A controversial change to the scene in Star Wars: A New Hope when Han Solo killed the Rodian bounty hunter Greedo could be explained through the mystical means of The Force. Upon release in 1977, this original A New Hope scene showed Han Solo (Harrison Ford) killing Greedo in cold blood, but when the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy were released twenty years later in 1997, George Lucas changed this to Greedo shooting at Solo first. This change, along with other cosmetic alterations, provoked ire from fans who had grown up with the Star Wars movies and had grown accustomed to seeing Han Solo strike first against Greedo.
There have been three further alterations to the scene since then, partly in response to the public backlash against the original change. In 2004’s remastered edition of Star Wars: A New Hope‘s DVD release, Greedo still shot before Han, although the lag between their shots was admittedly much smaller. When Lucas tinkered again in 2011, the pair’s shots were simultaneous, just as they were when the scene was changed yet again seven years later with the surreal addition of Greedo saying “Maclunkey” before being gunned down.
However, these subsequent changes may not have been necessary because George Lucas’s original change in 1997 made sense within the Star Wars universe. This was because Star Wars has always had a concept called The Will of the Force, which worked similarly to the idea of fate. The initial change to the scene certainly felt jarring because Han Solo’s survival looked more like luck than the product of his own actions. Ultimately though, that’s exactly how fate and The Will of the Force have always worked. Events occurred because they were supposed to, meaning that whether Solo shot first or not made no difference because he was not supposed to die at that time in Star Wars canon.
There have been numerous other examples of The Will of the Force affecting the characters in Star Wars. Of the recent Star Wars films, perhaps the most obvious was from a scene in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. With blaster fire all around, the blind Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) walked slowly to the master switch without being hit despite Stormtroopers aiming and firing at him. As tempting as it was to assume this was due to him being played by the extraordinary martial arts master Donnie Yen, the cause was really the Will of the Force. Indeed, it would be possible to infer that this was the real reason that Imperial Stormtroopers were so bad at shooting any of the major characters in the Star Wars movies. No matter how well trained they were, they simply couldn’t contend with or overcome the inexorable Will of the Force itself.
In fact, the Star Wars saga has consistently shown the inability of a character’s force of will to contend with the intangible Will of the Force. Those who were force-sensitive, like the Jedi, had a limited amount of control over the mystical energy field because, as Luke Skywalker said in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the “Force doesn’t belong to the Jedi.” While the interaction between Force users and The Will of the Force certainly took place, complete control wasn’t possible. After all, there were few more powerful Jedi than Anakin Skywalker, and yet, from the moment he had a vision of his wife Padme dying in childbirth, her fate was sealed. Despite his efforts to change that outcome and control The Will of the Force, he couldn’t do it, and his actions became the very things that guaranteed his vision occurred.
Additionally, The Will of the Force may also disprove a long-held fan theory about Han Solo being force sensitive. The evidence usually cited for this theory has been that he was a great pilot and brilliant marksman, but neither skill has ever been unique to those who were force sensitive. For this reason, Solo being influenced by the Force rather than the other way round made a lot more sense in explaining his talents. It could also explain some of his bravado and, therefore, part of what made Han Solo an enduring and well-loved personality in the Star Wars Universe. This, in turn, further underlined that even if Greedo did shoot first, The Will of the Force was always for Han Solo’s story to be longer and more memorable.
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