Greedo, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and flawed heroes

Fraser Sherman's Blog

Articles about how to write flawed or antiheroic characters usually focus on how to make them acceptable to readers: pit them against worse antagonists, show them transgressing arbitrary rules or challenging an oppressive status quo (I have some added suggestions). But I think it’s also sometimes difficult for us as writers to find them acceptable.

The classic example of this is Star Wars (or Episode IV: A New Hope if you insist). Early in the film (as you probably all know), a bounty hunter named Greedo confronts Han Solo with an eye to collecting the bounty on him. Han draws a gun under the table and shoots Greedo, killing him. It’s not a gunfight; Greedo wasn’t attempting to kill him (though it’s obvious he was ready to) so Han shooting first isn’t self-defense as we usually define it. It shows he’s not a classic hero like Flash Gordon, who’d…

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