Han Shot First

Mos Eisley cantina
“Rodian bounty hunter Greedo made the mistake of cornering Han Solo in a cantina on Tatooine.”

Today’s image from the daily Star Wars calendar that sits on my desk at work: the showdown at the Mos Eisley Cantina.  This is obviously from the Special Edition, because we can see Greedo’s blaster bolt hitting the wall about a foot from Han’s head.

And this still image shows exactly why the Special Edition is so ridiculous.  Greedo shoots at almost point-blank range…and misses Han by a foot?  What an incompetent bounty hunter.  Well, I guess we already knew he was fairly incompetent, since he neglected to disarm his mark, or even keep Han’s hands in sight.

Also, note the expression on Han’s face: totally cool and unconcerned.  He shows no reaction whatsoever to Greedo’s shot.  He has not even moved.  (It’s almost like…Greedo didn’t actually shoot!)

It is clear that Han’s shot is not a reaction to Greedo shooting at all; Han had already made up his mind to shoot.  Does this make him a “cold-blooded killer?”  Absolutely not.  There is nothing “cold-blooded” about someone holding a blaster on you and making explicit threats on your life.  And Han has killed people, sure, but it is clear that his is not looking for trouble–he even tries to talk his way out of the situation with Greedo before resorting to his blaster.

The cantina scene is our introduction to Han, and the original firmly establishes his character as someone who is always looking out for himself.  This is what makes his actions at the end of A New Hope so compelling: Han is now willing to risk his own life for his friends’, and for something greater than himself.

Of all the changes made in the Special Edition, I think this one rankles the most because it is not merely cosmetic.  I hope to watch Han shoot first on my lovely VHS copy of the original theatrical release for many years to come.

4 thoughts on “Han Shot First

  1. starwarsanon March 22, 2013 / 9:42 pm

    I tweeted about this! I have the calendar as well. Do you get them every year? I find this years to be a little lame. My favorite was 2 years ago (2011) when it had the different characters.

    And you know that all the Star Wars fan world agrees with you, right? Han shot first. Only one person wants to disagree and that’s good ol’ George.


    • Mei-Mei March 23, 2013 / 12:23 am

      Yeah, I love those calendars. You’re right, the 2011 one was definitely better; I saved some of the character pages and I have them hanging in my office like mini posters.
      I saw shirts somewhere once that said “Han Shot First” and seriously thought about getting one! As long as we fans know what’s right.
      Thanks for the like, too 🙂


      • starwarsanon March 24, 2013 / 6:01 pm

        I, too, saved some of the character pages and they’re up around my desk at work too. You can see them on this blog post: http://starwarsanon.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/working-space/. And a thought – maybe that Disney is now in charge of Star Wars, perhaps they will change the scene back to how it originally was with Han shooting first. But then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if with the acquisition, George put a clause in the contract saying that they could not change that scene. Lol.


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