Monday, October 15, 2007

Star Wars IV: A New Hope - Han Solo vs Greedo

Today we look at the death of the Rodian bounty hunter Greedo and the controversial "who shot first" argument. There are three versions of the confrontation between Han Solo and Greedo at the Mos Eisley Cantina. The first version was in the original cinematic release where Han Solo shoots and kills Greedo under the table before he could even get a shot off. The second version was shown in the 1997 re-release of the film, where Greedo shoots first and misses by a foot at point-blank range before Han shoots. The third version came out in the 2004 DVD release, in this version, Greedo shoots first again(although it looks as if they fired at the same time) but Han "dodges" the shot then kills Greedo. I use "dodges" in quotation because the scene was altered digitally so that it looks as if Han moves his head to dodge the shot. George Lucas explained the change by stating that he wanted to make clear to children that Han had "no choice" but to shoot Greedo and to enhance Solo's overall heroism.

To truly understand this scene we have to look into Greedo's back story a little. Originally Greedo planned to buy his own ship but couldn't resist trying to cut the price by stealing some parts. Unfortunately those parts(power couplings) were intended for the Millennium Falcon and he was caught in the act by Chewbacca. As restitution, Han Solo took Greedo's rancor-skin jacket in exchange for the pair of burnt out couplings just taken off the Falcon. Ever since then Greedo has vowed revenge, which is why he eagerly took the contract on Han Solo. Greedo was going to kill Han Solo no matter what and Han knew that, that's why he shot first, to save his own skin.

The truth is that Han Solo is the biggest bad-ass smuggler in the galaxy and knew it was kill or be killed. Poor Greedo, not only was he stupid by not disarming Han and falling for the old "blaster under the table" trick, but the altered scene showed us that he was also a horrible shot.

I've provided both the original cinematic version(top) and the altered third version(bottom).

Related Star Wars Deaths

Episode II - The Demise of Jango Fett
Episode I - The Fall of Darth Maul
Episode VI - A Father's Self Sacrifice
Episode III - Order 66

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Capt Baobab said...

Thank you!

Chris said...

plots aside, one of the best aspects of the original series was how grungy and dark and dirty it looked in comparison to every other sci-fi film at the time. sci-fi was the realm of a clean and pristine future, and star wars came along and mucked it up.

the main problem with the new versions is that they attempt to 'clean up' the dirtyness of star wars. Probably OCD on Lucas' part, but i think you dont have to be a purist to see that his improvements and new films contradict one of the essential aesthetic qualities of the original trilogy.

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