George Lucas can't wait for the day when we're all dead and gone. I mean those of us who were alive before 1997 and have memories of Star Wars movies before the Special Editions came out. He also can't wait for all VCRs to stop working completely, all VHS tapes to be burned and any digital bootlegs of any B.S.E. (that means "before Special Editions" to us, "bullsh*t editions" to Lucas) are eliminated. Then, finally, people can stop believing that there was ever anything involving the Star Wars Galaxy before the ultimate Lady Macbeth of cinema had "fixed" his previously spotty space opera opus and delivered the films "he always intended."
It's kind of fun, actually, to think of an alternate universe in which Lucas initially made the movies he always meant to make and that Star Wars bombed miserably at the box office in the summer of 1977. And then this failed, soon-forgotten filmmaker who was remembered by a few as once showing promise with his little minimalist sci-fi flick THX-1138, spent the next 35 years attempting to "sell out" his vision by trying to make the movie popular and "good" in the minds of critics.
But we have it the reverse way in our world, which means we get more changes for the worse every few years and continued claims and defenses from Lucas that this was always the plan. Only now he's also stating that the need for these changes was always apparent, we just all saw and recall the original films incorrectly, partly for the fault of his own directorial mistakes. Here's a quote from a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter that's creating the latest disturbance in the fanboy force:
"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."
As plenty others are saying, none of this makes sense with regards to the history of the Star Wars script, production or related merchandise, such as the Lucas-credited novelization (I wish I had the copy of the screenplay my dad received in '76 when commissioned to do the original movie poster, not that it matters given other evidence) nor with regards to the character of Han Solo (and the character of Greedo, too -- not only is he a bad shot but I always understood Jabba wanted Solo taken alive).
A snippet from the novelization, perhaps proving that Lucas is lying ... [via Den of Geek]
I feel very bad for the future generations who are brainwashed into believing Lucas' lies while watching their immersive virtual holographic brain download editions of these films.
What are people saying about George Lucas' claim that Greedo always shot first? Here's The Conversation heard around the Internet:
God, just shut up, George Lucas. I know that you really love selling more Star Wars things, and you think that riling people up will get them all buying more blu-rays and action figures to re-watch and re-enact various who-shot-first scenarios, but no. You're only pissing off your few remaining non-apathetic defenders, while the rest of us just become more assured in your mental illness, an affliction that will have you forever scrubbing Star Wars with CGI but seemingly never getting it fully clean. - Mark, I Watch Stuff
This is just insane. I've watched that scene posted above at least a thousand times in my life and never was there any question as to who fired when. The director is now telling millions of Star Wars fans that they have been misinterpreting a key character building scene for the last 35 years. This may actually be George Lucas' lowest point. - Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend
What, Han drew his gun surreptitiously under the table just for the fun of it? The entire awesomness of the (original scene) was that Han got the drop on Greedo who was too busy talking his ear off. And it's not a matter of Han being "a cold-blooded killer," he was a smuggler saving his own skin, and looking out for his own self-interest. Which is the entire personality of Han Solo in a nutshell. - Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist
It was all camera angles, then? Just seems a bit odd that he's never said that before. - Simon Brew, Den of Geek
While the practical explanation does allow for the fact that Greedo shot first, why is it that we never hear that shot in the original cut? And if that is indeed how the scene always went down, then why wasn't this brought up over ten years ago when there was a huge uproar about it? Were fanboys crying so hard that we couldn't hear Lucas yelling over the Tusken Raider screams of Star Wars fans all over the world. I'm sorry, but I don't think so. At this point, I don't trust Lucas with anything from the Star Wars universe anymore. - Ethan Anderton, First Showing
I don’t care what George Lucas says, in my version of “Star Wars” Han Solo shot first. - "Caffeinated" Clint, Movie Hole
Gaaaah, Han shot first! Han. Shot. First. He was doing it in self-defense; Greedo would have killed him. But Han shot first. More importantly here: how smug do you have to be to dismiss your fanbase’s passion while plugging a 3D version of a movie that no one likes but more or less feel obligated to pay money to see again because of that passion? Hopefully, Lucas realizes the reason he can continue to churn billions of dollars off Star Wars spinoffs and children’s cartoon adaptations and T-shirts and lunchboxes and whatever the hell else he’s cooking up next is because so many people see Star Wars as a quasi-religious event. And the flipside of that is they’ll complain and yell and dig whenever someone messes with their beloved -- even, or especially, if its their beloved’s creator. This is the burden you are saddled with. Sorry, man. Also, Han shot first. - Amos Barshad, Hollywood Prospectus (Grantland)
