In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, George Lucas (who’s dead to me, by the way), explains that the Star Wars I thought I saw when I was six never really existed:
THR: People can get fanatical about the movies — how does that make you feel? The puppet vs. CGI Yoda ruckus, and the who-shot-first, Han Solo or Greedo furor come to mind.
Lucas: Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie. 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 [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] 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.
[Emphasis mine – j.] Oh, was I just misunderstanding the story all this time? Isn’t it the job of the filmmaker to make me understand the character? (Lucas wrote and directed Star Wars, so it’s not like there was anybody else in the mix to obscure his vision.) If that’s the character he showed the first time ’round, isn’t that who he was? And if that movie I saw never happened, can I have back all that money I spent on it over the years?
The PJ Lifestyle blog has this comment:
Here’s the medicine we all need to swallow: as children we were more grown up than George Lucas is now as an adult. Han Solo’s entire character rested on what we saw in that early scene in the film. In shooting first Han Solo was a role model doing what any Real Man was supposed to do. Now we know that character only existed in our imaginations, not his creator’s. And that George Lucas regards most of his fans as amoral neanderthals.
George Lucas (who’s dead to me, by the way) has never passed up an opportunity to squeeze a buck out of the Star Wars franchise, but with that change in the original fabric of the story he’s committed the greediest act an artist can commit: he’s stolen a story back from his audience after letting them embrace and adopt it as their own.
As far as I’m concerned, that squatty doofus can go pound sand. The original Star Wars is the only Star Wars.