Tag Archives: Han Solo

Before & After the Special Editions: Han and Greedo (Part 1)

Before & After the Special Editions:
Han and Greedo (Part 1)
Stuart Tullis

Change is a part of life.  It’s a part of growing up.  Seasons change.  Feelings change.  Even friends change as we move from school to school, job to job, town to town, or even simply through the natural progression of events.  But until the end of the last century, there were some things we took for granted would never change.  Then came the Star Wars Special Editions, and even our presuppositions changed.

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In truth, Star Wars has been changing since the first releases of the original film in 1977.  There were different audio mixes with various voices in familiar roles even then.  Most fans are aware that “Episode IV” and “A New Hope” were not in the opening scroll of the original cut; these were added in a later release.  These changes, however, are usually overlooked (quite possibly because the earliest copies available on home video already included these early alterations).

But when the Star Wars Special Editions were released twenty years after the initial release of the first film, the initial excitement about seeing Star Wars in theaters was soon accompanied with complaints from long-time fans about the changes George Lucas made in his classic trilogy.  Not the least of which was centered around Han Solo’s encounter with Greedo in the cantina.  The familiar line “Yes, I bet you have,” was punctuated, not with a blast from Han’s DL-44, but a shot fired from Greedo’s drawn weapon.

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“Han shot first!” was the rallying cry of disgruntled fanboys and fangirls in response to this apparently minuscule change in the brief encounter — a change that altered less than two seconds in the final cut of the Special Edition.  What is it about this change that set fans on edge?  Why does the order of shots being fired continue to cause debate and dissension among the ranks of the faithful?

In my opinion (and I’ve been considering it for some seventeen years, now), that one shot completely changed the character of Han Solo, his journey through the three films, and even the story of the saga itself.  Consider how Han changed by this notorious editorial revision of the duel between the scoundrel and a bounty hunter….

Before the change, Han Solo lived up to his namesake.  He was a loner, facing the galaxy on his own.  He lived on his own terms and survived by his own skills.  Because of this, he maintained no commitments (other than to Chewbacca, but that was evidently more of Chewie’s commitment to Han than the other way around).  Being alone means taking care of your own business and even becoming your own security.  As a smuggler, Han was in a dangerous profession; this wasn’t the first time he had looked down the barrel of a blaster.  This dangerous, streetwise version of Han maintained his composure through the entire encounter, feigning disinterest while setting up the shot against his would-be assassin.  When Han fired, we understood the gravity of the situation: had he not killed Greedo, he would have been killed himself (a fact Greedo had already implicitly confirmed).  Han owed his allegiance to no one but himself, and he would do whatever was necessary to ensure his survival.  He was smart, skilled, and tough — no one to be trifled with.

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After the change, Han Solo had lost his edge.  Though he talked a good game with Luke and Ben at the table, and while he seemed to be confident in his conversation with Greedo, Han lived a half-second from the grave, owing his existence to luck.  In the 1997 theatrical release of Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition, Greedo not only got the draw on Han, but clearly fired the first shot.  Han’s slow reflexes in his trigger finger (incredibly slow for a smuggler and hot-shot pilot) were compensated by a combination of Greedo’s terrible aim and Han’s good fortune. When the movie was released on DVD, Han’s reflexes seemingly improved, though Greedo still got off a shot before Han could squeeze the trigger.  Arguably, Han’s dangerous situation remains intact throughout these changes, but his character has been forever altered.  Han has become a nice guy, giving others the benefit of the doubt even in the gravest of situations.  Perhaps he doesn’t realize that his luck could run out some day.  Maybe he would rather let others make the first move, trusting he could dodge laser blasts and respond appropriately after the fact.  This latter Han would have been completely in character to get up from his seat, turn to the Wuher and say, “It’s not my fault; he shot first!” keeping his credit in his pocket instead of flipping it to the bartender as he uttered the memorable phrase, “Sorry about the mess,” which better suits a man who doesn’t make excuses for defending himself.

