Disney+ allows George Lucas to make one last, sure to be controversial change to the famous Han and Greedo scene from Star Wars: A New Hope. As all Star Wars fans surely know, in the original 1977 Star Wars film directed by Lucas, Han Solo kills the bounty hunter Greedo with a blaster shot during their meeting at the Mos Eisley cantina. The moment not only establishes that Solo is a prized target of such interstellar mercenaries, it also shows that he’s more than capable of shooting first if the situation calls for it.
However, Lucas clearly had misgivings about making Solo the kind of man who would shoot first in such a moment, leading to his oft-discussed decision to alter the scene in later versions of Star Wars. Infamously, the 1997 "Special Edition" re-release of A New Hope had a version of the scene where Greedo clearly fired his weapon first, missing Solo (somewhat hilariously given he was firing from across a table) and allowing the Millennium Falcon captain to put Greedo down with his own blaster shot. The move to have Greedo shoot first may have made Solo less aggressively murderous in Lucas’ eyes, but many fans objected to the change. And of course this was not the only change Lucas made to Star Wars that caused fans to get angry over the years. But with Disney now taking over the Star Wars franchise and Lucas no longer involved, it seemed fans would never have to endure another Lucas-prompted alteration to the original trilogy.
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However, it appears Lucas’ changes are still showing up as Star Wars moves over to the new Disney+ streaming service. As fans noted after A New Hope debuted on the service at launch early Tuesday morning, the Greedo/Han scene has been changed again – with the two characters now seeming to fire at the exact same moment. The latest seemingly arbitrary alteration to the oft-discussed scene has led to plenty of consternation among fans already, including the Twitter account Star Wars Visual Comparisons, who extensively discussed the situation and provided video proof. It was soon revealed by Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo that the new Han/Greedo scene was supervised by Lucas himself as part of a 4K restoration ahead of a planned 3D edition that never came out. See the relevant tweets in the space below:
Oh my god. This is not a joke. pic.twitter.com/RMkh7Blg7D— Star Wars Visual Comparisons (@StarWarsVisComp) November 12, 2019
Pablo confirms that this is Lucas’ Last Edition. https://t.co/L46HnZHOTs— Star Wars Visual Comparisons (@StarWarsVisComp) November 12, 2019
As Star Wars Visual Comparisons breaks down in their tweet, the new version of the scene not only has been altered to make Han and Greedo shoot at the same moment, it’s also been re-cut to remove a shot of an obvious dummy of Greedo that made it into previous iterations of the scene, while a new explosion has been added. There is also a confusing new shot of Greedo speaking in his native tongue without subtitles for some reason. The re-editing significantly alters the timing of the scene, as the Twitter account points out.
Whether these changes improve or detract from the scene is of course going to be a matter of vigorous debate among Star Wars: A New Hope fans from here on out. But the fact that Lucas elected to once again tinker with the scene is interesting, and that he ultimately decided to have Han and Greedo shoot at the same moment is even more interesting, as it seems to represent a compromise between the Han shooting first scene fans seem to prefer and Lucas' own later change that made Greedo the one with a quicker trigger finger. It’s of course up to each fan to decide which is the true, definitive version of that scene, but as far as Disney+ is concerned, the newest Lucas version is the one fans will be seeing (like it or not).