March 2016 Bar Bulletin
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March 2016 Bar Bulletin

Han Solo’s Legal Justification for Shooting Greedo First

By Josh Gilliland


Han Shot First. There is no question about it. And in 1977, no one questioned it.

However, the legal question remains, was Han Solo legally justified in killing Greedo (Provided the Empire’s Doctrine of Fear had similar Common Law traditions)?

For those who do not have the scene memorized, here is the dialog from the original version from IMDb (Internet Movie Database):

Greedo: [In Huttese; subtitled] Going somewhere, Solo?

Han Solo: Yes, Greedo. I was just going to see your boss. Tell Jabba I’ve got his money.

Greedo: It’s too late. You should have paid him when you had the chance. Jabba’s put a price on your head so large, every bounty hunter in the galaxy will be looking for you. I’m lucky I found you first.

Han Solo: Yeah, but this time I’ve got the money.

Greedo: If you give it to me, I might forget I found you.

Han Solo: [stealthily going for his blaster] I don’t have it with me. Tell Jabba…

Greedo: Jabba’s through with you! He has no use for smugglers who drop their shipments at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser.

Han Solo: Even I get boarded sometimes. Do you think I had a choice?

Greedo: You can tell that to Jabba. At best, he may only take your ship.

Han Solo: Over my dead body!

Greedo: That’s the idea. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.

Han Solo: Yeah, I’ll bet you have.

[Han blasts Greedo, then heads out, tossing the bartender a coin.]

Han Solo: Sorry about the mess.

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