Considering the "Han shot first" controversy, is there any version that has been stated canon over the other?

The 2006 DVD had two versions—the 2004 changes and the original theatrical version. The theatrical version features no changes, including Han Solo shooting without Greedo firing a shot.

So, this leaves me dubious of which one is considered canon.

  • 43
    Just as there is the "zeroeth law" of robotics, there is a canon which outranks all other canon in Star Wars and applies to only a total of less than 15 seconds of screen time. This "zeroeth level" of Star Wars canon states that no matter what, Han shot first.
    – Tango
    Oct 6 '11 at 17:14
  • I'm not advocating one or the other, just that what really matters in the end is that he shot BETTER.
    – MPelletier
    Oct 7 '11 at 4:20
  • 1
    @Tango: H-Canon. We should should make this a thing! Oct 13 '14 at 15:15
  • Unfortunately, Star Wars canon is largely whatever Lucas says it is AT THE GIVEN TIME. And Lucas keeps changing his mind.
    – Omegacron
    Jul 16 '15 at 17:08
  • 3
    @TylerH: It's filed under <sarcasm>.
    – Tango
    Jul 16 '15 at 23:36

According to several references I found, DVDs are considered the canon, so (sadly from my POV), Greedo shot first.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_canon:

The Holocron is divided into 5 levels (in order of precedence): G-canon, T-canon, C-canon, S-canon, and N-canon.

  • G-canon is absolute canon; the movies (their most recent release), ...

Please note that, as the question noted, the latest release (as of 3/2011, it's "2006 DVD", but the answer might change once the rumored Blu-Ray Star Wars is released) had two versions — the 2004 changed "Greedo shot first by a small margin" and the original theatrical "Han shot first" version.

Despite both version co-existing on the DVD, the release explicitly notes that the original theatrical version with Han shooting first is "bonus material", and thus not the "main" version. Therefore, Greedo shot first according to G-canon rules above.

  • That the point, "their most recent release" of the DVD has 2 version, one where he shoot first and one where Greedo shoot first.
    – DavRob60
    Mar 7 '11 at 17:59
  • 1
    @DavRob60 - upon further research, the theatrical version is "bonus material" and thus secondary. Sorry, Greedo first it is :(. I updated the answer. Mar 7 '11 at 19:27
  • 7
    +1 however unfortunate it is, this is the case. The current version of the first film has Greedo shooting first. My inner child weeps, but cannot deny this.
    – Jeff
    Mar 7 '11 at 19:32
  • 17
    @Jeff My inner child just stomps his footsie and yells HAN SHOT FIRST. For this child-in-a-man, George Lucas can go... do whatever. Han shot first. It's in character. For me. Mar 8 '11 at 15:52
  • 1
    But aren't the DVDs now superseded by the blu-ray (which I got when it came out and still haven't had time to watch)?
    – Tango
    Oct 7 '11 at 2:14

According to the comparison of all versions of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope by Chris Gould at DVD Active. (search for "Greedo"), Greedo still shoot first in the Blu-ray release.

From this still image it might look like the scene has remained unchanged for the Blu-ray release, but this is not the case. Approximately ten frames have been shaved off of the shot immediately before Greedo fires, making it appears as though Han and the bounty hunter shoot at roughly the same time. It’s still not great but it’s the best version since the original.

Greedo still shot first

  • 2
    About the same time...but with Greedo first. His laser bolt hits while Han's laser bolt was still being fired from his gun. Dec 3 '14 at 8:01

The novel "Star Wars" written by Lucas has Han shooting first. This is mirrored in the first theatrical release of the movie. The point is both that Han is very good, and that Greedo committed a fatal mistake by allowing Han's hands to get under the table to his blaster.

The Special Edition re-release changed this to make Han's head jerk so Greedo's shot misses (his shot misses wildly anyway) and then Han fires. This makes him more of a badass and a little less of a cold-blooded executioner, and thus hopefully more likeable. However, it reduces his character development; by the end of the original book and theatrical release, all the things Han's said and done have stacked against him, so you wouldn't expect him to come back and help the Rebels.


Well, thanks to Peter Mayhew's facebook post is should be clear that at least originally, Han shot. Period.



  • The question isn't about what it originally was, it's about the current canon.
    – phantom42
    Jul 16 '15 at 11:47
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    @phantom42 I'm afraid "current" canon is bound to change at the whim of Lucas' mood, while original remains a fixed point in time...
    – Zommuter
    Jul 16 '15 at 12:04
  • 2
    First, it's no longer up to Lucas. Second, regardless of whether or not it's a moving target, it's what the question asked for.
    – phantom42
    Jul 16 '15 at 12:41
  • @phantom42 the question doesn't mention the word current. Let's agree that the perfect answer would include all sources but ultimately I don't care too much about precedence. Though Han surviving by sheer luck makes the story slightly less credible to me...
    – Zommuter
    Jul 16 '15 at 12:50

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