We didn’t see a whole lot of Greedo in the big-screen Star Wars movies. The Rodian bounty hunter only had a handful of minutes of screen time in the Mos Eisley cantina in Episode IV – A New Hope and it ended with his death. His death, of course, was a really controversial one, too. It may be the most hotly debated death in all of Star Wars, but more on that later.
Because of his short time on screen, there’s a lot most people don’t know about Han Solo’s fish-faced foe. However, there’s a bounty hunter’s bounty of interesting facts about him throughout Star Wars canon, the Legends continuity, and even off the screen. We’ve kept this to canon as much as possible, though, so assume that’s what we’re dealing with unless stated otherwise.
To paraphrase Greedo’s pathetic last words, we’ve been waiting for this for a long time: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Greedo.
15 HE WAS PLAYED BY TWO DIFFERENT ACTORS IN A NEW HOPE
It’s fairly common knowledge that Chewbacca was played by two different actors in The Force Awakens: an aging Peter Mayhew, who had played him in all his past appearances, and the much younger Joonas Suotamo. Mayhew’s age (he’s now 72) was the main reason for that, as he was unable to do much running around. But it’s surprising to learn that a relatively minor character, Greedo, was also played by two actors, despite his mere minutes of screen time in A New Hope.
It was partly Paul Blake in the green, fish-faced costume opposite Harrison Ford in the Mos Eisley cantina. But actress Maria De Aragon also put on the fish face in an uncredited appearance. Her fish face was even fishier, though, because she wore a special articulated mask with greater movement. Her performance was specifically used for close-ups. Most interestingly, she claims George Lucas saved her life when the mask was making it difficult to breathe.
It’s Blake who gets the glory, though, being the most closely associated with the character. He told The Big Issue magazine that he believes his tombstone will read, “Here lies Greedo – did he shoot first?”
14 HE SHARES A VOICE WITH SPONGEBOB
There was actually a third actor involved with Greedo in A New Hope. Much like David Prowse was in the Darth Vader suit but James Earl Jones did the voice, with Greedo it was Blake and De Aragon in the suit but Larry Ward voiced Greedo. Interestingly, Ward has a mere two acting credits to his name: doing Greedo’s voice and then, seven years later, bringing Jabba the Hutt’s voice to life. Clearly he had a specific niche for bizarre alien languages.
Speaking of bizarre, that’s a nice segue into the wonderfully weird SpongeBob SquarePants. Actor and comedian Tom Kenny created one of the most iconic cartoon voices of all time when he first voiced the yellow, absorbent, and porous sponge back in 1999. Kenny is a highly sought-after voice actor, doing voices in everything from Adventure Time (Ice King and others) to Ultimate Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus) to The Super Hero Squad Show (Iron Man). Then there are the handful of characters he voiced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, including Nute Gunray, Lt. Tan Divo and, of course, our pal Greedo.
13 HIS LANGUAGE IS NOT ACTUALLY ALIEN
Back to Larry Ward and the strange alien voice used as Greedo in A New Hope. The thing is, it wasn’t really an alien language he was speaking. They actually used a native South American language called Quechua. It’s a language spoken by the Quechua peoples, who primarily live in the Andes and other mountainous areas of South America. Though it was the main language of the Inca Empire some 500 years ago, it’s still spoken by an estimated 8-10 million people.
It’s even considered an official language in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The strange thing is, Greedo is not exactly fluent in Quechua. What he says in the movie is little more than a bunch of random words in the language strung together, translating to things like “messy eyelashes.” Incidentally, another George Lucas production, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, also used the Quechuan language. Even Jabba the Hutt speaks Quechuan words.
12 HE’S FROM RODIA
The language Quechua is masquerading as in Star Wars is Rodian, since Greedo is a native of the planet Rodia. Rodia is a swampy planet located in the remote part of the Star Wars galaxy known as the Outer Rim, a region also known for well-known planets like Tatooine, Naboo, Mustafar, and Kamino. Because Rodia is so swampy, they have to build cities within domes. Its swampiness is also likely the reason for its inhabitants’ fishy appearance.
Though he was born on Rodia, Greedo spent much of his childhood on fellow Outer Rim world Tatooine, running in the same circles as a young Anakin Skywalker and another Rodian named Wald. In the old Legends continuity, he and his family, which included a little brother named Pqweeduk, moved to Tatooine together. Later, after the Clone Wars, he would move to a planet called Nar Shaddaa, where he got into the bounty hunter game full-time.
We actually see a few other Rodians in the movies, including in Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi and in A New Hope on Tatooine, when Han is talking to Jabba.
11 JABBA THE HUTT WAS HIS BOSS
It was on Tatooine that Greedo began to mix with some bad dudes. Yes, we know he was around Anakin Skywalker, who became a particularly bad dude, but we’re talking specifically about notorious crime lord Jabba the Hutt. Greedo, as we know, was a bounty hunter, and by their nature bounty hunters have many bosses – they’ll go wherever the money is. He got a lot of work, though, from Jabba.
