One of the great Star Wars mysteries has finally been solved – Han did indeed shoot first.
For the uninitiated, there has long been debate over Han Solo’s contretemps with the bounty hunter Greedo in the Cantina at Mos Eisley.
Different versions of the movie – thanks to George Lucas’s retroactive meddlings – play the scene differently.
Greedo always comes out worse from the altercation, Han shooting him under the table with his trusty blaster.
But Lucas was said to be unhappy with the original 1977 editing of the scene, in which Han dispatches Greedo swiftly and brutally, without warning.
Lucas thought it played Han as ‘cold-blooded’, and in the 1997 special edition, a shot is inserted in which Greedo shoots first, leading Han to retaliate.
Now, thanks to a remarkable discovery in a Canadian library, we may be able to put the debate to bed once and for all, and Lucas won’t like it.
Kristian Brown, a librarian at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, has found what looks to be a shooting script for the movie, dated March 15, 1976, hidden among various other sci-fi materials in the college’s collection that he was in the process of digitising.
It appears to be one of the fourth drafts of the script, which went through several iterations.
How it got there is not known, but Brown is firm on what the script says.
“I’ll tell you one thing, right now,” Brown said to CBC. “Based on the script, I can tell you 100 per cent, Han shot first.”
Despite the discovery, which he is yet to comment on, Lucas has always maintained that Han did NOT shoot first.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the long-debated issues, he said: “The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t.
“It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.”
Mr Lucas, it’s over to you.
Image credits: Lucasfilm