Star Wars: George Lucas made sure Greedo shot first by precisely five frames

(Image credit: Disney)

No change to the original Star Wars trilogy has been as controversial as George Lucas' decision to make Greedo Shoot First. Countless petitions have been signed hoping to get Disney to release the original versions of Star Wars, yet, over on Disney Plus, only the newer "special edition" cuts exist. 

Making Greedo take the first shot at Han Solo in Star Wars: A New Hope was an incredibly calculated decision. As revealed in Paul Duncan's new book, Star Wars: Archives, telling of the production of the prequel trilogy, there's a chapter on the original Star Wars special editions – the re-edited versions released in the late '90s.

Discussing the edits in a video (via io9), Duncan reveals: "It was always George's intention for Greedo to shoot first and for Han Solo to shoot in self-defence." In fact, Lucas gave very, very specific instructions to how the scene should be changed. A document reveals that Lucas instructed that frame 52 be the start of Greedo's misfire, then on frame 57 – five frames later, that's less than a quarter of a second – comes Han's return fire. "That was how this scene was to be played out as George intended, rather than the ambiguity that there was originally," adds Duncan.

So, there you have it. Greedo shot first by five frames, making Han's reaction time absolute dynamite. When during those frame's Greedo was meant to shout "Maclunkey" is unclear, as that phrase came in the re-edits for the 4K and Disney Plus versions of Star Wars

In other Star Wars news, Liam Neeson has revealed he's not been asked back as Qui-Gon, John Boyega has called Colin Trevorrow's plans for Episode 9 "dope", and Wookiee Jedis are coming. And if you need a refresher on all things Star Wars, make sure to check out our complete Star Wars timeline before The Mandalorian season 2 arrives.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.