So, a big deal has been made by Star Wars fans over the past seventeen years (damn, I’m old) about Greedo shooting first. Although it’s just one of many examples of the revision and retconning George Lucas has done with the original trilogy over the past two decades, it is by far the most infamous. Criticism of the incident went from pop-culture phenomenon (lampooned in film, television, etc) to veritable cottage industry (spawning T-shirts, bumper stickers, and the like ranging from Han Shot First to Han Shot. Period.). In my eyes, though, the Greedo incident is not the most egregious affront to the characterization of Han Solo. Although I don’t like the fact that we live in a world where Greedo started it – and don’t even get me started on how awful of a shot he is – I respect where Lucas was coming from. Solo still maintains his anti-heroic qualities, he’s still a man of action with a bad-ass ride and nebulous motives, but he’s no longer ruthless to the point of villainy.
What chaps my ass more is a fundamental and often overlooked change made to Episode 6. I had forgotten all about it – I usually watch the DVD set released in 2006 that includes the original theatrical releases in the bonus features – until I caught part of Return of the Jedi on Spike TV last weekend.
And now I can’t get it out of my mind.
Here’s the scene as I grew up with it:
Hand solo, still blind from his time encased in carbonite, is hanging upside down from one of Jabba the Hutt’s sail ships. Below him, Lando Calrissian is wrapped in a tentacle and steadily being pulled to his doom in the Sarlacc pit. Solo draws a blaster. Lando screams, “Wait, I thought you were blind!”.
“It’s all right. Trust me!”
In spite of Lando’s protests, Solo takes aim and fires.
But what I heard Saturday?
“Wait, I thought you were blind!”
“It’s all right. I can see a lot better!”
What. The. Frakk!?!
Like it or not, I can cope with Han having to defend himself from a bumbling bounty hunter. I can also cope with federal agents carrying walkie-talkies instead of taking aim at children and their lovable extra-terrestrial friend (I know, different film, but in the same spirit). What I can’t handle is the complete white-washing of a character who was specifically written to be a maverick.
I guess I should just be glad that Han still gets to fly through the asteroid field in Episode 5. Otherwise all he’d be doing is cruising the galaxy petting Wookies, hugging Ewoks, and kissing princesses.
Sounds like a Disney movie to me.
As always, thanks for reading.