Few moments in the Star Wars canon have come to stand in more firmly for George Lucas’, uh, quirks as a storyteller than the death of Rodian thug Greedo at the hands of lovable rogue (and possible self-defense advocate) Han Solo. Pretty much every version of Star Wars: A New Hope that Lucas has released over the last 20-odd years has featured some tweak to this much-raged-upon moment, from the original Special Edition alteration that saw Han no longer shoot first, all the way up to this week’s release of Disney+, which added some unsubtitled dialogue to Greedo’s final, depressing-on-many-level moments. (It also uses the same outcome as the 2011 Blu-Ray version of the scene, in which Han and Greedo shoot at the same time, for those of you unable to keep yourselves from keeping track.)
Normally, the reaction to each inevitable alteration to this 20-second clip of film by a man who could be doing pretty much literally anything else with his life has been a kind of perplexed annoyance, a half-amused realization that Lucas continued to think he could “perfect” Star Wars right up until the moment he sold it off to Disney. (The company has confirmed that the version on Disney+ is the last version of A New Hope Lucas had finalized before the sale, and was originally intended for a shelved 4k release.) But there’s something different about this version, and that difference is: “Maclunkey!” We’ve already reported on some of the bemused reactions this bold new contribution to the Star Wars meme pile has received on Twitter, but Empire magazine took it further, interviewing Greedo actor Paul Blake himself about this latest twist in his character’s surprisingly circuitous fate.
Now, there’s an important caveat here: Although Blake was the guy in the Greedo suit, he didn’t voice the character; that was done by the late Larry Ward, who also voiced Jabba The Hutt, and co-wrote the Huttese language. (There have, in fact, been some arguments online that Greedo is saying the Huttese equivalent of “This’ll be the end of you.”) That being said, Blake does have an original A New Hope script still sitting around somewhere, and was obviously on the set with Lucas when he was shooting the scene, and he’s pretty clear about it all being completely “Maclunkey”-free.
My little bit in English was just a simple, straightforward cowboy scene. “Going somewhere? Give me the money. If you don’t give me the money, I’ll shoot you. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.” That’s about it, as far as I can remember. I certainly don’t remember the word “Maclunkey.” Are you sure that’s not the noise he made when his very brittle green head hit the table? Or he was saying ‘ouch’ in Rodian just before he fired?
For what it’s worth, the septuagenarian Blake seems deeply amused by the whole thing (and the complicated legacy of Greedo in general), joking that he’ll be adding “Maclunkey” to his Christmas cards this year, and riffing on possible explanations for its origins. (Also, apparently all the old Star Wars bit-part guys still text each other; Mike “Bib Fortuna” Carter was apparently the guy who notified Blake about this latest change.) Meanwhile, diehard Star Wars fans now officially have a new edit to tear each other apart over—an early Christmas gift in and of itself—while the rest of us were swiftly handed an even more dramatic and mysterious version of the scene to obsess over, too: