September 22, 2004

Have you even seen the goddamn movies, Lucas?


In the latest Entertainment Weekly, George Lucas claims that he never intended Han Solo to shoot first. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, just skip this post, trust me).

The way it got cobbled together at the time, it came off that [Han] fired first. He didn't fire first.... It's a correction. [When I made Star Wars] I said, ''Well, I don't have that shot, so I'll just, you know, fudge it editorially.'' In my mind [Greedo] shot first or at the same time. We like to think of [Han Solo] as a murderer because that's hip -- I don't think that's a good thing for people. I mean, I don't see how you could redeem somebody who kills people in cold blood.

Right, because Darth Vader never did anything like that. The whole damn series is about redeeming a cold-blooded killer, isn't it?

Or does Anakin get a pass because he delegated most of his killings? Or is it easier to redeem someone who kills because he's been seduced by the dark side as opposed to someone who's just a dick? Anyway, if that is what Lucas always intended, it's not what he wrote in his shooting script. Why doesn't he just admit that he got old and soft and began to worry more about his influence on kids than on making kick-ass movies.

Um, perhaps I should point out that I usually do have a sense of humor about this.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


You're right to take this seriously. Having Greedo shoot first ruins the scene and diminishes Han Solo as a character. But Lucas started getting "old and soft" with Return of the Jedi (damn ewoks), so it's not surprising that he made the change in the rerelease and kept it in for the DVDs.

Spielberg did a similar thing with the DVD of "ET," but at least the two of them never updated any of the Indiana Jones movies, possibly thanks to South Park mocking the idea before they could get around to it (see here).

This could be taken as evidence of the infantilization of American culture, and the insistence that movies and network TV shows never feature any moral complexity or anything that might offend any viewer of any age. But, based on "Phantom Menance" and "Attack of the Clones" we could take it as more proof that George Lucas has lost his mind.

Don't worry kids, Han's blaster will be replaced with a walkie-talkie in the next version we get...

Argh, thank you! I was furious when I saw the changes Lucas made to Star Wars in his updated version -- one reason that I won't be rushing out to buy the trilogy on DVD, since they're only the new versions.

But yeah, you hit the nail on the head: Han Solo isn't supposed to be a "good guy" starting out -- he's a frickin' mercenary smuggler! -- but he gets redeemed in the end, joining in with the rebels and realizing that there is something bigger than himself that he can care about (i.e. freedom from the Empire), not just his next paycheck.

And don't get me started on other idiocies like having Han step on Jabba's tail outside the cantina. I'm sure there were other ludicrous updated in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that would have angered me if I had felt like dropping the $10 to see them.

Jeez, letting Lucas anywhere the original trilogy was a big mistake. They should have been locked up in a vault, away from his prying fingers, for everyone's protection.

William's comment in particular reminded me of this hilarious article suggesting other changes to Spielberg films.

You know; I have gotten to the point where I really don't care who shot first. It doesn't affect the outcome of the movie in anyway. Before George changed it and the geeks went ape shit; it was a scene I never gave 2 seconds worth of thought over. Prior to the special Edition the only sequence in that scene that people talked about wad Obi-Wan slicing a thugs arm off.

If George wants Han to shoot second then fine, damn, itís his movie; he can do with it as he chooses. If something as insignificant as that is enough of a reason to make a person stop watching Star Wars then I have to say that they never really liked Star Wars in the first place.

Han Stepping on Jaba's tail was a technical issue; when the filmed the scene they didn't know what Jabba was going to look like; they just had a fat man standing in playing the part. When Han walked around the fat man it obviously wasn't a problem; but when the super-imposed a 2 ton slug in his place; there was the issue of How did Han get around his tail. Stepping on it was a means to an end. I'd be willing to bet if he had not stepped on it, someone would be bitching about "well how did he get around his tail". I really hope you guys donít criticize every movie you watch as harshly as you do Star Wars; if so I canít think of a single movie youíd like.

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