Why “Han Shot First!” Is a Moot Point

I have an inner geek, and I’ve decided to let her out. Yes, my inner geek is a woman. Is that so hard to believe? I like Star Wars AND Star Trek. So sue me. Today, I would like to talk about a small, short scene in Star Wars.  

It’s a small matter, but it’s one that comes up time and time again. “Han shot first!” The scene has been altered at least four times since its initial showing. The question I have is, why does it matter? Greedo said he would kill him.  

For those who don’t know, the scene in question is in “Star Wars: A New Hope,” very early on, in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Here is the exchange: Greedo informs Han of a bounty a then-unknown Jabba the Hutt had put on his head. Han says, “Over my dead body.” Greedo says, “That’s the idea.” From that point on, anything Han Solo does is in self-defense. 

Why? Simple. Greedo stated his intent to kill Han. It’s that simple. If Greedo shot first (in some adaptations), Han acted in self-defense. If Han shot first, he acted in self-defense. Han acted in self-defense no matter how the scene went down. Greedo was going to kill Han anyway, so does Han lose the right to defend himself in shooting first?  

Sometimes, a controversy is a moot point. We do not need to argue about any more than is necessary for health and safety. After all, we’ve got politics to make us hate each other more than enough.