Why it Matters That Han Shot First: From Star Wars to Marketing

By Ruby Brown

June 8, 2018


If you’re not familiar with the “Han Shot First” controversy, Google it. The character-defining scene reveals core truths about Han that later edits undercut, recharacterizing him as less cutthroat and a nicer guy. But he’s not. More importantly for my point today, Han moves quickly and with his end goal in mind. He’s not going to wait for Greedo to shoot before he makes his move. He did the Kessel run in less than 12 Parsecs for goodness’ sake! That kind of speed takes risk and it’s those risks that build him into the character that eventually turns around to help Leia. While I don’t necessarily suggest managing your marketing strategy as ruthlessly as Han manages his smuggling enterprise, there is a powerful incentive to be the one to shoot first. It’s important that your tools allow you to do this too.

han shot first.png

Consider this: You’re gearing up to run a summer seasonal promotion for your ecommerce.


Would you wait for your top competitor to unveil their summer promotion before designing yours? That would be crazy, right? You need to get out ahead of the game. Would Han Solo just lay back and wait? No! He would have already had his promotion up and running, A/B testing it to see how it went, and then making changes along the way.

It wouldn’t even matter if your promotion wasn’t perfect yet; in fact it wouldn’t get anywhere near perfect unless you released it first, because it needs to go through real time A/B testing. In the CRO world, your A/B testing solution can either be your Han Solo or your Greedo. You can jump out ahead of the game, ready to do what it takes for your customers. You can make last minute changes (like Han’s last minute change of heart) in order to finish strong. But only with the right tool.

Han Solo isn’t perfect, but don’t be a Greedo.


There’s a lot you could say about how bad a guy Han is in that original scene. He’s not great. He’s cold, and ruthless, and shows no remorse. The problem with the edited version though? Han only reacts rather than acts. His attitude at the beginning of the film is indifferent to the Rebellion: self-interested and uncompassionate. He’s not a totally different person at the end, but he modifies his ideas and his behaviors based on new information he receives on his journey with Obi, Luke, R2-D2, and C3P0.

That’s what A/B testing and multivariate testing allow you to do. They allow you to create what works for your brand in the moment, and then change it according to your customer behavior data. That’s what separates Han Solo in the original scene versus the later rendition. His growth and change. In the end, he’s a way better Solo.

Read More About Star Wars and Marketing             Learn Testing Strategies to Optimize the Customer Journey

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Ruby Brown

Ruby Brown

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