When George Lucas altered the special edition re-releases of the original Star Wars trilogy, he drew a metaphorical line in the sand that has come to define his contentious relationship with fans. Those who saw the first film in theaters in 1977 will go to their graves believing that Han Solo shot Greedo in the cantina before Greedo could do him any harm, but Lucas insists that was never his intention (despite an early draft reportedly confirming that Han did, in fact, mean to shoot first).
Now Lucas is back with a new explanation of why his roguish space captain didn't shoot first, telling The Washington Post:
“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ ” Lucas asks. “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.”
There's no question about the influences of archetypes and mythology on Star Wars — those have been well-documented elsewhere — and it's even easy to see how Lucas would want Han to represent a John Wayne type of character. But all of the reasoning in the world won't ever change what people physically saw on screen before he messed with the movie! This seems like a fight between Lucas and Star Wars fans that will never be won.