Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A Shot At Greedo

Aside from Jedi Knights, Sith Lords & Droids, Star Wars if pretty much known for all the unique and mostly interesting looking alien characters that populate the universe. One of the first significant aliens we meet in a New Hope is a certain amphibious green skinned individual with a smooth melodic voice whose most unfortunate claim to fame is that he basically got himself killed.

While his actual screen time in A New Hope amounts to barely a minute, like most characters in the Star Wars universe, the bounty hunter Greedo has a fairly detailed backstory that can be found online in the officially recognized Star Wars Wiki, the Wookieepedia.

Greedo belongs to the alien race called the Rodians from the planet...Rodia. At a young age he relocated to the desert planet of Tatooine which honestly isn’t the smartest choice for an amphibious being. Even as a young Rodian, Greedo was a troublemaker and as he grew up he eventually became a bounty hunter under the employ of Jabba the Hutt. And it was working for Jabba that ultimately got him killed when he attempted to blackmail the smuggler Han Solo at the Mos Eisley Cantina.

Now Greedo’s death is one of the most popular if not controversial debate topics in the Star Wars fandom. While I’m sure every Star Wars fans is aware of the details behind the debate, for the benefit of those not familiar, here it is in a nutshell:

In the original movie, Greedo corners Han in his table booth with a gun aimed point blank at his head. While Han Attempts to talk his way out of the situation, he secretly unholsters his gun underneath the table and without warning blast Greedo instantly killing him. 20 years later, in the re-released version of A New Hope, with the intention of making Solo look more like a heroic figure and less cold blooded killer, George Lucas re-edited the scene, and made Greedo fire the first shot (missing Han of course) and Han responding by blasting Greedo back, making Han’s shot more an act of self defense on his part.

This change didn’t sit well with a majority of the fans who preferred their smuggler to be of the more cold blooded type. And despite Lucas insisting that the new edit is canon, many fans including myself refuse to accept that.

Writing about who shot first is something that has been done and argued over and over again over time and I’d rather not get into that. What I’d rather do is write about some interesting (at least to me) facts about this unfortunate bounty hunter and his connections to certain other characters in the Star Wars universe.

Let's start with one of my favorites. At a young age in Tatooine, Greedo actually had a run in with a young Anakin Skywalker. In fact, in a deleted scene from the Phantom Menace he gets involved in a fistfight with Anakin (ok he actually gets beaten up) after he accuses him of cheating in order to win the podrace. It’s definitely not a very impressive debut for the guy but at least he can claim that he actually fought with the future Sith Lord and lived to tell about it.

Later in life during the Clone Wars, he worked as a mercenary and was hired by the Trade Federation to kidnap the daughters of Chairman Papanoida in an attempt coerce him into joining the Separatists. Chairman Papanoida is famously known by fans for being played by none other than George Lucas himself as a cameo in the Revenge of the Sith.

Greedo also has a cousin named Beedo (no really) who is also a bounty hunter and who also worked for Jabba the Hutt. So in case you’re wondering why Greedo seemingly reappears in the background of Jabba’s’s not him, it’s his cousin.

And speaking of Jabba, while working for the Hutt, Greedo still found ways to get into trouble as he would bring in small time criminals, collect his reward and then secretly help them escape so he could catch them again and recollect his bounty. He was eventually ratted out to Jabba by another alien named Figrin D'an who was the leader of the band the Modal Nodes whom Greedo had prior beef with. And in case you were wondering, the Modal Nodes were the group of bulbous headed aliens playing that now iconic music at the Mos Eisley cantina.

While confronting Han by himself turned out to be not quite a smart decision, apparently that wasn’t the original plan. He was actually accompanied into the Cantina by two other individuals, Doctor Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba as hired muscle. But before they could move in on Han, the two thugs decided to hassle a certain farm boy who was hanging at the bar. Unfortunately for them, said farm boy was also accompanied by a certain Jedi and the dynamic duo ended up being maimed by a lightsaber, leaving Greedo on his own.

Finally, while this part isn’t really official canon, it is believed that after his smoking corpse was left by Han at the cantina, the bartender named Wuher recovered it and ground it up into a powerful liqueur which he deemed fit for a Hutt. The only part he left intact was Greedo’s head which he impaled on a spike ( wasn’t very fond of Greedo when he was alive). Eventually, his head was recovered by one of his associates (Beedo maybe?) and given a proper funeral attended by other bounty hunters.

Greedo is certainly not one of the first names that comes to mind when you think of iconic Star Wars characters or even bounty hunters. Which is why it was kind of a head scratcher at least for me when he was included in wave two of Hasbro’s then brand new 6” action figure Black Series line way back in 2013. Naturally he was mostly ignored by most collectors and toy shelves were bleeding green chock full of unwanted Greedo figures. I even remember seeing him selling at half price in Toys R’ Us years ago and even that wasn’t enough to convince me to buy him.

Fast forward to today and Greedo is one of the more harder to find Black Series characters. I don’t know if Hasbro decided to bury all those unwanted Greedos in a landfill or an Rodian spaceship brought them all back to Rodia, but a Greedo in the second market today can fetch quite a high price. While it was never really a priority, I had always been on the lookout for an opportunity to fill out the Greedo gap in my collection for a decent price. And lucky for me, that opportunity finally came when I was able to buy a loose one off a fellow collector who had decided to move on from collecting Star Wars.

With his big round beady eyes, fishy snout, big ears and odd looking round horns(?) Greedo hardly looks the part of a fearful bounty hunter. In fact if we follow Lucas’ explanation of Greedo actually shooting first, that fact that he missed Han’s head at point blank range makes him probably the worst shooter in the galaxy. Yet despite all this, no one can take away from him the fact that he will always be one half of one of the most memorable, iconic and debated scenes from the original Star Wars Trilogy.