The debate over whether or not Han shot first in A New Hope is still one of the most debated topics among Star Wars fans. It's an essential character moment for Han Solo that helps define his character for the rest of the trilogy. If he shots first, he is a dangerous renegade, perfectly willing to play dirty. If he shots second, he's still a scoundrel, just one that isn't above taking the first shot.

While fans have landed on both sides of the debate, creator George Lucas is firmly in the "Han didn't shoot first" camp. That is, afterall, why he changed the scene in the 1997 special edition re-release of the film. In a new interview with the Washington Post, Lucas goes into why he felt it was important to not have Han pull the trigger before the bounty hunter Greedo.

"Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?' Lucas says. "Because I was thinking mythologically - should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.' And when you're John Wayne, you don't shoot people [first] - you let them have the first shot. It's a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to."

Even if that's how the series creator feels about the character, more than a few fans would have to disagree. Those who grew up watching Han shoot first in the original film likely won't be swayed by Lucas' words, while newcomers to the franchise may be more receptive of the various changes he made to the original trilogy over the years. Few directors have the power to go in and completely change a character 20 years after the original film's release, but that's exactly what Lucas did. Now we just have to accept the fact...or not.

The question now is how will Han Solo's character have changed in the 30 year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens? Will he still be the lovable scoundrel we all know and love? Or will old-age have softened the galaxy's most famous smuggler? Fans won't have to wait much longer, as Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters on Dec. 18.

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