel, a smuggler (and a pirate) and a pretty good pilot. He was tough, and a touch nuts, but he held preservation of his own life at the center of his world view. He knew when to run and when to fight, and most importantly, he'd cheat to win if necessary. (the implication that he cheated to win the Millenium Falcon is clearly stated by Lando, who himself is another unsavory character)

None of that, however, means he's not a good guy, or at least someone the audience can like. In a world with true bad guys like Darth Vader, Han Solo is easily a good guy.

The implication that he cheated at a "fair fight" is hardly unsavory, considering the kind of character Han was. The audience doesn't want a "knight in shining armor" Han, who would do everything perfectly and by the book. They want the "cheat to win if I have to" Han. They want the "shot-first" Han, because that is who he is, and what makes us love him. A Han Solo that would have waited for Greedo to shoot first would never have survived in Jabba's world. He'd have been long dead. Relying on Greedo to shoot first means he's also relying on Greedo to miss--not a sound strategy from any viewpoint.
Posted by Shrimp  on  02/28  at  02:07 PM

adding to my initial comment above,
quoting a former border patrol agent, "in
a gunfight there are no second place winners"
Posted by "gunner"  on  02/28  at  02:37 PM

Of course Solo got the first shot off. Lucas replaced Greedo's gun with a hand-held radio!
Posted by TJ  on  03/05  at  05:01 PM

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