For years, there’s been a heated debate in the geek community over who shot first: Han Solo or Greedo. In the scene from Stars Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when we’re first introduced to Harrison Ford’s classic character, he’s confronted by a blueish-green bounty hunter. They sit at a table, blasters are fired, and Greedo ends up slumped on the table.
Though the blasts take place in a series of quick cuts, many thought Han took the first shot in an act of pre-emptive defense. When George Lucas and Lucasfilm re-released the movies in 1997 as updated digital special editions, the scene was recut, with a wide-shot added to make it very clear that Greedo shot first.
“…what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t,” Lucas said in 2012. “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.”
Well, a newly unearthed copy of the film’s script takes its own shot at Lucas’ revisionist history. While working to digitize the University of New Brunswick’s library’s extensive science fiction collection, librarian Kristian Brown came upon what turned out to be a fourth draft of A New Hope. Dated March 15, 1976; marked with the Lucasfilm stamp; and titled Saga I, the script appeared to be a fan-made convention replica, but one that Lucasfilm Publicity confirmed was an accurate version.
Besides well-known things like the protagonist being named Luke Starkiller instead of Skywalker, Brown came across one thing that sent him into a fit of geek glee. “I’ll tell you one thing, right now,” Brown told CBC, “Based on the script, I can tell you 100 per cent, Han shot first.”
The report doesn’t detail exactly what it says in the script that makes Brown so sure, but the fact is that Solo Truthers now have another piece of evidence in their arsenal.
Watch a clip comparing the original scene to the 1997 re-release below.