George Lucas Explains Why Greedo Shoots At Han Solo First in Star Wars Special …

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

George Lucas Explains Controversial Greedo–Han Solo ‘Star Wars’ Edit.

Nearly 20 years after the re-released “special edition” of Star Wars altered a pivotal scene in which Han Solo had originally shot bounty hunter Greedo, director George Lucas has explained the edit. “Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?'” the filmmaker said in an interview with The Washington Post (via Entertainment Weekly). “Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne?

Deep inside a compelling Washington Post profile of George Lucas is the Star Wars creator defending perhaps his most infamous bit of Special Edition tinkering: having Greedo shoot Han Solo first rather than the scruffy-looking smuggler taking a pre-emptive action.While the rest of us are counting down the weeks, days, and seconds until the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the same level of excitement that a child anticipates Christmas morning, you should take a moment to think about George Lucas. To the dismay of countless fans, the filmmaker has insisted that Han Solo never shot first in 1977’s “Star Wars,” and the controversial change in the 1997 re-release merely cleared up confusion caused the original’s reliance on close-ups in the Mos Eisley cantina scene. The pilot claims he has the money to pay the bounty hunter’s employer (Jabba the Hutt), and Greedo asks for the money for himself to “forget” he saw him.

And while this will be the first time Lucas will get to experience a “Star Wars” film purely as a fan, he doesn’t sound particularly eager to head to a galaxy far, far away. Abrams had a firm opinion on the subject when asked during a Sirius XM Town Hall on Monday if Han shot first. “Hell yes,” Abrams said (the episode, hosted by PEOPLE and EW editorial director Jess Cagle, will premiere Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.” That explanation is certainly better than his 2012 answer, which basically amounted to “confused fans wanted Han to be ‘a cold-blooded killer.’” It probably won’t make die-hards any happier, but they’re free to rage online all they want: Lucas says he’s avoided the Internet for the past 15 years. Greedo says he’s run out of patience and looks forward to killing him, to which our hero says, “I’ll bet you have,” at which point the versions of the film differ.

Not only did he compare it to a divorce, but he also insisted that he’s going to have to get used to the new “awkward reality.” Now I’m faced with this awkward reality, which is fine. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. [Abrams] has a vision, and it’s his vision.” Lucas directed four of the installments, including the original “Star Wars,” as well as “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” Richard Marquand directed one, Irvin Kershner helmed another, but Lucas was always involved in one way or another — until “The Force Awakens.” Previously, Lucas told Vanity Fair that “You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized, and people try to make decisions about what you’re going to do before you do it. The scene has been altered several times since the 1997 special edition but all of the later versions show Greedo’s gun missing Solo before Solo returns fire. The shooting established Ford’s character as somebody not to be messed with, and in the scene it’s pretty clear that Greedo is going to kill Han regardless (“Over my dead body” / “That’s the idea”).

This was all built in the 1980s with piles of that initial “Star Wars” money, yet the main house was made to look several decades older, grander, Victorian — authentically ersatz, basking in the Marin County sun. In a short hallway off the foyer are two discrete, glass-encased shelves containing what you thought you’d see, when and if you ever got past the guards at Skywalker Ranch: Darth Vader’s lightsaber hilt, Indiana Jones’s Holy Grail, that kind of stuff. Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again. Snooping around anyhow (admiring all the other original art, including Norman Rockwell’s 1920 painting “Shadow Artist”), which is when the 71-year-old filmmaker George Lucas silently pads up from behind in his white tennis shoes and faded blue jeans and that casually impressive pompadour of silver hair.

Well, he’s still not seen a frame of it yet – but he expects he’ll finally get a glimpse of the blockbuster at his home before it’s actually in cinemas. It’s not the ones that I originally wrote.” Basically, Kennedy defined his role as being available to answer any “Star Wars”-related questions which may arise in order to make sure items made sense within the constructs of the universe. “There is no such thing as working over someone’s shoulder,” said Lucas. “You’re either the dictator or you’re not. Disney is now building two huge “Star Wars” theme parks and has additional movie projects — besides Episodes VIII and IX — in the works. “I call it like a divorce,” Lucas says candidly. He expected that he would soon see it here at the ranch (“I’ve got the best theater in the world,” he notes), perhaps even with Abrams and Lucasfilm Ltd. It was next to impossible to get work in the industry, Lucas says, so he and his friend Francis Ford Coppola formed their own production company, Zoetrope Studios, in an era in which other young turks (Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, et al.) were poised to forever change the business.

