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When Solo meets Greedo in the Mos Eisley cantina, he tells him:

I was just going to see your boss. Tell Jabba...

Before shooting him and walking out. He doesn't go and see Jabba, so what was he doing on Tatooine, the power-centre of the Hutt's empire? It seems like an unlikely choice for a restful drink if you're avoiding the local crime lord.

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its probably the best place to pick up a job though, for a smuggler.. – Himarm Aug 13 '14 at 14:02
It's not entirely clear that Han was avoiding Jabba so much as just 'in his bad books'. He seemed very surprised to see Greedo. – Richard Aug 13 '14 at 14:07
“He doesn't go and see Jabba” — ah, you’re one of the lucky souls who hasn’t seen the remastered versions. (See…, item 6.) – Paul D. Waite Aug 13 '14 at 15:25
No, in the remastered versions, Jabba comes to see him. He doesn't go see Jabba. He's waiting at the Falcon when Solo gets there. Small, but important distinction. – BBlake Aug 14 '14 at 12:54
Also this was a cut scene from the original version with a human actor as Jabba, in the remastered version they digitally replaced him with Muppet Jabba – engineerDave Aug 14 '14 at 19:42
up vote 140 down vote accepted

This time period is addressed in the book Rebel Dawn, which is now Legends Canon. This has not yet been addressed within the revised canon.

Han Solo is on Tatooine at the beginning of A New Hope because he just recently tried to meet with Jabba to discuss the fact that he had been boarded by Imperials and had to jettison his cargo of glitterstim. Jabba, however, was unresponsive and unwilling to meet with Han.

Han was still attempting to get a meeting with Jabba to avoid conflict, or to acquire enough money to pay off Jabba. Jabba, however, decided to send bounty hunters to collect the money or Han's corpse.

Until Greedo showed up, Han was doing exactly the opposite of trying to avoid Jabba - he was specifically trying to get a chance to actually talk to him. When Greedo shows up, Han initially implores Greedo to pass along Han's message. Instead, Greedo pulls a blaster. Unfortunately for Greedo, he never gets a shot off before Han shoots him first.

With a bounty on his head, Han realizes that Jabba isn't willing to hear him out and decides to get out while he can, and accepts a fare from some old guy, a boy, two droids and no questions.

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And runs into Jabba in the Docking Bay - in the novelization at least (and the reinserted formerly deleted scene). – BMWurm Aug 13 '14 at 14:37
Han shoots first? I'm pretty sure that isn't what happened in the newly newly newly remastered master edition of A New Hope. – Jack B Nimble Aug 13 '14 at 15:24
@JackBNimble don't mention that version please. It's terrible. – user973810 Aug 13 '14 at 16:59
"Unfortunately for Greedo, he never gets a shot off before Han shoots him first." That single sentence earns you a +1 as far as I'm concerned. – Omegacron Aug 13 '14 at 17:05
Now if Jabba wanted Han dead, why put a bounty on him, then refuse to see him? Why not just give him an audience, kill him when he arrives, and save a buck? – Stephen Collings Aug 14 '14 at 22:05

I expect that Han was going to try and smooth over the problem with Jabba, explain himself, offer to pay him off, etc. Even though he is a gangster, Jabba is a Business Hutt after all and Han did not steal from him or disrespect him in any way, he just dumped the cargo when he ran into imperial trouble. He was probably going to say that by doing so he managed to avoid going to Space Jail or whatever, so could now be indentured to Jabba for as long as it took to pay off the debt.

He tried to take off without seeing Jabba, because he thought he could do this job and then give Jabba a big stack of Space Money to buy his way back into Jabba's good books.

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