I personally always preferred that Han Solo shot first. Not that it really matters, but I do. This heated exchange established the character as an intergalactic badass, a man who wasn’t above putting an unscrupulous bounty hunter on ice. - Todd Rigney, Beyond Hollywood
In the original film part of what made Han Solo so cool was that bad-ass swagger, which Lucas removed in 1997. What he’s admitting here is that fans were giving him credit for something he didn’t originally intend. Han Solo was never supposed to be that. As a fan, that kind of annoys me but at least I finally see his reasoning for making that change. [...] Personally, I believe him. If he really meant for Han to shoot first, he would have changed the original scene to make that clearer. Maybe, after all these years later, Han didn’t shoot first after all. We just saw it that way. - Germain Lussier, /Film
Indeed, it was only the audience’s own bloodlust that led them astray and left them so confused for so many years—a bloodlust that festered into their ravenous need to set jaws upon George Lucas every time he tries to make his work a little more innocent and magical. Fortunately, all it took was a wider shot and a grafted-on cartoon laser beam to save future generations from wandering down that same dark path, which leads only to anger, hatred, and in forthcoming editions, a nice periwinkle garden. - Sean O'Neal, A.V. Club
I only see two possiblities. George Lucas is either stupid or a liar. He’s either lying about it to make himself look smarter (he’s done this before) or he’s so stupid that he no longer actually remembers anything about his own movie. The worst thing here is that this horrible tactic will work. Now fanboys will claim that Han never shot first and slowly, bit by bit the real history of Star Wars will be replaced by the inferior, more kid-friendly fakery Lucas has been peddling since the nineties. - Josh Tyler, Giant Freakin Robot
Old George knew exactly what he was doing by saying that. He knew you'd all get livid and give him press...because that's exactly what he wanted. Not to mention, he's said this stuff about Greedo shooting first before. Many times over the years since he first made that change to the original Star Wars in 1997. [...] By complaining this loud, all you're doing is giving him more power, guys. Next time, Lucas makes another remark like this, just ignore it. - Jamie Williams, Think McFly Think
I agree with the part about it being wildly overrated though. That’s basically what he was saying, right? DEAR FANS: Quit being so fanatical about the six-part movie I’m releasing in theaters for the third time. Don’t see it, don’t take your kids to see it, just stop letting me milk money from this thing altogether. I’m already super rich! Sincerely, George. That’s how I read it, anyway. - Vince Mancini, Film Drunk
@dodgethedraft: Lies! Have hard back version of book here, published 1977. Gredo asks Han to 'come outside so I can finish it' and is then shot.
@DykstraJordan: Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me, George.
@Dealfatigue: everyone who saw it back in the day: 1) thought Solo shot first 2) didn't care
@jaina: How can we want Han Solo to be just a plain killer by making him shoot first at Greedo? WTF is this logic?
@Aaron_Sparrow: Waiting for Greedo to fire first doesn't keep Han from being "a cold-blooded killer." It makes him a freaking idiot.
@etirflita: So Han would step on Jabba's tail deliberately, but not shoot Greedo unless Greedo fired first? #AlderaanShotFirst
@grahamelwood: Oh I guess Han Did NOT shot first. I was just a mixed up kid. Thanks George for more revisionist history you lunatic
@TheNoCallNoShow: its so sad how far Lucas has fallen into his own delusion. He's like some sort of twisted Nuremberg via Naboo denier...
@BizarroStanLee: Lucas now claims Han never fired first, the Holocaust never happened, and dinosaurs crucified Jesus.
@pbarb: If George Lucas ends up being immortal, we will eventually get a version of Star Wars where Han HUGS Greedo first.
@JeremyKKirk: I like the episode of STAR WARS KIDS where Greedo snots first.
@feitclub: For his next trick, George Lucas will prove to us that Hayden Christensen was ALWAYS in Return of the Jedi
@RawBeard: When I make my millions from Directing, I'm going to do a Pro-Fan film remake of Star Wars and stick a decent plot in there. #HanShotFirst In fact after Han shoots Greedo I'll add a scene where Han throws Greedo's body to the floor, give it a kick, then nick his wallet
@atweetingtwit: Out of everyone who has created anything ever, George Lucas may understand the appeal of his work the least.
@insanityreport: I think its official. George Lucas is the greatest troll ever
Conversation Twitter Poll: Has George Lucas completely lost his mind with this assertion?
@mousterpiece: Because he didn't lose his mind as far back as 1997?
@misterpatches: I think we (the Internet & Star Wars fans) have lost our minds for caring.
@gholson: He mis-reads fans. It's not that we want a stone-cold Han; it's that Han's arc is from a scoundrel to a hero... making him a hero all along completely undermines his three-film arc. It makes him boring, frankly. Lucas seems to forget that Han was a man on the run.
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.