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The Mandalorian Chapter 21 Doesn't Let The 'Who Shot First?' Discourse Rest

If you think the, shall we say, discussions about the resurrection of Emperor Palpatine or whether Rian Johnson made a good "Star Wars" film were annoying, you should have been around for the dark times when everyone argued if Harrison Ford shot an alien first or not. We're referring, of course, to the iconic shootout between smooth-operating smuggler Han Solo and fly-eyed Jabba goon Greedo in "Star Wars: A New Hope." The encounter changed from Han shooting first, to Greedo — even though fans still only acknowledge the original as the definitive take. It's a franchise staple, but the unwanted kind gets stuck under your nail. Nevertheless, it hasn't stopped show co-creator, Jon Favreau, from throwing a subtle nod to the debate by way of Greef Karga (Carl Weathers).

In "Chapter 21: The Pirate" of "The Mandalorian," the High Magistrate of Navarro had a few words to say that, while not related to the iconic and repeatedly altered moment in question, was a definite wink to the audience. During his heated conversation with Pirate king Gorian Shard (Nonso Anozie, who looks considerably different out of costume), the villain accuses Karga of gunning down his men in cold blood when they caused a stir in this season's first episode. Karga sets the record straight without missing a beat, saying, "he shot first," thus sparking "Star Wars" fans the world over with flashbacks of angry message boards and aging T-shirts touting the tagline "Han shot first."

The Mandalorian never misses a chance to provide a blast from the past

While it's not quite a deep cut, it's good that the clear homage to the original trilogy doesn't feel shoehorned and is, instead, a natural bit of conversation from Karga to Shard. That's certainly more that can be said for the original sequence in question that has a timeline of its own. In the 1977 release, Han did indeed shoot first before some tinkering by director George Lucas in the Special Edition version released in 1997 for the film's 20th anniversary. That version with a dodgy-looking Jabba and some added aliens saw Greedo getting off a shot before our hero gunned him down. Gradually, over time, insult was added to injury on the Disney+ version with Greedo shouting out "maclunkey," which pretty much summed up the digital paint job as a whole.

Admittedly, while fans might've moved on from such issues, discourse rages on for more recent stuff fans just can't shake. Who knows, though? Maybe in a few decades, when we're on the third season of "Grogu the Bounty Hunter" and a deepfake Pedro Pascal makes a cameo, we'll be able to handle seeing a porg skewered by a lightsaber or a character that didn't realize stormtroopers have been using jetpacks for years. Hey, we can all hope, right?