Greedo's most famous job for the Hutt was, of course, one that proved fatal for him; tracking down Han Solo, who was wanted for his failure to deliver some important cargo to Jabba. As Greedo said to Solo, “Jabba's put a price on your head so large every bounty hunter in the galaxy will be looking for you.” It was a big job for the pucker-lipped bounty hunter, but he was clearly not remotely up to the task, as overconfident as he may have been.
10 HE KIDNAPPED CHAIRMAN PAPANOIDA’S DAUGHTERS
One of Greedo’s earliest bounty hunting jobs was not for Jabba, but for the Separatists. They hired him to find Pantoran Chairman Papanoida’s daughters, Che Anamwe and Chi Eekway, and kidnap them as leverage to get Pantora to join their side. First of all, who are these people? The Chairman and Chi first appeared in Revenge of the Sith, in non-speaking roles at the opera house, played by none other than George Lucas and his daughter Katie. Papanoida was the chairman of the planet Pantora.
In the Clone Wars episode “Sphere of Influence,” Greedo, along with a Gotal bounty hunter, was originally successful in capturing the girls and put them in separate locations. During the abduction, Che had hit Greedo in the head with an idol, which became smeared with his blood. Papanoida was able to identify Greedo thanks to the blood sample and tracked him down at Jabba’s palace.
Everything fell apart for Greedo from there. He spilled the beans on Chi’s location, then ran away during a gunfight. Finally, Che was rescued by Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano and Senator Riyo Chuchi.
9 HAN SHOT AT GREEDO FIRST...
By now, the issue of who shot first in the Mos Eisley cantina has become the stuff of legend. But it also remains the stuff of controversy. In the original theatrical version of Star Wars, as Episode IV – A New Hope, it was originally, simply, known: there’s absolutely no question that Han Solo fired at and killed Greedo, who never shot at all. Some would argue Han’s shot was unprovoked, but Greedo did imply he wanted to kill Han when Han said, “Over my dead body,” and Greedo replied, “That’s the idea.” Still, the way the scene was edited, it seemed Han was fully prepared to end Greedo during that confrontation.
Twice during the scene, we’re shown a close up of Han’s hand preparing his blaster to fire. All the while, Han is distracting the Rodian with his other hand, picking at something on the wall and acting calm. We weren’t shown the blast from Han’s gun, but we do hear only one blaster being fired, followed by an explosion and then we see Greedo fall. But with the 1997 Special Edition, Lucas said that original scene had confused us into thinking Han was a cold-blooded killer, so…
8 ... NO, GREEDO SHOT FIRST (OR DID HE?)
Indeed, Lucas re-cut the the scene between Greedo and Han to show that the bounty hunter shot first, from close range, missed terribly, and mere milliseconds after Greedo had pulled the trigger, Han shot accurately, in self-defense, and sent the Rodian to his maker. This, Lucas insists, is what actually happened and it proves that Han was not a cold-blooded killer.
So that’s the version that is now canon: Greedo shot first. Or is it?
Yes, there’s even some controversy when it comes to canonical stories about who shot first. In the 2015 young adult novel that retells the story of A New Hope, called Star Wars: A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy, Greedo does not fire his blaster at all in his confrontation with Han. It seems a strange omission, given the controversy over the Special Edition change, but the Star Wars story group has gone on record saying if there’s a difference between a movie and a book, go with the movie. So there you have it: Greedo shot first… by a millisecond.
7 HE WAS WARNED HE’D GET SHOT
Regardless of whether or not Greedo provoked Han’s shot, he did get a warning. It may not have been an immediate warning, as it happened decades before the shooting, but it was a warning nonetheless. If you go back to the deleted scenes from The Phantom Menace, a young Greedo appears at the Boonta Eve Classic podrace on Tatooine.
In the scene, young Anakin and Greedo are rolling around on the ground, in the middle of a fight. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin comes along to break it up and asks what’s going on. It turns out Greedo had accused Anakin of cheating and the future Darth Vader didn’t take too kindly to the accusation. Qui-Gon uses his Jedi teachings to tell Anakin that he just has to tolerate Greedo’s opinion. Greedo’s fellow Rodian friend Wald, however, has different advice for Greedo: “If you keep getting into fights, you will end up shot.”
6 HE’S MADE 10 APPEARANCES IN CANON
The casual Star Wars fan would likely assume Greedo only appeared once, in that brief scene in the Mos Eisley cantina. Others may have seen the Phantom Menace deleted scene and the Clone Wars episode. But Greedo has actually made seven other canon appearances and mentions on top of those.
He shows up in the mobile games Star Wars: Galactic Defense and Star Wars: Heroes Path. Almost a year ago he was added to the popular video game Star Wars Battlefront in the Outer Rim expansion pack.
