Who shot first, Han or Greedo? This simple question is the basis of a Star Wars fan debate that has raged for decades, but now a new perspective squashes the whole argument.
For those who (somehow) haven’t heard of it already, the quandary is thus: In the original version of A New Hope when bounty hunter Greedo approaches Han Solo at gunpoint and sits him down for a little talk, Solo cuts the conversation short by shooting Greedo dead. However, George Lucas changed the encounter for the Special Edition re-release to make it look like Greedo shot first, and the most recent version that debuted on Disney+ even added a threat in Greedo’s alien tongue (“Malunkey!” roughly translates to “This’ll be the end of you!”). Lucas’ reasoning behind the change was to make Solo appear to be more of a John Wayne-esque cowboy where he’d give the other guy the first shot, as opposed to shooting first and coming off as a cold-blooded killer.
Lucas’ change has divided the Star Wars fandom. There are those who prefer that Han shot first because it establishes him as a morally grey character, which makes for a richer payoff when he decides to be a good person and do the right thing by helping Luke and the Rebel Alliance in the final act. And on the other side are those who like the change because it makes Solo seem more noble from the start.
But the way reddit user The_Last_Boy_Scout sees it, there shouldn’t even be an argument in the first place. “If you remove all the context and Western tropes from the Han and Greedo scene in Episode IV, you’re left with a scene where a guy shoots someone who’s pointing a gun and announcing their intent to murder him,” they explained. “Textbook self-defense. There was never any moral ambiguity to alter.”
And that is certainly a valid point. Obviously the scene was meant to evoke Western tropes where the smooth-talking gunslinger is cornered by a mercenary looking to collect the price on his head, but if you look at it through a more practical, real-world lens, then Solo’s got the law on his side.
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When you consider that Greedo approached Solo with obvious intent to do him harm with that blaster of his, Solo was well within his rights to defend his life. Don’t let Solo’s casual demeanor fool you. It may not have looked like he was taking Greedo seriously, but he understood that the bounty hunter was putting him in a life-or-death situation, and by killing Greedo he was only doing what he needed to do to survive.
If Greedo wasn’t armed when he approached Solo, then that would be a whole different story worthy of debate. But when looking at the situation from this particular point of view, it’s hard to say that Solo was in the wrong to take the first shot at Greedo, from a perspective of morality and arguably legality (even though it doesn’t seem like Mos Eisley has much in the way of laws).
And lest we forget, mere moments before this altercation, Obi-Wan Kenobi had killed Dr. Cornelius Evazan and sliced off Ponda Baba’s arm for good measure. And what did they do? They pulled a gun! Yet no one ever gives Kenobi a bad rap.
What do you think of this take on the age-old Star Wars debate? Let us know in the comments.
Source: IGN.com Star Wars: New Han Solo/Greedo Argument Trumps All Others