The Definitive Reason Han Solo Absolutely Didn’t Shoot First

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

George Lucas Defends Greedo Shooting Han Solo First in Star Wars.

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.Flickering Myth’s writing team are counting down to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by discussing their most memorable Star Wars moments. Next up is Villordsutch with Han Solo’s torture scene from The Empire Strikes Back… Star Wars for myself as a child was A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and of course The Return of the Jedi.

It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.” The scene takes place at the Mos Eisley cantina, where the lizard-like Greedo corners Solo and forces him to sit down at gunpoint. 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. 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.

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. In the revamped version – currently the only version available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD, Greedo fires first, with Han shooting and killing him in response. 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. Vader and two Stormtroopers look on as the scene cuts away to a corridor – filled with Solo’s screams – where we see Lando pacing and a protesting Boba Fett, who later informs Vader that Han is no good to him dead; he needs to deliver him to Jabba the Hutt.

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. It’s what follow’s this scene that is the real “welcome to being aware!” moment, the bit where you realise that Vader is evil and the Empire aren’t a bunch of bumbling Stormtroopers who can’t shoot straight. But Lucas won’t read that, or your comment below, because he also admitted in the interview that he has “assiduously avoided the Internet since 2000 — no Facebook, no Twitter, no e-mail even.” The first of the oft-derided Star Wars prequel movies, The Phantom Menace, was released in 1999, so that was probably indeed a good time to bail out. 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. He’s also parading his power he wields, by taking one of the most cock-sure, bravest heroes of our films into a room and making him scream in pain, for no reason other than to show us that he can.

He talked about his desire at this point to live more “in the shadows,” and how he views his departure form the world he created as a “divorce.” He admitted he couldn’t be over the shoulder of Abrams, as he’d “make them miserable” as well as making himself miserable. He also expressed his reluctant excitement to see the film, probably at the Lucas Ranch ahead of release, experiencing the world from the outside for the first time. Since selling Lucasfilm Ltd. to Disney three years ago in a jaw-dropping $4 billion deal (which included handing over “Star Wars,” Indiana Jones, all of it), Lucas has had no connection to the new film, despite initial reports that he would play a consulting role. 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 always knew that at some point he’d have to part with “Star Wars” in order for the franchise to go on living. “There is no such thing as working over someone’s shoulder,” he says. “You’re either the dictator or you’re not. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. has a vision, and it’s his vision.” As recently as a couple weeks ago, with fans going ape over tidbits and new trailers for “The Force Awakens,” Lucas had still not seen the film.

My ex will be there, my new wife will be there, but I’m going to have to take a very deep breath and be a good person and sit through it and just enjoy the moment, because it is what it is and it’s a conscious decision that I made.” As a kid growing up in Modesto, Calif., George Walton Lucas Jr. was wild about cars and racing, indifferent to high school, except when taking apart European engines in shop class. 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.

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. Lucas wanted to make a movie that would teach children the central ethic of right and wrong, good and evil. “I want[ed] to see if I can bend their lives at a particular point in time when they’re very vulnerable,” he recalls, “and give them the things that we’ve always given kids throughout history. 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 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.

Lucas may or may not have been prepared for the depth of anticipation and fevered devotion that awaited the prequels — the online gossip (production call sheets from the top-secret set of “The Phantom Menace” were finding their way to the Internet’s earliest bloggers), the anxious fans, the sound of film critics sharpening their knives. 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. 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. It will include some “Star Wars” and other historical movie artifacts, but it will also show off artists such as Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell (Lucas and Spielberg together own nearly all the Rockwell paintings, as it happens) and others whose works were derided by traditional art critics as lacking intellectual heft. “To me, art is communicating emotions — that’s all,” Lucas says. “That’s art.

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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