"And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest bloggers found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Super-Blog Team-up was born—to fight the foes no single blogger could withstand! Through the years, their roster has prospered, changing many times, their glory has never been denied! Heed the call, then—for now, the Super-Bloggers Assemble!"
Super-Blog Team-Up #4 of 9
Welcome to Super-Blog Team-Up! Today, 9 blogs have teamed up to talk about retcons.
- Silver Age Sensations has written two posts on Captain America - The Red, White, and Blue Silver Age Avenger! and its prequel The First Avenger was First a Howling Commando!
- Flodo’s Page brings us Green Lantern: Secret Origins - Revision or Retcon?
- Longbox Graveyard got some help from the one and only “Rascally” Roy Thomas and brings us Retcon: Roy Thomas And Earth-2
- This post is #4 in the series.
- Bronze Age Babies with assistance from Kurt Busiek presents Was The Vision Really Carrying A Torch?
- Superior Spider-Talk which also runs a wonderful podcast by the same name discusses Peter Parker: Child of Radioactivity or Mysticism?
- Superhero Satellite (the creator of the Super-Blog Team-Up) has also written two posts - RETCON: Crisis on Continuity Earths and it’s prequel Charlton Action Heroes: A Count Down To Retcon..
- Fantastiverse created the awesome Super-Blog Team-Up logo seen above and has written a neat piece called Age of the Retcon: Bucky 4.0 - The Winter Soldier
- Chasing Amazing brings us Brand New Day and the Retcon of Harry Osborn
In this post I’ll be addressing Star Wars most debated retcon – Who shot first Han Solo or Greedo?
To explain my side of this famous argument, I want you to imagine that it is the 1960s and you are a Hollywood director. You’ve had a couple of minor successes and the studio has given you your shot at the big time. You are directing a western starring John Wayne.
The movie is called Rio Delgado. Rio Delgado is frontier town. It is inhabited with everyone from rich people looking to make a fortune in the new frontier to outlaws trying to hide from the law. The richest man in town is Jake Forester. He owns all of the key businesses in Rio Delgado and most of the outlaws. The sheriff, Paul Weatherbe, is a good honest man, but he is past his prime. Many of the outlaws are half his age and twice as fast on the draw. As much as it is eats at his conscience, Paul has to turn a blind eye to the dealings of Jake Forester and his not so merry men.
Hajnalka Mayor made this marvelous Star Wars Cake Topper.
Patty O’Sulivan was an Irish immigrant who lived in New York City. He always dreamed of owning a farm like the one he was raised on. When the government opened a new portion of the west for settlement, Patty was fortunate enough to get a plot of land. This land was just outside of Rio Delgado. Patty and his wife Maureen happily moved out west, started a farm, and were living their dream.
Part of what made Patty and Maureen’s land so terrific is that the river Roe ran through part of it. In the new frontier, water was often more precious than gold. Jake Forester had his eye on this property for years, but couldn’t get it because it was owned by the government. Now that Patty owned the land, Jake knew it was time to strike. Jake Forester wanted that water and Jake always got what he wanted.
Jake Forester offered to buy Patty’s land from him. Patty loved his farm and the price Jake offered was way to low, so Patty refused. Since Patty wouldn’t sell his land, one night, a band of outlaws shot up his house and burnt it to the ground. Patty knew that if he didn’t sell his land the next time the outlaws would be shooting at him and Maureen. Patty talked to Sheriff Weatherbe, but there was nothing the Sheriff could do to stop Jake Forester.
Though it breaks his heart, Patty decides to sell the land. Maureen knows that this will destroy Patty, so she sneaks away and contacts one of Patty’s closest friends, John Wayne, for help.
John Wayne comes to Rio Delgado and tells Patty not to sell his land. John Wayne has some run-ins with Jake Forester and his outlaws. Jake knows that John Wayne is trouble, so he places a bounty on his head. Jake will handsomely pay the first person who brings him John Wayne. Jake doesn’t care whether John Wayne is brought to him dead or alive.
John Wayne learns of the price on his head. It isn’t John Wayne’s style to hide in his room, so he goes to the local saloon. He is sitting at a table facing the door and has his back to the wall. John Wayne never sits at the bar because then his back is facing the door.
Ned Duggins, one of Jake’s outlaws, spots John Wayne. Ned walks over to John Wayne and sits down at the table. Ned is directly across from John Wayne. Ned tells John Wayne that Jake Forester wants to see him and that he is taking John Wayne to him. John Wayne is no fool. He knows that if he steps one foot into Jake’s house, he is not stepping back out. John Wayne refuses to go with Ned and things get heated.
You’re the director and you have three choices on how you can play out this scene.
- The actor who plays Ned Duggins jokingly suggests that he pull out his gun under the table and shoot John Wayne. John Wayne would die and so would your career in Hollywood.
- The writer of Rio Delgado suggests that Ned Duggins pull out his gun under the table and fire at John Wayne. The bullet ricochets off a part of the table and misses John Wayne. Then John Wayne pulls out his gun and shoots Ned.
- John Wayne suggests that he draw his gun before Ned is able to and shoots him. John Wayne is the faster draw and shoots first.
You’re the director. Which end to the scene would you pick?
If I were the director, there is no way I’d pick #1. I don’t like movies where John Wayne dies. I own about 20 John Wayne films, but I don’t own a copy of The Cowboys and probably never will. I have two problems with #2. First, John Wayne wouldn’t be outdrawn by Ned. Second, the whole bit about the bullet ricocheting seems way too hokey. I’d go with number #3. It is the ending which best fits John Wayne.
When Star Wars came out in 1977, there was nothing like it. Describing it to people who hadn’t seen it was difficult. I remember people describing it as a western that took place in outer space. While the description wasn’t perfect, there was one thing I strongly agreed with - Han Solo was a cowboy. He is cut from the same cloth as John Wayne. Look at his outfit. He has the boots, a vest, a belt with a holster, and a blaster. More importantly, he has the cowboy swagger. He is confident, bold, cocky, a bit of a loner, and always on the go. When he enters a room, the first three things he looks for are the enemies, the exists, and the ladies. He relies on instinct, especially when he’s got a bad feeling about this. He has one way of doing things – his way. He’ll hire on for a price, but there are things he won’t do for any amount of money.
In the famous scene between Han Solo and Greedo, George Lucas had two choices:
1. Greedo draws his blaster before Han can, shoots first and somehow misses Han when he is only a foot or two away.
2. Han outdraws Greedo and shoots first.
I think #2 works best. Why? Han Solo is a cowboy and just like John Wayne, Matt Dillon, Paladin, or even the Lone Ranger…Good Cowboys Always Shoot First!