With 40-plus years of hindsight and film history to consider, it can be difficult to imagine what Coppola and Lucas had in common. “We shared many ideas about how the film industry could be different [and] work differently toward the goal of making ‘more personal’ films,” Coppola recalls. “When I saw his student films, I was totally impressed with what this shy, understated young man could do.” After Coppola made “The Godfather” and Lucas made “THX 1138,” both men were eager to collaborate on a film about Vietnam (which eventually became Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”), but Coppola dared his friend to try making a comedy next. Lucas took that bet and made “American Graffiti,” a heartfelt film loosely sketched from his own experiences, about a young man (Richard Dreyfuss) who tools around the streets of Modesto one last night before he’s supposed to leave for college. In theaters, “American Graffiti” dialed back in time a mere decade, but to audiences who had seen and felt the tumult of the late ’60s, the vibe of “American Graffiti” felt like a century had passed. He thought of his movie almost as a documentary, an elegy for things such as radio DJs, teenage innocence, Friday nights and cruising around. “I said, ‘You know, this is all probably going to go away.’ ” In the long term he was right: Behold the self-driving Google car and young people with no apparent interest in getting their driver licenses. “I said, I want to document this idea, this unique American mating ritual . . . this whole fantasy world of being a teenager and being in love.” Such a film today, Lucas supposes, would have to take place online. By the mid-’70s, Lucas hoped to return to making experimental independent film, but Alan Ladd Jr. at Twentieth Century Fox bought his loony idea for a science-fiction space saga.

And once the Western was gone, there was no vehicle to say, ‘You don’t shoot people in the back’ and such.” But mostly, Lucas wanted to make “one real movie. I wanted to build sets . . . work with art directors and production designers and – you know.” In “Star Wars” lore, Lucas and everyone at Fox braced themselves for the film to bomb. Not the rereleases, not the cable reruns, not the thousand times we’ve all watched it on screens as big as an IMAX and as little as an iPhone, but that very first time it played in those twin-plexes and drive-ins. The words crawling across a field of stars, the camera panning down to the desert planet, the Imperial Star Destroyer seeming to come in low over our heads with its laser cannons firing at Princess Leia’s cruiser. The artists and engineers who worked for Lucas’s special-effects and sound companies repeatedly upgraded the moviegoing experience, not just for the summer giants but across the board — the way all films got sharper, the way theaters thundered and roared.

When Spielberg made “Jurassic Park” in 1993, it signaled to Lucas that the digital tools were ready to tackle the epic back story of “Star Wars,” about the fall of the noble Jedi Knights and the rise of the evil Galactic Empire. He’s a passionate defender of an artist’s right to go back and tweak his work, which is why Lucasfilm cleaned up the matte lines visible on the original trilogy’s space battles and added more creatures and humanoids to crowd scenes. He also went back to some scenes that had always bothered him, particularly in the 1977 film: When Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is threatened by Greedo, a bounty hunter working for the sluglike gangster Jabba the Hutt, Han reaches for his blaster and shoots Greedo by surprise underneath a cantina table.

They were big and technically impressive (and collectively took in $2.5 billion in box-office), yet many found them soulless and lacking a certain whiz-bang momentum. On a recent episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” the host, in a twerpy mood, asked his guest Harrison Ford: “Who do you like better, George Lucas or J.J. Out in the world, people recognize him (in the most banal places, while catching a movie with his wife at a cineplex, or reporting for jury duty, or accidentally walking into the frame of someone’s YouTube video about molten salt reactors) and they still need to pour out their feelings.

In between takes at a photo shoot, he proudly gets out his phone to show off pictures of their 2-year-old daughter, Everest, and freely describes the details of the gestational surrogacy process that made her. (After his divorce from his first wife in 1983, Lucas raised three children, now grown — two of whom he adopted as a single father.) He has pledged to give away nearly all of his estimated $5 billion worth; much of his philanthropy has focused on education, with significant donations to USC’s film school and the University of Chicago Lab Schools. Most notably, he has thrown his energies into the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Chicago, which could cost him as much as $300 million to build, by some estimates, and $400 million to permanently endow. Or it’s a set of plans for a building, it’s not the building itself. “The great thing about art is that you get a feeling about something, you get knowledge about something, but you don’t know why. Describe the Sistine Chapel — it’s very hard. ‘It made me feel spiritual feelings and thoughts I’d never had before.’ Well, what do you mean? ‘I don’t know what I mean — you’ll have to just go and see it.’ ‘Star Wars’ was like that. To try to describe these things is very hard.” After offering to build the museum in his home of San Francisco, Lucas tired of fighting those who opposed both its sensibilities and its proposed location.

He’s facing a similar battle in Chicago — art and architecture critics have sniffed at the design and the location on the city’s cherished lakefront.

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