So look, we all know that Han shot first in the original Star Wars. It doesn’t matter what the new continuity says or what George Lucas did to butcher his original creation, the evidence is there in the clear. But what we can question is whether what Han did to Greedo is actually legal. Is Han Solo in the right when he guns down Jabba The Hutt’s little errand boy? Or was he really dead wrong, meaning George Lucas was right for wanting to change the scene.
Fear not. The warm bosom of Lady Justice is on the side of everybody’s favorite scruffy looking smuggler. A new post from the Legal Geeks that was reposted over at Vulture lays out the defense and details why Han is justified. You can check out the full rationale over here, including some fine legalese that might put those law degrees to work. But the meat is here and you can see that Han did nothing wrong:
Now we can consider the entirety of the situation as the laws apply to it. Without a doubt, having a blaster pointed directly at Han put his life in danger. Additionally, Greedo’s statement, “That’s the idea. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” communicated Greedo’s intent to kill Han. Shooting first was seemingly the only way to prevent Greedo from using deadly force himself.
Regarding the retreat issue, Han was already at gunpoint and cornered in the booth when Han shot Greedo. It is unlikely Han could have retreated with his back to the wall and in a seated position. Shooting his way out appeared to be his only option. Finally, reasonable belief wouldn’t be hard to prove. Han was in Mos Eisley Spaceport, a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Greedo had his weapon pointed at Han the entire time, with Han cornered in a booth. This should be sufficient to show the reasonableness of the threat to Han’s life.
Applying the facts to the Model Penal Code and Common Law, then, it’s clear that Han was justified in shooting first and killing Greedo.
“But John Wayne wouldn’t do it,” cried a lonely George Lucas from his money vault. If Han Solo is John Wayne, then there’s not enough smoking or hatred against Indians to fill the persona. He can shoot first, especially since he’s a guy who says it is okay to work with giant criminal space slugs. And he’s legally protected.