In comics, you’ll find him in Marvel’s Star Wars #28, released just this year, plus a mention of him in #4, and he’s in last year’s Star Wars: The Original Trilogy: A Graphic Novel.
Finally, in novels, he was of course in the aforementioned The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy young adult novel, and he also got a mention in the junior novel Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure.
5 COSTUME CONTINUITY ERRORS
Greedo wears a green suit with an orange vest, right? Well, sometimes. The fact is, there appear to be some continuity errors in his costume during the cantina scene. Either that or Greedo ducks into the bathroom for a quick change of clothes before he meets Han. We see Greedo a number of times during that scene.
When we first see him, he’s in the foreground of a montage, wearing a suit that’s very similar to the one we see later, but the sleeves appear to be off-white/yellowish, rather than light green. But the biggest difference is that he’s not wearing a vest at all. Are we to believe Greedo wanted to put on his Sunday best before confronting his target?
Then there’s the matter of his hands. When the two first meet, Greedo’s fingers are long and thin, with suction cups on the ends, which must be tough to get around the trigger of a blaster. But in close-ups, when they’re sitting, his fingers appear thicker and shorter.
4 HIS FATHER WAS A BOUNTY HUNTER, TOO
Bounty hunting seems to be a family affair in the Star Wars galaxy. We know that Boba Fett’s father, Jango, was also a famous bounty hunter. As it turns out, according to the Legends continuity, Greedo’s dad was a very rich and successful bounty hunter also named Greedo, often referred to as Greedo the Elder. Boba and Jango have another thing in common: both of their fathers were killed when they were young boys, though Greedo was so young he didn’t remember it.
Greedo the Elder’s murderer was his arch rival Navik the Red. After the murder, Greedo fled Rodia with his mother, who was pregnant with his little brother Pqweeduk, but Navik chased them and their clan around the galaxy. The younger Greedo proved that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree by not only wanting to become a bounty hunter in his father’s footsteps, but also by being killed at a relatively young age.
3 HE WAS TRICKED INTO MEETING HAN SOLO AT THE CANTINA
In the Legends continuity, Greedo had a friend and mentor in another bounty hunter named Spurch “Warhog” Goa. Goa and his partner were being attacked by a fearsome cyborg bounty hunter called Gorm when Greedo saved them, against all odds. In an underhanded move that showed his true nature, Goa rewarded Greedo with a share of a bounty, but Greedo later found out that Goa had paid him less than promised. So there was a strained relationship from the beginning, despite Goa showing Greedo the ways of bounty hunting.
Not surprisingly, given his history, Goa proved himself to be loyal only to money. Friendship ultimately meant nothing. Remember Navik the Red, who had killed Greedo the Elder? He had hired two Rodians to assassinate Greedo at the Mos Eisley cantina, but they didn’t want blood on their hands, so they paid Goa to trick Greedo into his fatal meeting with Han Solo.
2 HE WASN’T THE SHARPEST TOOL IN THE SHED
Clearly, based on Goa tricking him into meeting Han, Greedo was not exactly a Mensa member. He tended to be naive and easily fooled, never really being considered an elite bounty hunter like his father had been. He also had a reputation for being angry. Frankly, we can’t fault him for a lot of this. After all, in the Legends continuity, his life was turned upside down at a very young age thanks to the murder of his father and his family having to run from planet to planet to escape his father’s murderer, Navik the Red.
Nevertheless, he picked pointless fights with people like young Anakin Skywalker, resorted to petty crimes, and was prone to cowardice and bungling his bounty hunting missions, as was the case with Papanoida and his daughters.
Then there was that fatal encounter with Han Solo. If Greedo really intended to kill Han, as he was implying, why didn’t he just do it? Instead he just kept blabbing away, giving Han ample time to pull the trigger himself. In fact, for most of his career he was considered a “wannabe” bounty hunter more than an actual trusted hunter of bounty.
1 HE HAD AN EARLIER ENCOUNTER WITH HAN SOLO
In Legends, back when Greedo was cheated out of part of his reward for saving his mentor Goa’s life, he had wanted to buy a ship for himself. Thanks to Goa, he was forced to buy a lesser ship that needed repairs and called it the Manka Hunter. Needing some power couplings, Greedo stumbled upon a big Corellian freighter and yanked a couple of couplings out of it, stealing them to install on the Manka Hunter. You can see where this is going: that Corellian freighter turned out to be Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon.
Based on what you know of Greedo by now, you can probably guess that he didn’t get away with it. Han and Chewbacca tracked him down and taught him a lesson by tricking him into an unfair trade. Han coveted Greedo’s cool rancor-skin jacket, so he said he’d let bygones be bygones if Greedo gave him the good couplers back, then exchange the jacket for a couple of lesser couplers. Little did Greedo know, the couplers were burned out and no longer useful. In the end, Greedo never even got the Manka Hunter off the ground.
Do you have any other intriguing facts about Greedo up your sleeve? Let us know in the comments!