PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES:
Part 1 Part 4
Part 2 Part 5
AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…
Like a snow cone in my underpants, this case was growing colder and more uncomfortable by the minute.
I consider myself an expert marksman. You don’t have to take my word for it. Just ask any of the thousand plus Nazis I introduced to the undertaker. Those fellas won’t be goose stepping anywhere anytime soon.
Yet, after watching the infamous Han vs. Greedo scene, I was plum out of luck and more mixed up than a cat in a blender. (FYI Attorney Donnelly reminds readers to keep their cats out of their blenders.)
It was time to turn to the stack of research Agnes found for me. I had the old gal print it out because I hate staring at those beep boop machine screens. They’re creepy and like a trip to a discount gynecologist, they leave me feeling strained in more ways than one.
OBSERVATION # 1 – The Scene Has Changed Over the Years
When I was a boy in Bayonne, a movie came out once and that was it. Now, they’re re-released every so often. The motion picture people change it around a little bit, maybe draw a mustache on a fella or put a hat on a guy or something and bammo, they feel justified to over charge John Q. Public to take in a flick they’ve already dished the dough out to watch the first go around.
Here’s what on site on the Interwhatever had on the topic:
“To say “Han shot first” is to refer, often with distaste, to George Lucas’s changes to the original trilogy. Often cited by film purists, this phrase more specifically refers to the changes made to A New Hope Special Edition, in the scene involving the characters Han Solo and Greedo in the cantina. In the original version, after Greedo says “I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time” (talking about killing Han), Han replies “Yes, I bet you have” and shoots Greedo under the table while Greedo was pointing a blaster at him (the phrase “Han Shot First” is thus misleading, since only Han shoots in the original version). In the special edition, Greedo shoots at Han and misses, without explanation, from point blank range, and then Han shoots him. Later, it was altered again to have Han and Greedo shooting at almost the same time (though Greedo still shoots first), with Greedo still missing from point blank range. With such a short time between each shot, it could be assumed that Han was already planning to shoot Greedo, rather than reacting to Greedo’s shot.”
“Han Shot First” – Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki
Funny, if that’s the case, maybe my brain was tricked because I swore I saw/heard two shots in the 1977 version but then again, maybe that’s what I was expecting since the “Who shot first?” debate was emblazoned in my brain like a rancher’s brand in a steer’s rump roast.
OBSERVATION #2 – Han Shooting First is Important for Han’s Character Development
Any good guy can take a shot at a palooka who knows it’s coming but it takes a real ice cold so and so to wack a guy without fair warning.
That’s just not sportsmanlike.
But Han Solo isn’t your typical white hat. He’s an anti-hero. He’s a man who starts out as being in it for himself but later grows a conscience and devotes himself to the rebel cause.
Thus, for fans of this rogue ne’er-do-well, the idea that Han got a shot off before Greedo knew what hit him is appealing. Watering it down to make it look like Han gave the green guy a fighting chance is not.
OBSERVATION #3 – Lucas and Ford
George Lucas is the creator of this whole shebang, so you’d think his word would carry some weight.
Personally, I never trust a man who wears that much plaid.
As stated in one news story:
Lucas has insisted that the change was to clear up his original intent — which wasn’t to have Solo appear to be a “cold-blooded killer.” He told The Hollywood Reporter that the original version was not as cut and dried as fans remember. “I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first,” he said.
Reddit Asked Harrison Ford Who Shot First, The Washington Post, April 14, 2014
One might think the fans would go with what the man who made the films they love but then again, it’s been made clear to me through multiple sources that the character known as “Jar Jar Binks” caused Lucas’ credit with sci-fi buffs to take a swan dive into the deep end of the pool.
Further, that same article reports that when asked who shot first, Harrison Ford, the actor who played Solo, responded, “I don’t care.”
Not surprising. Agnes is a movie buff herself and she tells me Ford is a bit rough around the edges. Happens to all of us when we get older.
CONCLUSION: It doesn’t matter.
I hate to leave a case open-ended but this one is up for interpretation. If you want Han to be a stone cold killer who puts himself over basic rules of fairness, then you’re happy to think he plugged a hole in an alien, catching said alien unawares. You want Han to have shot first (and also to have been the only shooter).
If you want Han to be a respectable type, you’d prefer that he got a shot in after Greedo missed, or that he shot second.
Personally, I don’t like it when history is revised. We figure out who we are only by taking a good long look at where we came from, so if Solo’s the type of guy who’d sucker blast an unsuspecting alien, then so be it. No use sugar coating it.
Mr. Lucas did his fans a disservice with his edits, in this gumshoe’s opinion.
But let’s face it. My opinion plus five cents will get you a steaming cup of joe.
Races use words like “first” and “second.”
A gun battle is not your typical race.
Sure it’s a race to see who can squeeze off a precise, lethal shot first but first or second doesn’t really matter a whole hill of beans.
In this sleuth’s book, the dead guy left on the table lost and the guy who walked away won.
That’s all there is to it.
Originally released as “Star Wars” in 1977, later referred to as Episode IV: A New Hope once the prequels arrived.
Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015. All Rights Reserved.
Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.
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