Building Your Empire One Book at a Time


Graphic Novels
Novel Timeline
Young Adult Novels
Short Story Timeline
FREE Official Stories

In-Galaxy Reference
RPG Sourcebooks

Behind the Scenes
Unofficial Books

Other Media
Star Wars Audiobooks
Star Wars DVDs
Star Wars Magazines
Star Wars Sheet Music
Strategy Guides
Star Wars Games

Fun Stuff
Star Wars Interviews
Star Wars Articles

Author Biographies
Glossary of Terms
Star Wars Origins
FREE Star Wars Wallpaper

SW Book Zone
Contact Us
About Us
Site Map

Custom Search


Han vs. Greedo
A Look at the Shot Heard Around the Galaxy

By Kat
Staff Writer

June 18, 2009

The 1997 release of Star Wars: Special Edition spurred one of the most controversial Star Wars debates of all time: Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

In the original 1977 release of Star Wars, Han Solo shoots Greedo first. In the 1997 Special Edition version, George Lucas decided to tweak the scene so that Greedo shoots at Han first. The debate has spawned everything from Han Shot First T-shirts to a band named Greedo Shot First. So who really shot first and does it even matter? Here's a look at some of the arguments.

Why Greedo Shot First
George Lucas said that he changed the scene in order to show that Han Solo shot Greedo out of self defense. Showing Han shooting out
Han vs. Greedo
Greedo shoots at Han first in the 1997
Special Edition release of Star Wars.

of self defense makes him look like a good guy early on in the film. Self defense is a more rational and socially accepted reason to shoot someone. Since Han Solo serves as a role model to millions of children, having Han shoot Greedo in defense sets a better example for children.

Why Han Shot First
Supporters of the "Han Shot First" concept cite several viable reasons for their stance. The most obvious is how could Greedo miss at point-blank range? In the scene, Han and Greedo are only separated by a few feet of space. How could Greedo miss such an easy target? There is really no good explanation for his blunder, which can make the moment seem too artificial or forced.

Another argument that Han Shot First believers make is that having Greedo shoot first dilutes the initially dubious Han Solo image. The cantina scene introduces the viewer, and Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi, to Han Solo. Han shooting Greedo first gives him more of an edge and his morality comes into question. The viewer initially perceives Han Solo as the kind of guy who will do anything for money and will nonchalantly shoot anyone that gets in his way, if necessary. A preemptive strike to Greedo solidifies the image of Han Solo as a selfish, disreputable criminal. The viewer then watches his established self-serving attitude chip away in the Death Star space battle, where Han selflessly rescues Luke from being killed by Darth Vader. Showing Han having even an ounce of morality in the early cantina scene arguably decreases the significance of his selfless decision to join the Death Star run.

Does It Even matter?
To me, who shot who first doesn‘t even matter at all. In the scope of the movie, the moment is small and insignificant. At its core, the Han vs. Greedo scene exists to move the story along by demonstrating the gravity of Han Solo's situation--he owes Jabba the Hutt money and he needs to pay him fast. Greedo pointing his blaster at Han, whether he fires or not, asserts the severity of Solo's debt to the Hutt crime lord. The scene reinforces his desperation for some quick cash and helps explain why he agrees to transport Luke Skywalker and Ben Kenobi to their destinations with, as Kenobi said, " questions asked." Since the scene's main objective is to illustrate Han's desperation for money, something as trivial as “who shot first” doesn’t even matter in the larger context of the film.

digg facebook StumbleUpon      

Back to Articles


© 2011 All rights reserved. This site is not affiliated with Lucasfilm Ltd.