Good, I Can Scratch That Off My Ethics Mysteries List: Han Shot First After All!

Star Wars Bar Script

Peter Mayhew, a.k.a. Chewbacca the Wookie, has released to the internet the page from his original Star Wars script that answers the crucial ethics dilemma discussed on Ethics Alarms in 2012.

As it seemed when we all first saw the film, Han Solo shot the porcupine fish-headed space-thug Greedo with a blaster before being fired upon, and I have no problem with that at all. It was self defense.

Nonetheless, a large group of activists, led by Greedo’s family’s lawyer and whipped into a frenzy by cable TV, demonstrated and protested based on a bar patron’s false report that Greedo had his hands up at the time. Luckily, the film proved this was false, though “Hands up! Don’t blast!” survived as a provocative refrain.


Pointer and Spark: Tim LeVier

51 thoughts on “Good, I Can Scratch That Off My Ethics Mysteries List: Han Shot First After All!

  1. To be technical, the script doesn’t allude to when Greedo shot… (Which he did, didn’t he?)

    So nothing had been cleared up.

    Plus it’s all apocrypha from my understanding. Isn’t that a fan based reproduction of an early draft – not the movie draft?

          • Well, it’s crap anyway, everyone knows that Rodians have few options in life- they grow up on the hard streets of Rodia, where economic options are highly limited. They usually end up forced into gangs or other violent enterprises early in life. They certainly have few role models.

            Greedo is the victim.

            If he transcended like, the great galactic senator Moog Ulur, he would have just been labelled by his peers as an Uncle Gligslak.

          • Star Wars, and why it Sucks:

            Reasons external to the Story Told:
            1) George Lucas lacks an original bone in his body.

            2) George Lucas’ original ideas, which could be seen in his earliest earliest earliest ideas of “Journal of the Whills” was tons more creative than what he finally produced.

            3) The studios screwed Lucas’ truly original idea which would have been one of the earliest epic scale stories told: If you ever wonder why A New Hope seems to be a summary of ANH, ESB, and ROTJ, it’s because Lucas originally envisioned a 3 movie trilogy that told the entire story that was compressed into ANH. The studios feared a box office failure and didn’t want to commit to 3 movies. They compelled Lucas to summarize into one, after it’s success, Lucas had to then try to re-flesh out the full story into 2 additional movies.

            4) John Williams is an unoriginal hack.

            If anyone wants to hear something original that John Williams essentially copy-pasted for the Star Wars sound track, listen to Gustav Holst’s “The Planets”.

            5) George Lucas sold out to merchandizing by ROTJ. He was more interested in selling toys. Hey ewoks! Hell, he doesn’t even differentiate between Imperial Ranks by ROTJ. Every officer bears the 3 red bars over 3 blue, which everyone knows is just a medium grade rank.

            Reasons internal to the Story:
            I don’t have this kind of time…

            • Rate the following screen composers according to 1) originality, 2) effectiveness at supporting the film, and 3) versatility. 3 numbers, 0-5, for a max score of 15:

              1. Dmitri Tiomkin
              2. Elmer Bernstein
              3. Jerry Goldsmith
              4. John Williams
              5. Bernard Hermann

                  • I don’t know if I’m knowledgeable enough to make that rating. I should temper my John Williams commentary to just his Star Wars bit – which I don’t think was very original at all.

                    I do like his Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park.

                    But leaving out Randy Edelman is not fair. He did Last of the Mohicans.

                    And James Horner did Glory.

                    Those are in my top 5 favorite movie scores.

                    • Too many great ones to pick 5. Hoosiers, Gettysburg, Field of Dreams, The Alamo, The Natural, The Great Escape, Ben-Hur, Spartacus, Psycho, all the ones you mentioned, and many more. Jaws is a really deft score….I think Williams was slumming with Star Wars. He wouldn’t want that one to be his legacy.

          • Which was the most ridiculous scene in all the movies, because not only did it mess with the iconic moment in the original, but it also made Greedo seem like an incompetent jackass because he couldn’t hit a stationary target three feet away from him.

            • I don’t think it’s even possible to miss. Now if Han and Chewy had then gotten into the Pulp Fiction argument between Travolta and Jackson over whether it was a miracle or not, that might have been some justification…

        • Clear and present danger. Solo had every right to blow him away in self defense. Greeto was so dumb that he didn’t see solo’s right hand disappear under the table to cock his blaster. He was too busy gabbering. In doing so, he broke the all-ruling Paco’s Law. “If you’re gonna shoot, SHOOT. Don’ talk!”.

