[Update: Unfortunately, it appears that this rumor may be too good to be true. Check out the tweet below, followed by our original story.]
Just downloaded "Star Wars: A New Hope" HD on Australian iTunes. No change from the Blu-ray – Greedo still shoots first god damn it.
— Garth Franklin (@darkhorizons) April 9, 2015
The Star Wars Trilogy: Special Editions should have been a cause for celebration. They should have been a cleaned up version of the classic films that would let a new generation enjoy the movies on the big screen for the first time.
Instead, they served as a warning. They warned that the movies you loved were about to undergo significant changes and they would not be for the better. CGI was going to take over and the minor moments that fans loved would be overshadowed or outright eradicated. And the most egregious of the Special Editions’ many sins:
Han didn’t shoot first.
In addition to the digital change looking terrible, it removes a pivotal moment in the character’s introduction. It changes offensive to defense. It makes Han look slow on the draw. It makes Greedo look like he can’t hit a target that’s less than two feet away (Greedo missing in the original could be accounted for him being shot and thus screwing up his aim).
George Lucas insists that his original intention was for Greedo to shoot first and that everyone who thinks Han shot first just wants him to be “a cold-blooded killer”:
The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.
This is one of those cases of a filmmaker misunderstanding his own movie. If he intended for Greedo to shoot first and messed it up, the result was a happy accident.
Now that accident may finally be restored. According to Badass Digest, the upcoming digital editions may have made it so that Han shoots first. Keep in mind that everything we’ve heard about these digital editions thus far is that they’re simply the Blu-ray editions in a new format. That means the dumb musical number in Jabba’s palace is still there as is the awful addition of Vader screaming “Nooooo!” when he kills Palpatine.
But if there’s at least this one change, it’s a sign of hope. It’s a sign that Lucasfilm, Disney, and Fox are willing to work together to start restoring the entire trilogy by removing all the special edition junk while keeping the HD upgrade. These companies want to sell these films as many times as possible, and nothing would make new Blu-ray editions sell faster if they were the original editions where Han shoots first.
There’s currently no official confirmation on this, so we’ll have to wait until the digital editions are released tomorrow to see if Han will once again shoot first.