Why Good Guys Shoot First

George Lucas, stop saying words.

So the creator of Star Wars continues to muddle and tread upon his legacy. My public stance on the three prequels (which I refuse to call episodes one through three) is that they are worthless. My children are not allowed to watch them, although they are allowed to watch the original trilogy. But I'm not against telling stories based on the made-up history of a galaxy far far away. It would be difficult to number the Star Wars universe books I read through high school and well into my twenties. I refuse to acknowledge the prequels because they're so badly done. And because there's a whiff of what comes out in this story in full stench. The words of George Lucas, speaking about the 3d relaunch:
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 [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] 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.

There is no controversy. Everyone knows what went down. Han Solo shot Greedo first. If you click on the links above you can read the full rant of an upset fan, it's not long, just a pissed-off reminder to Mr. Lucas that whoever did shoot first would have killed who he was aiming at. Even if the shooter had been a stormtrooper instead of Han or Greedo. And anyway, WE SAW WHAT HAPPENED! In that original movie you made. Sigh.

I really have no idea what's motivating this guy to mess around so freely with his canon, although he certainly has the right. I do wish to suggest to Mr. Lucas (see how inconsistent I am in my tone, first "this guy", then "Mr. Lucas", I have a hard time respecting him, it's true)... Anyway, I do wish to suggest to Mr. Lucas that all he's doing is making Han Solo seem like a chump.

Here's how the "bad guys shoot first" thing works:

1. Bad guy walks into town with his boys. Sheriff and his deputies see them walk down Main Street. Good guys don't know if bad guys are bad guys or not, so they hold their fire. A bad guy, either calculating leader or nervous flunky, shoots first. Righteous combat ensues.


2. Bad guy walks into town saying "I'm gonna kill that dirty drifter." Drifter is waiting for him at saloon. Drifter knows bad guy has been after him. Bad guy tells the drifter that he'd better pray to his Maker. While bad guy is still talking, drifter draws and fires. Righteous combat over.

It's not always "bad guys shoot first". If you know the bad guy's trying to kill you, you can kill him. What makes the white hat the good guy is that he doesn't knife the bad guy in the alley. He waits for the moment when he knows he has no choice but to kill his would-be murderer. There's nothing good or competent about letting the bad guy get the first bullet off. In fact, that's a good way to get killed.

We're not making Han Solo any nobler here. We're just making him dumb. Dumb and lucky. Great hero.

This video shows the 1977 version in which Solo is the only one to get a shot off, and the 1997 version in which they both do. Now Lucas apparently is going to make it even more obvious. Because it's so important to him.

Here's something to cleanse your palate. A scene from Hang 'Em High with Clint Eastwood.


  1. Dear Joffre,

    I don't know if you remember me, but I just wanted to apologize for not making it down to The Bird and Baby these past couple of years. College caught up with us. I hope to see you sometime before I graduate.

    I'm glad to see that the bar owner was able to save his whiskey :)



  2. Of course I remember. It would be great to see you, let me know!


Post a Comment