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In case you can’t tell, I favor the original telling of the story in this instance.  Even though Greedo’s shot has been inserted into the movie, it really doesn’t fit the scheme of the scene.  Han is trying to distract Greedo from noticing that he’s drawing his blaster by looking up to what he’s doing with his left hand against the wall (a classic move to draw the eye away from the sleight-of-hand).  If Han was going to let Greedo shoot anyway, there would be no need to distract his draw — they could just start the shootout.  Furthermore, letting Greedo get a shot off at all emasculates Han, leaving him a static, relatively shallow character instead of the skilled pilot who has some experience to match his cool confidence and braggadocio.  This scene affects the way we see Han throughout the rest of the trilogy, as well — but that’s something we will check out next week as we continue to look at “Before & After the Special Editions: Han and Greedo Pt. 2”.

Star Wars Scrapbook: Star Wars Kid

Greetings Bothans! What follows is a post about the Star Wars memories of a long time fan, Stuart Tullis. Reminisce about battles set in a galaxy far, far away, at a time that we have long passed, with characters, creatures, and stories we shall always love. Many of you will know Stuart, a fan of RebelForce Radio, but he is also a podcaster over at TechnoRetro Dads, so be sure to check that out! With that, I’ll let Stuart take us a long time ago, to a galaxy far, far away…. ~ Bethany Blanton

Star Wars Scrapbook

On a warm night in northeastern Kentucky, three kids sat atop hood of the family car, captivated by the characters on the screen at the drive-in movie.  Although the sound came from a small speaker on the pole beside the car and the picture on the screen paled in comparison to today’s high definition resolution, the sights and sounds they saw that night would be forever imprinted on their minds as well as the minds of hundreds of millions of both children and adults since 1977.  And though I don’t remember whether I was four or five at the time (my age is dependent on whether my mother’s recollection that we saw it in 1977 is correct or my brother’s insistence that it was 1978 is the year), what I do remember is that I wanted to see more of that “galaxy far, far away”.

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I am a Star Wars kid.  Everyone was a Star Wars kid in the late ‘70s.  We reenacted that movie in the basement, in the backyard, at school, at our friends’ homes, in the park, at the camp, and at the playground.  Before we had any official Star Wars toys, we shot stormtroopers with tree-branch blasters and had lightsaber duels with sticks, tubes, and vuvuzelas.  We quoted lines (and probably misquoted lines), pretended we were on the run from the Empire’s sinister agents, and jumped off walls into homemade trash compactors.  We wondered about the Clone Wars, imagining a younger Obi-Wan Kenobi with the father of Luke Skywalker flying their spaceships on missions as directed by their commander Bail Organa.  When we played dodgeball at school, we thought we could hear the voice of Obi-Wan telling us to “use the Force” as we prepared to throw the ball.  Car rides were especially exciting, since the car behind us was most certainly a TIE fighter in disguise, waiting for the right moment to fire at us.  Star Wars was everywhere because we took it with us in our minds. Continue reading

Rumor: Millennium Falcon No Longer Solo’s in Episode VII?

More Ep. VII rumor goodness! In a roundup over at the Latino Review, it was stated that the Millennium Falcon may no longer belong to everyone’s favorite scoundrel in Ep. VII

The bad news is that Han Solo and Chewie lost the Millennium Falcon and Oscar Isaac’s character owns it now. I don’t know if Han’s new position as wife of a princess and man with kids made him want to settle down or if the Falcon is this universe’s most gambled ship (sorry Lando!), but Han and Chewbacca don’t have the Falcon because Oscar Isaacs has it.

Via Latino Review:

The Falcon!

All I can say is Han had better recover the freighter while shouting “Get off MY STARSHIP!”

-Riley Blanton

Honor Among Jawas – SWBW #24

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This episode we don’t have any major discussion topics but we do have two great guests to help us review the novel Honor Among Thieves.

  • We were thrilled to have first time guest Shazbazzar from the Techno Retro Dads podcast.
  • Returning for the first time since our 3rd episode we also have James Floyd from Club Jade and Big Shiny Robot.
  • The Star Wars Bookworms book club is going strong and now has close to 90 members. Join us over at Goodreads.com.
  • Teresa will be at Star Wars Weekends all weekends and Aaron will be there the weekend of May 23rd. Let us know if you are going. We would love to meet you!
  • Is Legends a separate universe? Can it still fit? Our guests weigh in on how they will view the “Expanded Universe” going forward.
  • The most thorough podcast review of Honor Among Thieves you will find anywhere! We talk about everything including Han’s characterization, Scarlet Hark, colorful pirates and smugglers, one underused Wookiee, and Indiana Jones.

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