Disney+ arrived with a bunch of surprises, including, in hilarious fashion, yet another change to the scene where Han once shot first in Star Wars: A New Hope as a parting gift from George Lucas. The Star Wars original trilogy has various versions, having gone through a couple of remasters that have added, tweaked, cut, or even replaced some details and characters, to the point where no version (except maybe the final theatrical version) is actually complete.
With Disney now in control of all Lucasfilm properties, Star Wars fans hoped there would be no more changes to the original trilogy, but then Disney+ arrived and proved that there’s still more than can be done to it. The Han/Greedo scene at the Mos Eisley cantina is one that hasn’t caught a break as each remaster has done something to it, and Disney+ is now the home to Lucas’ 4k version.
In 2010, George Lucas began working on a new version of the original trilogy intended to be released on DVD, but a few years later Disney acquired Lucasfilm and this 4k remaster was left behind. Disney+ picked it up and now fans can watch yet another version of Han killing Greedo. Here are the changes the Han/Greedo scene has gone through.
1997: Greedo Shoots First
In the 1977 version, a cloud of smoke allowed the scene to be left ambiguous, though it’s believed by many that Han indeed shot first – he looked too calm and Greedo too dead. But in 1997 Lucasfilm re-released the original trilogy for the 20th anniversary of A New Hope, and that’s where the era of never-ending changes began. The Han/Greedo scene was changed to have Greedo shooting first and missing, with Han’s head digitally altered to dodge the shot and then shooting back (either in self-defense or revenge). The infamous Greedo dummy can be seen more clearly than in the original version, and the scene was left with a yellowish tint
2004: Greedo Shoots First (Just)
The trilogy went through another remaster in 2004 for a DVD re-release, which removed some changes from the 1997 version and added others. Once again, the Han/Greedo scene was altered, with both shooting simultaneously... or that’s what it seems, as many fans argue that Greedo still managed to shoot first. Because of this, the 2004 version kept that weird, CGI dodge from Han, and the background in the Greedo dummy frame was darkened in an attempt to isolate the character (which only made it look more like a dummy). Among the many particularities of this version is that the whole movie is over-saturated, which gives it a magenta tint. George Lucas has said Han never shot first, even if the script says he did, and that the 2004 edition was the one that made the film the way he wanted it to be.
2011: Greedo & Han Shoot At The Same Time
Because “technology evolves”, it didn’t matter that the previous edition was the way Lucas wanted A New Hope to be because he changed the Han/Greedo scene again. Several frames were removed to give it a faster pace (the timing is almost the same as in the original cut) and they seem to shoot at the same time (and the dodge is still there). The appearance of Greedo dummy was also shortened but it’s still there, and the background was darkened even more and the lighting was changed – the dummy’s appearance is a blink and you’ll miss it one in this version. Color correction continued to be an issue in the 2011 edition, although it’s slightly less magenta than the previous one.
The 4k or Disney+ version arrived with yet another version of the Han/Greedo scene. This current edition has Han and Greedo shooting simultaneously for real this time, with Han still dodging the shot. Color correction was fixed, and they seem to have finally found a good balance. The “Greedo dummy” era is now over as it was removed and an explosion was added to cover the transition, cutting right to Greedo hitting the table. But the biggest change in this version is the addition of Greedo’s final word: “maclunkey”, right after Han says “I bet you have”. This caught the attention of fans as it’s the only part spoken by Greedo that has no subtitles, and because it ended up being an unnecessary detail. The same word was spoken by Sebulba in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, so it’s yet another subtle connection to the prequels, courtesy of George Lucas.