  2. To get into the spirit of a genre debate, I don’t think being killed outside isn’t anything but a threat. It’s not like Han could call a seasoned and effective policeman in and deal with any debt in a reasonable fashion. I’m not sure why someone with a descriptive (I hope) nickname like Greedo might be amenable to a bribe. Why bother to go outside? That place was not very genteel.

    I never thought much about this did he or didn’t he shot, as it was an endgame scene for scoundrels and double crosses to enforce that this isn’t the farm anymore. As Han was shown later to have a better side, this is either misleading or the last of his scoundrel days. This is about as definitive as it gets.

    • “As Han was shown later to have a better side, this is either misleading or the last of his scoundrel days.”

      A better side?

      Or was he just Jean Lafitte and saw an upcoming new order that he could avoid the law more easily with,,,?

  3. The novelization made it clear from almost the get-go that Han shot first, and in fact Greedo made a fatal mistake in letting Han get his hands out of sight. This was well known.

  4. One of the trouble with the cable news reports is (as usual) that they were relying on statements by people who were not in the cantina, such as droids. Although droids are always truthful, they were giving second-hand reports, from people you would not turn your back to.

  5. On further reflection, I’m baffled as to why Greedo’s family got so worked up. They knew he was a bounty hunter without legal protection. Had he been a claimer, Han would have been forced to keep his weapon sheathed. Claimers are combination tax collectors and repo agents, deputized by lenders and governments to seize assets of delinquent payers/borrowers, and they are authorized to carry weapons . . . of any size. Claimers are detested because (1) they like to work where residents dislike the claimants’ race, and (2) they take a cut of the assets seized. Often they act after the debtor has paid and is awaiting a receipt. If the receipt comes too late, too bad đź’¸!

    • Maybe, but the subsequent investigation by the news media revealed a disturbing history of making jokes about green people, porcupine fish, Kermit, and individuals who talk funny. Han had also been sued for using excessive force in an earlier bar fight, when he was jumped by six Mastodon People and shot one of the herd’s ear off with an elephant gun. There is also a theory, which I think is ludicrous, that Han underwent gender reassignment surgery and emerged after time travel and advanced cosmetic procedures as Hope Solo, who we know would have shot Greedo first and laughed, just because she didn’t like his face.

  6. All of this arguing about who shot first is just a distraction from the real issue, which is Han Solo’s incompetence at even elementary astrogation. This is most famously illustrated by his bizarre boast to Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi that the Millennium Falcon was “the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs” — when any child in the Empire could tell you that a parsec is a unit of distance not time.

    Ever since, his lapdog supporters in the media have been muttering nonsense about “black holes” and “spacetime distortions” in pathetic and transparent attempts to hide the fact that Solo’s nonsensical claim is an astrogation failure of signature significance.

    • That point has been made before, Windy. A parsec is a unit of distance equal to three and a quarter light years, ultimately based on the diameter of Earth’s orbit about the sun. A light-year is, of course, the amount of distance light travels in one Earth year… about six and a half trillion miles. HOWEVER, if all this was indeed happening in “a galaxy far, far away”, all of these measurements would have been meaningless! If Solo had claimed that the Falcon had made that run in less than twelve Glorbs, the audience wouldn’t have known what that meant, but assumed it was pretty good!

  7. My suspicion that “Star Wars” is nothing but re-worked 1950s TV-grade cowboys and Indians from head to toe was confirmed upon learning Joseph Campbell was effectively Lucas’s guiding light. And I really enjoy Joseph Campbell. My point is simply there’s virtually nothing original in “Star Wars,” which was the underlying intent. But it has made Lucas a very, very wealthy man. C’est la vie.

      • Lucas’ original intent was to rework Flash Gordon. In the working of the plot, he borrowed a bit from Herbert’s “Dune”. However, I’m convinced that the basic plotline was cribbed from an older Isaac Asimov novel entitled “The Stars, Like Dust”. The parallels are numerous.

  8. The next time someone asks me where I get all these weird ideas about politics, Constitutional issues, naked teacher and stupid principal principles, football player’s brains, rape statistics, PC thought control, and how to hold ones arms in case of being caught in a demo . . . I shall hand them one of the tiny fortune-cookie fortune-sized strips of paper I am about to prepare bearing the link to this particular post.

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