Yes, it’s true. The Han shot first scene has been altered. Again. And this time, it’s kind of hilarious.
The Han and Greedo cantina scene is, famously, the most fluid in Star Wars history. As we all know, in the original theatrical cut, Han shot first. Then in the 1997 Special Editions, Greedo shot first, sparking one of the most furious debates in the entire franchise. Years later, in new DVD releases, the scene was changed again, with the blaster shots coming almost simultaneously and Han’s head being digitally altered as if to dodge away from Greedo’s shot. And now, as if it’s become a joke, the version that lives on Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+, has yet another change. And you have to see it to believe it.
Yes, Greedo screams something in Rodese—the Rodian language, which itself has similarities to the Huttese spoken by Jabba and other alien characters in the trilogy—that sounds like “Makunke!” or “Maclunky!” before shooting now, as if to warn Han what’s about to come. No one ever talked after Han said, “I bet you have” before.
The question you’re asking is “Why?” And we don’t know. What we do know is “How.” According to Vanity Fair, and confirmed by io9 via Lucasfilm, George Lucas himself made this change “at least seven years ago” before Disney acquired the company. In that timeframe, we believe that change was made when the director converted the film to 4K for a planned 3D release which never happened. But, the 4K version remained, with this change, and now that’s the one on Disney+.
Since this was a Lucas change, odds are we’ll never know exactly why he did it. And we’re still waiting to get an official spelling on the word Greedo says. We’ll update the post if that happens.
Even so, the one thing we can say for certain is, the scene now makes even less sense. Let’s say Greedo screams “Makunke” or whatever it is to psych himself up to shoot Han. Almost like a war cry or an insult. All that does is warn Han of what’s to come, giving him time to shoot. But then, they end up shooting at the same time anyway. So it’s like “Makunke!” and Han shoots Greedo because he’s been warned, and Greedo shoots Han with almost zero time in-between. You’d assume Han could get a shot off faster with the whole “Makunke” thing but Greedo barely takes a beat after speaking. However, in a way, it does tie further into the retroactive canonization that Greedo has just always been kind of really bad at his choice of career.
We could go on and on talking about this. It’s just so, so weird. If anything, it makes the once-great scene that became a joke, now an actually funny joke. And I’m first in line for any and all “Makunke” merchandise, that’s for damn sure.
Star Wars: A New Hope, complete with new Han and Greedo scene, is on Disney+.
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