Han Solo Shot First
While reading Dr. Russell Moore’s blog over at The Henry Institute, I was reminded of a particularly nasty moment in my beloved Star Wars: the original movie (Episode 4) was changed so that Greedo, not Han Solo, shot first.
Those of you who are Star Wars aficionados know exactly what I’m talking about. When Luke and Obi-Wan go into the famous cantina, they meet the smuggler Han Solo. After they leave, Han is waylaid by the bounty hunter Greedo. To keep from being captured and taken to the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt, Han surreptitiously took his blaster out of his holster and pointed it at Greedo under the table. Poor Greedo never suspected his death was at hand. Zap!
Lucas, in the interest of making Han look more “gentle” (what a crock of rancid yak butter), edited the film to show Greedo shooting first instead. Just take a look at the Special Editions or even the new DVD editions. Isn’t that the most horrible thing you ever saw in your life? Not only does it look clumsy and stupid, it destroys the Han Solo character in a subtle way.
Throughout the original films, you see just as much of a redemption of a man in Han Solo as you see a coming-of-age in Luke Skywalker. It is extremely important to see that Han is a pragmatic character–a me-first, whatever the cost space cowboy. By shooting first, this is dramatically illustrated. It makes Han’s evolution in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi into a caring, others-oriented person all the more remarkable and enjoyable. Especially when you read the novels. The wild horse reigned in and tamed by the beautiful princess and befriended by the prince.
I am considering the fact that Han probably wouldn’t need this redemption if he was not the kind of person that would shoot first. By the same token, we wouldn’t need Jesus if we had not sinned. The importance of this statement is profound. Far from defending the origin of sin and the act of sinning, I feel it recognizes that we are fallen humans in need of a Savior, something many of us deny just as Han Solo denied: “I believe we make our own destiny. I don’t believe there’s some all-powerful Force controlling the galaxy.”
Such a worldview dooms us to an unsatisfied existence, always searching for significance and purpose. Just as Han in the days before Obi-Wan and Luke entered his life and turned his world upside down, before Jesus we are wandering souls in search of something better. Han’s life was governed by money and the pursuit of pleasure, and Luke’s entrance brought him into a family where he could finally experience contentment. One might say it was the will of the Force. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross offers us the same contentment and purpose, albeit of a higher order than Han’s.
Just remember–Han Solo shot first.