In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Han Solo kills bounty hunter Greedo in cold blood at Mos Eisley. However, ever since A New Hope was re-released in 1997, the scene has been altered to make it seem like Greedo shot first rather than Solo - a practice which has even extended to other franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Over time, the debate has raged on, many fans dying on the hill that Han always shot first, killing Greedo without hesitation.
Previous books within the Star Wars canon have touched on this highly-debated topic. The author of A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, Alexandra Bracken, replied “Han, of course!” when asked who shot first.
Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel shows the scene exactly how it plays out in the special edition, both basically shooting at the same time, with Greedo's shot missing Han.
In the book From a Certain Point of View, one story is told from Greedo's perspective. He doesn't even think about shooting his blaster, and his last memory is of a flash. However, Lucasfilm Story Group’s Matt Martin said the book included various contradictions to the revised canon from A New Hope.
Another Star Wars novel is set to release that not only fixed an annoying plot hole in Attack of the Clones, but also sheds more light on the age-old debate of who shot first.
Han Shot First...Maybe
As part of the upcoming Star Wars: The Secrets of the Bounty Hunters novel, Greedo is given a description, posted by Reddit user IllusiveManJr, that sheds light on whether he or Han Solo shot first at Mos Eisley. This description indicates that Han may have shot first, saying, "[Greedo's] death was the result of him not shooting quite quickly enough!"
However, the explanation goes on to leave the topic up for even more interpretation:
"From what I have heard, Greedo believed he would finally make his big score by claiming Jabba’s lucrative bounty on Han Solo. Tracking Solo to the Mos Eisley cantina, the overconfident Greedo threatened the seasoned smuggler, a move he would not live long enough to regret. Although there were many eyewitnesses to their encounter, few can seem to agree on who shot–but none can argue who shot better. Unfortunately for Greedo, it was not him.”
The argument of who actually shot first has taken a life of its own in many ways, and it's clear that Star Wars, Disney, and Lucasfilm don't feel any pressure to give fans a concrete answer.
Is Han Solo a Worse Character if He Shot Second?
The consensus uproar behind the "Han Shot First" argument is that if Han didn't shoot first, it's not as cool of a scene and he's not as ruthless of a character. This is an issue for many fans as in the initial scene, Han is portrayed as a money-driven smuggler who can talk or shoot his way out of any situation. In no way does the original make the scene in Mos Eisley depict a version of self-defense.
George Lucas re-working the original trilogy is a huge issue for many fans. Beyond the order of events before Greedo dies, Darth Vader shouting "No" at the end of Return of the Jedi, Hayden Christensen as a Force Ghost, and the "Jedi Rocks" song at Jabba's Palace are also all on the list.
In general, many fans of Star Wars appreciate the original canon from the first three films as they were released in theaters. Greedo shooting Han first is arguably the most controversial change that still stirs up a debate.
While the answer still remains unclear, fans will continue to wait for Star Wars to re-canonize Han shooting Greedo first.