After seven years away from theaters, Star Wars comes back to the big screen this weekend. Of course, it’s not a new movie or even an original re-release. Instead it’s what’s generally considered one of the worst of the bunch, converted into an experience many people hate. I refer, of course, to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D and if one good thing comes of this re-release, it means George Lucas has to come out and answer questions. (Of course, he did this for Red Tails too but focused more on his upcoming career and Hollywood controversy.)

In an interview Lucas did with The Hollywood Reporter he offers what I think is the most plausible and straightforward answer he’s ever given as to why he changed the Greedo/Han Solo scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Read the quotes and agree or disagree after the break.

Here’s Lucas talking about about Greedo and Han over at The Hollywood Reporter:

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.

Does that mean it’s okay? Of course not. In the original film part of what made Han Solo so cool was that bad-ass swagger, which Lucas removed in 1997. What he’s admitting here is that fans were giving him credit for something he didn’t originally intend. Han Solo was never supposed to be that. As a fan, that kind of annoys me but at least I finally see his reasoning for making that change.

Head to The Hollywood Reporter to read more from Lucas including thoughts on Hugo, Blade Runner and his explanation why Yoda was changed to digital in The Phantom Menace.

So what does this explanation mean to you? Does it make it okay? Do you believe him? Personally, I believe him. If he really meant for Han to shoot first, he would have changed the original scene to make that clearer. Maybe, after all these years later, Han didn’t shoot first after all. We just saw it that way.

It is almost unfathomable that our readers haven’t seen these clips many times over, but just in case, here’s the original version with Han shooting first:

And here’s the revamped one:

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