You could consider this an open letter to Sarah Koenig, host of the super-podcast Serial, which rose to prominence in 2014 as it looked at the murder of eighteen-year old Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed. The show was trying to determine whether or not Syed had been properly convicted.
Well, today, on May the Fourth, commonly known as “Star Wars Day,” I’d like to ask—neigh, beg!—Sarah Koenig to look into another case, one that has troubled Star Wars fans for decades:
Who shot first? Han or Greedo?
Background of the Case
Here’s the scene: Han Solo, handsome rogue and ruthless smuggler, is accosted by Greedo, a bounty hunter, in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Greedo has come to kill Solo for the bounty place on his head by Jabba the Hutt. Apparently, Solo owes a considerable amount of money to Jabba because Han lost the crime boss’ cargo in an imperial raid. The two trade barbs back and forth before shots are traded. Within seconds, Greedo is dead, and Han walks away without a scratch.
Most unsolved cases are stuck due to a lack of evidence. With this case, the issue is a preponderance of conflicting evidence. You see, the whole scene was caught on tape! However, someone has edited the tapes. Both, at various times, have been declared “official” at various points by supposed “experts,” but it’s hard to tell who is arguing from an unbiased position.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison, though it’s been assembled by someone who identifies as a “Han shot first” believer:
If you’d prefer some bias-free evidence, here are few still frames from the video.
Further complicating the issue, however, is a surprisingly detailed witness statement currently available on the Internet:
As Han is about to leave, Greedo, a slimy green-faced alien
with a short trunk-nose, pokes a gun in his side. The creature
speaks in a foreign tongue translated into English subtitles.
Going somewhere, Solo?
Yes, Greedo. As a matter of fact, I
was just going to see your boss.
Tell Jabba that I’ve got his money.
Han sits down and the alien sits across from him holding the
gun on him.
It’s too late. You should have paid
him when you had the chance. Jabba’s
put a price on your head, so large
that every bounty hunter in the galaxy
will be looking for you. I’m lucky I
found you first.
Yeah, but this time I got the money.
If you give it to me, I might forget
I found you.
I don’t have it with me. Tell Jabba…
Jabba’s through with you. He has no
time for smugglers who drop their
shipments at the first sign of an
Even I get boarded sometimes. Do you
think I had a choice?
Han Solo slowly reaches for his gun under the table.
You can tell that to Jabba. He may
only take your ship.
Over my dead body.
That’s the idea. I’ve been looking
forward to killing you for a long
Yes, I’ll bet you have.
Suddenly the slimy alien disappears in a blinding flash of
light. Han pulls his smoking gun from beneath the table as
the other patron look on in bemused amazement. Han gets up
and starts out of the cantina, flipping the bartender some
coins as he leaves.
Sorry about the mess.
We all know that the Empire strikes back and that the Jedi returns, but who shot first?
This is a layered case that deserves more time and attention than it’s received. I’m sure that Serial‘s production team could get a whole seasons out of this, and I’m pretty sure that George Lucas would be harder to nail down than Jay. This could be huge! Basically, all I’m saying is this: