George Lucas Discusses Star Wars Controversies, Says Han Never Shot First
02.10.12 by Ryan
George Lucas is bringing his Star Wars saga back to big screen again, starting today with Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace 3D. While the plan is to re-release the entire franchise in 3-D, the Blu-ray versions released last year allowed Lucas to frustrate fans with more alterations, particularly to Return of the Jedi (now Ewoks blink and Darth Vader yells "Nooo!" before tossing the Emperor to his doom) and Phantom Menace, which will see the puppet version of Yoda replaced with a CGI one instead. During a recent interview with THR, Lucas explained why he decided to add a digital Yoda.
We tried to do Yoda in CGI in Episode I, but we just couldn’t get it done in time. We couldn’t get the technology to work, so we had to use the puppet, but the puppet really wasn’t as good as the CGI. So when we did the reissue, we had to put the CGI back in, which was what it was meant to be.
As for why Lucas continues to make changes to his movies, the writer-director-producer was resolute that "changes are not unusual" for movies when they are re-released.
I mean, most movies when they release them they make changes. But somehow, when I make the slightest change, everybody thinks it’s the end of the world. That whole issue between filmmakers and the studios with the studios being able to change things without even letting the director of the movie know … I’m very much involved in that [so that’s not happening here]. My job is to try to make the best possible movie it can be — and the current version is the Blu-ray version. That’s the one that’s been made into 3D. But it’s just a conversion. We haven’t made any changes [to Phantom Menace] other than the 3D.
The change that has drawn the most ire amongst fanboys is a scene from Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope between Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and bounty hunter Greedo. In the original version, Han shoots Greedo first, but the 1997 re-release changed the scene, with Greedo firing first instead. The move has a caused a legion of fans to wear t-shirts that read "Han shot first." Lucas says the original version was misleading as to who shot first, and the re-release was meant to clarify which character had the itchiest trigger finger.
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.
We doubt that Lucas' response will please fans who have been perturbed by the change, so, we've decided to add both versions below — first the original version, and then the version from the recent Blu-Ray release.
For those that continue to be infuriated with Lucas' changes to Star Wars, worry not. Lucas recently admitted that he does not plan to make any more Star Wars movies. "Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" Lucas asked last month.