Greedo shoots first

The 1997 altered version of Star Wars depicts bounty hunter Greedo firing a shot at Han Solo shortly before Solo responds in kind. In the original 1977 version, Han is the only one to shoot; the alteration is a point of intense controversy within Star Wars and cinephile circles.

"Han shot first" is a phrase used by Star Wars fans to refer to a controversial change made to a scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the scene, the characters Han Solo and Greedo meet at the Mos Eisley Cantina, where Greedo has come to collect the bounty on Solo. Solo and Greedo sit opposite each other at a table and hold a conversation while Greedo keeps his blaster aimed at Solo. During their conversation Solo covertly moves his hand under the table to his own blaster.

In the original theatrical version of the film, Solo shoots Greedo under the table and Greedo dies without firing a shot. In the 1997 Special Edition version, the scene was altered so that Greedo shoots at Solo first, but misses (at point-blank range), followed by the original shot by Solo, now retaliatory. Thus, the phrase "Han shot first" is a retort to director George Lucas' explicit assertion that "Greedo shot first."

Lucas' rationaleEdit

George Lucas explained the change by stating that he wanted to make clear to children that Han had "no choice" but to shoot Greedo. This justification was unsatisfactory to many long-time and adult fans of the series. The ire of some fans led to an online petition demanding that the changes be retracted.[1] The primary objection to the revision is that it alters Han's initially morally ambiguous character, making his later transition from anti-hero to hero less meaningful; others claim that shooting Greedo first was justified, since Solo was likely to be killed by Greedo or Jabba the Hutt. The plausibility of Greedo missing from such a short distance is also considered questionable, and criticized as being depicted in an awkwardly facile manner.

Since the Special Editions, there have been two DVD releases. In the 2004 DVD release, the disputed scene was altered again. In this version, Greedo still shoots before Solo does, and he still misses at close range, but the timing is altered (so the shots are fired at almost the same time) and Solo "dodges" the shot (by digitally leaning him to the side).

The 2006 DVD had two versions—the 2004 changes and the original theatrical version. The theatrical version features no changes, including Han Solo shooting without Greedo firing a shot. When announcing the dual-version DVDs, Lucasfilm noted that the scene was included by saying: "...and yes, [viewers] see Han Solo shoot first."[2]

References in popular cultureEdit

In July 2007, Lucas was observed wearing a T-shirt with the words "Han shot first" on the set of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull[3][4] and other events. In Aaron Allston's 2006 Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novel Betrayal, Leia says the line, "He's fine. Han shot first."[5] Coincidentally, long before the Special Edition edit and the ensuing controversy, Han himself said "I happen to like to shoot first" in Brian Daley's 1979 novel Han Solo at Stars' End, finishing the statement with "As opposed to shooting second."[6] In the 2001 film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, one of the characters played by Ben Affleck claimed the idea of a Jay and Silent Bob movie was "the worst idea since Greedo shooting first". In another Kevin Smith movie (Clerks II), it is said that Dante and Randal would argue in school over who shot first: Han or Greedo.

The idea appeared as an in-joke in Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, with Col Serra claiming that Han "doesn't always shoot first when it comes to bounty hunters". The phrase also appeared in an episode of the Mythbusters, where Grant asked Tori whether Han shot first. Tori replied that Han did.

See alsoEdit


  1. "Han Shoots First". Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  2. "This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD". 2006-05-03. Archived from the original on 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2006-12-03. 
  3. "Recursion shot first!". Stop Motion Verbosity. July 23, 2007. Archived from the original on 2008-06-26. 
  4. "George Lucas wearing "Han shot first" T-Shirt" (JPG). 
  5. Allston, Aaron. Betrayal. Del Rey, 2006.
  6. Daley, Brian. Han Solo at Stars' End. Del Rey, 1979.

External linksEdit


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