By this point, longtime Star Wars fans are accustomed to changes being made to A New Hope. However, the latest -- debuting with the launch of the Disney+ streaming service -- is perhaps the most perplexing yet. The iconic cantina showdown between Han Solo and Greedo, the subject of repeated alterations over the years, has been edited once more. The bounty hunter still shoots first, but the deadly standoff is punctuated by Greedo's baffling declaration of "maclunkey!"
It's a bizarre scenario that's left the franchise faithful speculating what "maclunkey" may mean and, just as importantly, who's behind the change. We can't blame George Lucas this time -- or can we?
The isn't the first time the word has been used in a Star Wars film: Writer, director and all-around Star Wars fan Bryan Young pointed out that Podracer pilot Sebulba actually uttered "maclunkey" -- presumably a Huttese term -- in The Phantom Menace. He also speculated that it translates roughly as, "This will be the end of you!" That certainly works in the context of the catina shootout, even if Greedo turned out to be wrong.
Also, the word Maclunkey (or however you spell it) was used by Sebulba. My Huttese is a bit rusty, but, roughly translated, it means "This'll be the end of you" pic.twitter.com/wkktkZJXGW— Bryan Young (@swankmotron) November 12, 2019
That's one mystery more or less solved. But what about the other?
It turns out Lucas is responsible for the latest tweak. Lucasfilm confirmed to Vanity Fair that the Star Wars creator made the change before he sold the company to Disney in 2012 for $2.2 billion in cash and $1.855 billion in stock.
Lucas' alterations to the original Star Wars films began with the change of its title to Episode IV – A New Hope, and then continued with the 1997 Special Edition, which, among other things ignited the "Han shot first" movement. In the original release, Han ends the confrontation with Greedo by shooting under the table and killing the bounty hunter. But Lucas edited that exchange for the Special Edition so that Greedo shoots and misses before being killed by the smuggler. It was changed again for the 2004 DVD release so that the two fire simultaneously.
Contrary to the insistence of countless Star Wars fans, Lucas was adamant in 2012 that Han never shot first.
"The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t," he said. "It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down."
That assertion may have been some Grade-A Jedi trolling on the filmmaker's part. However, what's clear is that, even seven years after selling Lucasfilm, George Lucas has ensure he gets the last shot, and the final word on the scene: maclunkey.