George Lucas still believes Greedo shot first

In a new profile, the famous director discusses the notorious shootout and explains why he'll be watching "The Force Awakens" after taking "a deep breath."

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
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Filmmaker George Lucas talks Han Solo, Greedo, the Disney-Lucasfilm deal, giving up control and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in a new Washington Post profile.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Star Wars fans have been debating whether Han Solo shot Greedo first or vice versa ever since filmmaker George Lucas decided to make a creative edit to the 1997 special edition of "A New Hope."

Most fans who grew up with the original cut of the 1977 "Star Wars" contend that Han Solo was the kind of space pirate who didn't wait to see if Greedo was in a negotiating mood before shooting him under the table in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Younger fans think Greedo would have made the first move, shooting before Han could defend himself.

But when The Washington Post profiled Lucas on Monday to showcase the filmmaker's career before he receives a Kennedy Center Honor this weekend, he was quick to point out his reasoning for the shooting change-up in the famous scene.

"Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, 'Should he be a cold-blooded killer?' " Lucas told The Washington Post. "Because I was thinking mythologically -- should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, 'Yeah, he should be John Wayne.' And when you're John Wayne, you don't shoot people [first] -- you let them have the first shot. It's a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to."

Of course, no amount of explaining will appease a fan base that refuses to believe that Han Solo would wait for Greedo to pull the trigger. The change Lucas made in the special edition of "A New Hope" caused such an uproar that you can't mention it to fans in any social situation without someone getting upset. Trust me, I've brought it up at parties only to offend half the guests.

Lucas admitted to The Washington Post that he has avoided the Internet since 2000, which means zero interaction on Facebook or Twitter. He doesn't even have email.

As a former employee in Lucasfilm's online editorial department, I can vouch for this digital resistance. When I created the official Star Wars Twitter account, I attempted year after year to convince Lucas and his personal PR people to start his own personal Twitter account, or at least pop on the official Star Wars Twitter to say hi to fans.

But Lucas always declined. I don't blame him. Considering how vocal haters and the "you ruined my childhood" brigade can be on social media, the last thing a busy filmmaker needs is non-stop tweets saying "Han shot first, dammit!" and "Were you drunk when you created Jar Jar?"

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The Washington Post profile does more than just bring up the Han vs. Greedo shootout, though. It's a great insight into Lucas's life after selling Lucasfilm to Disney three years ago for $4 billion dollars.

Most remarkably, even with a few weeks to go, Lucas still hasn't seen a single frame of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" directed by J.J. Abrams. He plans on seeing it when it comes out, albeit in his state-of-the-art theater located at Skywalker Ranch.

"I'm going to have to take a very deep breath and be a good person and sit through it and just enjoy the moment," Lucas said. "Because it is what it is and it's a conscious decision that I made."

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