Before & After the Special Editions:
Han and Greedo (Part 2)
Last week, I proposed that the exchanged blaster shots between Han and Greedo as seen in the Special Edition essentially changed the lovable smuggler from a “man trying to make his way in the universe” to a relatively shallow character who was inevitably poised to become a hero of the galaxy. This alteration has continued repercussions on his character development throughout the original trilogy as well as affecting the storyline of the Rebellion as a whole.
Before the change, Han Solo progressed from loner to leader. He made a deal to carry two men and two ‘droids to Alderaan for a hefty sum of money, not for a noble cause, and certainly not to rescue a princess. He was coerced into marching into the detention area for an even heftier sum of money. There is no evidence of altruism or heroism in him at all; he is, as the princess states, a mercenary. He made the trip to Yavin IV to collect his promised credits for passage to Alderaan plus the expected reward for rescuing the princess. As Y-Wings and X-Wings were being prepared for the battle ahead of them, Han was filling his hold with credits and cargo. When Luke confronts him about “turning [his] back on them,” Han encourages the youth to join him and Chewie because Luke was “pretty good in a fight”. As the younger man walks off, dejected, Han explains himself to his copilot — fighting against the Death Star was suicide. Still true to his character, Han Solo is in it for himself, hurrying to pay off old debts before he pays with his life.
But in that moment when Darth Vader has Luke’s X-Wing in his sights and his wingmen unexpectedly crash and careen into his TIE, Han Solo’s journey is complete (at least for this first installation in the saga). Although he claimed that he came back so Luke wouldn’t “get all the credit and take all the reward,” when he playfully shoves Luke at the base of his X-Wing, we all realize that there is more to him than money. He returned to fight alongside his friend, to come to the rescue when the call came his way. Han becomes heroic in the footsteps of Luke, who had immediately responded to Princess Leia’s holorecording by making it his mission to deliver the ‘droids to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Han’s motivation seems to stem from personal relationships, however, while Luke’s emphasis is on right and wrong. Therefore Han isn’t committed to the Rebellion, but loyal to his friends. Continue reading