Quote of the Day – Greedo vs. John Wayne

“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ ” Lucas asks. “Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.”

-Interview with George Lucas, Washington Post

While we’re on the run up to a new Star Wars movie, one that George Lucas had nothing to do with, I figure I might as well abused everybody’s interest in the series.

And it has been a long time indeed...

Back when George Lucas had an email account…

So there is that story and interview featuring George Lucas over at the Washington Post.  You should probably go read it if Star Wars holds any sway over your life, and not just the excepts floating around the internet.

Of course, the big one seems to be GL trying to justify why he changed Star Wars in his 1997 edit to have Greedo shoot first.  In that he invokes the westerns of his youth.  Unfortunately, I watched a lot of those same westerns, and as I recall it, if the other guys goes for his gun you’re cleared to shoot.  Waiting for the other guy to shoot first gets you dead.  And since Greedo was already waving a blaster in Han Solo’s face, Han always seemed justified in my mind, by the code of the old west or any other reasonable standard.  I thought that back in 1977 and I thought it again when watching Star Wars again last week.

More a case of GL overthinking things in my opinion.  Ah well.  I own three versions of the scene, one on VHS, one on DVD, and one on BluRay.  In the end, it was a fleeting moment in the movie that didn’t have a large impact other than to set the tone that Han Solo was working some tough people.

More interesting perhaps was this tidbit:

Partly so he doesn’t have to read the worst about himself and his movies, Lucas says he has assiduously avoided the Internet since 2000 — no Facebook, no Twitter, no e-mail even — but that doesn’t mean he avoids people.

Because, on the internet, we are horrible.  But it seems that when he meets people in person, they mostly gush about how big of a deal Star Wars was to them.   We’re much better face to face… most of the time.  All of which is a bit sad.

Anyway, I found the article interesting, including his somewhat mixed feelings about the new movie.  Disney didn’t use the ideas GL provided and declined to bring him around to advise, so this will be truly somebody else’s movie.

5 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – Greedo vs. John Wayne

  1. Shintar

    Well, that’s interesting, that they completely rejected Lucas’ ideas for Episode VII. If it flops, at least that one definitely won’t be his fault.


  2. bhagpuss

    I’m guessing that most people will take the news that Disney declined George’s input as good news. Also I’ve been hearing that “Han shot first” meme for years now and this is the first time I ever found out what it was all about. I guess I could have looked it up, since I do use the internet on occasion, but I only bookmarked Know Your Meme yesterday so I’m hardly one to cast any first stones when it comes to being part of the 21st Century…


  3. nevillesmit

    Now that Disney owns Star Wars, they should fix that stupid editing mistake. Han shot first.

    Also, good that Lucas is not involved – we don’t need another Jar Jar.


  4. Craig Simons

    It shouldn’t be Han Shot First. In the original version, Greedo never had a chance, and with weapon in hand, Han’s was the only shot. *Tosses coin* Sorry about the mess.


  5. Sylow

    So? Han Solo had Greedos gun pointed right at him. He tried talk himself out of the situation, but knew that he didn’t have the money he promised, so his only way to survive was to shoot Greedo. A very logical move for the “chaotic good” scoundrel he was.

    In the new version, on the other hand, Han wouldn’t have to shoot at all. I mean, Greedo managed to miss Han, sitting motionless, at point blank range, since the laser bolt left the guns barrel in an extreme angle. Han could just have waited for Greedo to shoot again. With that gun, chances were higher that Greedo would’ve killed himself with the next shot than that he’d actually have harmed Han.

    So in the new version, it’s plain brutal murder, as Greedo obviously had no chance to ever win with the gun he had and would’ve been better off unarmed.

    And even without sarcasm, the first paragraph stands. If somebody points a gun right into your face while you have yours pointed at him under the table, you don’t wait till he shoots, relying on the chance that his gun fails terribly and is unable to hit a stationary target from such a long distance as 25 centimeters. Within the world of movies (or anything where regrets, guilt and psychosis won’t get you) shooting first is the only reasonable way to survive this.


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