Last month George Lucas, emboldened by his impending retirement from the business of blockbusters, opened up about his weariness with the complaints of Star Wars fans who have long griped about his many changes to the saga over the years—for instance, making it so that Han shoots first, to correct what was once a glaring “violation of his own naïve style.” And while that’s more explanation than George Lucas believes you deserve—and it’s already out there for public consumption, and everyone is now familiar with it—there is, of course, no reason why that explanation cannot be tweaked and improved upon after the fact. And so that's exactly what Lucas does in this new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, unveiling the newer, enhanced answer that he always intended you to see.
As it turns out, those who saw that controversial edit as a fundamental betrayal of the character—changing Han Solo from a shrewd, streetwise bad-ass to a guy who got really lucky that Greedo is such a lousy shot; rendering his evolution from amoral antihero to full-blown hero less meaningful, etc. —well, they were just confused all along, because Lucas now says Han never shot first:
The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.
Indeed, it was only the audience’s own bloodlust that led them astray and left them so confused for so many years—a bloodlust that festered into their ravenous need to set jaws upon George Lucas every time he tries to make his work a little more innocent and magical. Fortunately, all it took was a wider shot and a grafted-on cartoon laser beam to save future generations from wandering down that same dark path, which leads only to anger, hatred, and in forthcoming editions, a nice periwinkle garden.