Who shot first? Han or Greedo? If you answer Han, you are correct and a true hero. If you answered the latter though, you are clearly the expelled detritus from a hive of scum and villainy. Or George Lucas.
When the Star Wars creator re-released the Special Editions of his original trilogy into cinemas in 1997, he infamously edited an early scene between Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and the alien Greedo in A New Hope. In the original, Greedo confronts Han to collect a debt for Jabba the Hut. When Greedo threatens Han that he’s going to kill him as a result of Han not being able to pay, Han beats him to the punch and shoots him down. In the Special Edition though, Lucas edited it so that Greedo shoots first (somehow missing a stationary Han at point-blank range) and Han’s shot is retaliatory.
Fans widely hated the edit as they felt it changed this earlier version of Han from the scoundrel smuggler who would do whatever it takes to a much softer heroic character who only killed in self-defence. Lucas tried to defend his choice several times over the years, and with the 2004 DVD release of the trilogy, he changed it again. This time around, an additional wide shot was added that now made it look like Han just barely fired ahead of Greedo. With blaster fire, lots of smoke, and choppy editing though, the added scene actually just makes it harder to make out what’s going on.
Well, get ready for even more confusion around this scene though now that Disney+ has launched. All Star Wars movies were added to Disney’s new streaming service yesterday, all remastered in 4K with Dolby Atmos sound – the very first time this premium format has been available for home consumption. But on top of these fantastic changes, the Han/Greedo scene had been edited as well… And it makes no damn sense!
Yes, Greedo now shots out the word “Maclunkey” before being shot (which, in case you haven’t noticed, has also been tweaked so that it looks like Han and Greedo shoot at the same time). So what the hell does it mean, why is it in here and who put it there? Well, the “what” and “who” can be answered. Kind of.
While, inconveniently, there are no subtitles for this word, as writer Bruan Young and CNET’s Sean Buckley point out, “Maclunkey” sounds a lot like something said in The Phantom Menace, which translates in Huttese (that’s the language of the Hutts) to “This’ll be the end of you”.
As for the who, it’s been revealed by Lucasfilm Story Group lead Pablo Hidalgo that George Lucas himself had made the edit. Before the filmmaker sold Lucasfilm to Disney back in 2012, he had been working on 4K and 3D remasters that were never released, but which have now been used Disney+ and that’s where this came from.
Firstly, I can’t believe that Hidalgo doesn’t have Disney+. What?! Secondly, just why Lucas decided this was necessary though… well, that’s a very silly mystery that I have no answer for. What I do know is that it’s already inspired some great jokes, and that may just have made this ridiculousness worth it.
And, of course, I had to add my own creation to this:
Last Updated: November 13, 2019