A popular phrase among the ‘Star Wars’ fandom is “Han Shot First”. The reason for this is that when the original trilogy was rereleased back in 1997, George Lucas re-cut the scene in the Mos Eisley cantina to make the bounty hunter Greedo shot first so that Han Solo was just acting in self-defense and wasn’t “a cold-blooded killer.” This controversial change carried over into the Blu-ray releases, so there’s a whole generation of ‘Star Wars’ fans out there that quite possibly doesn’t know the truth. Well, in case anyone out there thought that this whole “debate” is just full of fanboys with sour grapes, a librarian has recently uncovered proof (you know, beyond the original cut of the film) that the infamous smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon did indeed fire the first shot.
According to CBC News, University of New Brunswick librarian Kristian Brown recently uncovered a copy of the original shooting script for ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ while digitizing the school’s collection of sci-fi zines, pulp magazines, and novels. The fourth edition revised script bound in blue paper featured the official Lucasfilm Industries stamps and the date March 5, 1976. It also lists the main protagonist as Luke Starkiller instead of Luke Skywalker, but Brown was more excited to share the original scene between Harrison Ford and Paul Blake actually went down:
“I’ll tell you one thing, right now. Based on the script, I can tell you 100 percent, Han shot first.”
To further send home the point, here’s a video depicting the two versions of the scene side by side:
However, for most people out there, this whole thing is beating a dead horse, especially the actor who portrays Han Solo. Harrison Ford, who will reprise his role as the lovable scruffy-looking nerf herder in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ alongside many other original cast members, famously said this in regards to the “Who shot first?” discussion: “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
No matter where you stand on this issue, it’s still interesting to see how a film can change in different stages of its existence. More times than not, some aspects of a movie can change drastically from the page to the screen. But if you’re a perfectionist like George Lucas, then maybe it’ll change again decades later after the film has been around for decades.