One thing even Disney didn’t expect in the wake of its Disney+ streaming service launch is that so much of the conversation that has arisen about it has all come back to one word from a restored piece of over 40 year old footage. That word, of course, is ‘Maclunkey’.
The word is uttered by the green Rodian bounty hunter Greedo just before he is shot and killed by Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the original 1977 “Star Wars”. The single shot of footage was added back into the famed scene which has undergone at least four re-edits since its release. Once people discovered it, the word quickly became a meme and the subject of various opinion pieces.
Empire decided to get the inside story on this by talking to someone who might know – Paul Blake. Blake was the original actor under the mask while Larry Ward provided the voice of Greedo. Blake was asked if he ever said the phrase before:
“No, it certainly wasn’t in the dialogue. I mean, Larry did the little bits and pieces later on, none of the voice stuff was done at Elstree. Some of my own words were used, I believe, which were scrambled electronically.
Greedo wasn’t even a Rodian when we filmed it, he was just called ‘The Alien’. George was forced to stick in that scene when he cut all the stuff with Declan [Mulholland], who played the original Jabba The Hutt.
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’.
He was also asked if he gets notified when there’s going to be a new version of the scene and explains how he heard about what happened this week:
“Mike Carter, who plays Bib Fortuna, the guy in Jabba’s palace with the strange long ears, he texted me and said, ‘MACLUNKEY!’ I said, ‘What the f–k are you talking about?’ He said, ‘New discovery! It could be as important as Howard Carter and the Tutankhamun tomb.’
I didn’t know what he was talking about for 10 minutes, until I had a look at the scene and thought, ‘Oh right, yeah.’ Disney or Lucasfilm, they’re the last people that ever inform us of anything really – unless it’s the lawyers, then we hear from them pretty quick.”
Blake has often faced the question of “Who shot first?” from fans. Asked if he’s ready for them coming up to him and saying ‘Maclunkey’, he says bring it on:
“I’m looking forward to that a great deal! I shall say it was Greedo’s last gasp. It’s a Rodian thing. Just before you expire, every Rodian says ‘Maclunkey’. It’s some ancient tradition…
I’ve never had a fan be aggressive about Greedo. They seem to like him for some reason, I don’t know why – he was the most inept assassin since the beginning of assassins. Talk about 43 Ronin, he would have been number 297 Ronin and wouldn’t have made it out of the gates of the school.”
As Disney+ doesn’t hit the UK until March, Blake was also asked if he was going to sign up to watch it? to which he says: “I’m not even signed up to the post office!”