Despite the fact that millions of people saw the scene in theaters and no one ever had any doubt about what happened, Lucas is now saying that Greedo always shot first, and his edits were just making that more obvious.
I don’t know a thing about film and like anything else I run off at the mouth about, I have no formal education in the study of film or entertainment in general. I just have first-hand experience as a kid growing up in America with Star Wars in the theater before George Lucas started suffering from dementia. This experience reinforces the knowledge that the original series is awesome and that the new versions suck.
Every time there is an interview with George Lucas where he talks about how the changes he’s made to the Star Wars films, he inevitably goes on to explain that these changes are made simply to make his original intent clear, or to present them as the films that he intended to make in the first place. There were time constraints, budget constraints, studio and personell issues that hobbled Lucas, and limited his ability to make the films he wanted to make.
This is why he has to release new versions of these movies every few years. This is why he is doing things like adding absurd musical numbers, changing the very personality and behavior of characters, and any number of other bizarre manipulations of one of the greatest stories every created. He was held back, and unable to do things the way he really wanted to.
The only conclusion I can come to is that George Lucas is a bad director. These limitations and outside forces that were making him make compromises? They were some of the best influences on these films, influences that are no longer working against Lucas now. He’s too powerful a figure now, often I imagine him surrounded by a robed Jedi Counsel of sycophants and film school graduates who spend their days soothing him and reminding him of what a genius he is for coming up with Jar Jar Binks.
In the original film, Greedo didn’t shoot first. Greedo didn’t even shoot. He was clearly going to, and that’s why Han had to beat him to it. Cornered by a bounty hunter in the corner of the cantina, there was no way out for Han that didn’t involve stepping over Greedo’s dead body. The mere fact that Lucas claims this is somehow a mistake that we’re making as an audience is malarky. I don’t know why he feels like he has to change Han Solo from a scoundrel space-faring rogue that uses his wits and his blaster to get himself out of trouble into a pacifist who uses violence only in retaliation.
It’s even in the script that way. The one that Lucas wrote.
GREEDO: That's the idea. I've been looking forward to killing you for a long time.
HAN: Yes, I'll bet you have.
Suddenly the slimy alien disappears in a blinding flash of
light. Han pulls his smoking gun from beneath the table as the
other patron look on in bemused amazement. Han gets up and
starts out of the cantina, flipping the bartender some coins
as he leaves.
HAN: Sorry about the mess.
That’s not the only time he was a bad-ass, either. Han didn’t hesitate for a split second when the doors opened in Cloud City and Vader was waiting for him. While everyone stood around looking scared, Han already had his blaster out and fired half a dozen shots before Vader could even use the force to pull it out of his hands. Even a seasoned bounty hunter like Boba Fett knew to wait in the wings until Vader had it all under control and revealed himself. Maybe because Boba Fett knew that Han didn’t take kindly to threats of capture from bounty hunters who are going to deliver him to Jabba, the only person more dangerous to Han Solo than George Lucas.
Now tell me this: is this a man who waits for Greedo to shoot first?
Han Solo shoots first because Han Solo is gangsta’. This doesn’t make him a murderer or sociopath, he’s not one-dimensional. He may be best represented by shades of grey, but that doesn’t make him evil. It makes him complex. A complex and heroic who shows the audience that the world isn’t black and white. Can you imagine what would happen if you took this same treatment to other movies, and gaslighted John McClane into a security guard at Nokatomi Plaza?
Ultimately, Lucas hasn’t directed anything other than “A New Hope” that was any good. And hilariously enough, he continues to give interviews telling us that he didn’t intend for it to be good, by virtue of him not being able to make it the way he wanted until now. He’s written and produced a lot of things I really like a lot, but at this point I think it’s time everyone consider him an unfit steward over these films.