Solo: A Star Wars Story screenwriters Lawrence and Jon Kasdan explain how the spinoff film addresses one of the biggest debates in franchise lore. Arguably the most infamous alteration in the original trilogy special edition was Han Solo's encounter with Greedo. In the 1977 theatrical cut, the smuggler ends their conversation by shooting the Rodian bounty hunter in cold blood. However, George Lucas tinkered with the scene for various home media releases, making it so that Greedo got a shot off (and missed Han at point blank range) before meeting his demise. Many saw this as an unforgivable change to Han's character, and "Han shot first!" became a rallying cry for those who prefer the original version.
The fact of the matter, however, is that the 2011 Blu-rays (where Han acts more in self-defense) are what Lucasfilm considers official franchise canon. It begged the question of how Solo would address the matter if Han were to find himself in a similar situation. For those rooting for a return to the ruthless gunslinger, the Solo creative team answered your call.
In an interview with Uproxx, the Kasdans briefly talked about a scene in the film that seems to touch on the "Han shot first" discussion. According to them, it was a very deliberate move to take the smuggler back back to his initial portrayal:
Lawrence Kasdan: Yeah. It was very important to me, like top of the list.
Jonathan Kasdan: To both of us. We are firmly in the camp. In the script, the description literally says, “There can be no doubt Han shot first.”
UPDATE: Solo stars Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Paul Bettany all agree that Han shot first.
While the Kasdans' position here is understandable, the hope is the sequence in question isn't too distracting or "wink-wink" at the audience. Some would argue Solo has bigger fish to fry than resolving a 20-year debate and would rather the whole "Han shot first" topic be water under the bridge. But it could be a fun nod to Star Wars fans if executed properly (i.e. without calling too much attention to itself). In all likelihood, this will just be a fleeting moment in a movie that runs for more than two hours. The modern Star Wars movies have embraced fan service like this in the past (the cantina guys showing up in Rogue One, for instance) and have all turned out fine critically and commercially. One "Han shot first" reference in Solo isn't going to derail an entire film.
There is a way Solo can pull this off and have it actually be meaningful for the character and plot. A key component of the spinoff is young Han aspiring to join the ranks of galactic criminals, but his heart of gold frequently sets him back. Perhaps him shooting first is merely part of a facade he puts on to make others think he's a hardened scoundrel. After all, Qi'ra tells Han she's the only one who knows "what you really are," so odds are Solo's trying to con someone along the way. Hopefully there's more to it than being an empty callback, but Kasdan is a smart writer, so he may have been able to pull it off.
Update Source: Sirius XM
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019