The "Han Shot First" slogan was one of the biggest things to come out of George Lucas' infamous late-90s Star Wars Special Edition recuts. Well, Solo: A Star Wars Story makes sure to let us know why that aspect of the character is not only the definitive one, but also why Han Solo holds it to be one of his most important creeds.
Warning - major Solo Spoilers follow!
The climatic act of Solo: A Star Wars Story sees Han (Alden Ehrenreich) navigating a series of double and triple-cross moves between himself, his mentor Beckett (Woody Harrelson), gangster Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), and love interest Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke). The standoff plays out with Vos being taken out by Qi'ra; Qi'ra ditching Han in favor of usurping Dryden's place in the crime syndicate; and Beckett trying to make off with valuable Coaxium ship fuel, forcing Han to meet it him in an Old West-style duel.
Throughout Solo, Beckett had tried to warn Han about getting into the underworld life, pointing to the fact that Han was, deep down, a good guy. When they finally meet in their duel, Beckett is still confident that he's facing the same 'good guy' who's just posturing. But Han proves him very wrong, shooting Beckett in the chest while his mentor is in the middle of another silver-tongued speech. Beckett dies in Han's arms, confessing that he's impressed his young ward has learned something.
What we learn from this is that Han's hard lessons in betrayal, from those close to him on that first Kessel Run job, ingrained something in him that was hard to break for years to come - at least until Han found a new makeshift family in A New Hope, one of true noble heroes, this time.
The Star Wars Special Editions recut of the Original Trilogy changed the entire nature of Han's character, by reediting the famous "Han Solo vs Greedo" shootout in A New Hope. After George Lucas changed the scene to make it seem that Greedo fired the first blast, fans rebelled, creating the "Han Shot First" slogan, in honor of the character's true nature. It's still one of the biggest and most egregious changes to a classic movie ever made - which is exactly why it will please so many older fans to see Solo validate the version of Han Solo they know and love.
Solo: A Star Wars Story is now in theaters; Star Wars: Episode IX arrives on December 20, 2019. Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story is also in development, along with a new Star Wars trilogy from Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, and a spinoff series from Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.