George Lucas: Greedo shot first at Han in the original "Star Wars"

Via Ace, the guy just can. not. stop. He tried to ruin the original trilogy by making terrible prequels, but that didn’t work. Then he tried to ruin them with brutally cheesy re-edits, and that didn’t work. So now he’s going to start telling you that the things you loved about the original movies were never actually there in the first place. Mark my words: One of these days, he’s going to say that we’ve all misunderstood and that Darth Vader is actually Luke’s stepfather. It’s coming. It’ll be the coup de grace.

I take back what I said about the new Spider-Man movie. There actually is something worse than remaking a 10-year-old blockbuster.

THR: People can get fanatical about the movies — how does that make you feel? The puppet vs. CGI Yoda ruckus, and the who-shot-first, Han Solo or Greedo furor come to mind.

Lucas: Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie. 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.

It’s the same thing with 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.

This is the problem in a nutshell: He’s the only one who thinks the puppet wasn’t as good as the CGI. He also probably thinks the CGI spacecraft in the prequels were better than the models they used in the original trilogy. Not so. As good as CGI is now, it often still looks artificial in a way that the models and costumes didn’t. (See the brilliant Red Letter Media critiques of the prequels for much, much, much more on Lucas’s ruinous addiction to computer-generated imagery.) I’m sincerely amazed sometimes at how little he seems to understand why his movies appeal to people. Even if he did intend to edit the original Han/Greedo scene so that Greedo shot first, you’d think he’d have the good sense to accept the public’s misunderstanding of a happy accident and play it off as something he intended. Of course Han should shoot first: He’s a roguish space cowboy in a seedy saloon in the space equivalent of the wild west. He’s got a gun pointed at him and some shady green varmint telling him he’s about to die. Pull the trigger. The difference between Lucas and Spielberg is how Lucas re-edited the Greedo scene and how Spielberg didn’t re-edit the scene of Indiana Jones shooting the swordsman in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Spielberg fully understands why the latter is so cool. He wouldn’t change it if you chained him to the editing machine, I’d bet.

I’m starting to think Lucas’s endless mind games with “Star Wars” fans is some sort of “Magic Christian” prank in which he’s gotten bored with his mountain of money and is now having fun by messing with people’s heads. Maybe he’ll put Jar Jar in one of the TIE fighters at the end of “Star Wars” when he does the next re-edit, just to kick his most devoted acolytes in the groin. Exit question: Should Obama step in and have this guy arrested before he can do any more damage? Granted, Lucas hasn’t done anything illegal, but O’s all about acting extra-legally for virtuous ends. And this end would be virtuous enough that his approval rating would jump 20 points overnight.

Update: Screwed up the headline but it’s fixed now.