Disney+ has finally arrived, and the internet is abuzz about the debut episode of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s new Star Wars live-action series, The Mandalorian. The premiere yielded plenty of fodder for theories and speculation about what’s to come in the galaxy-hopping Western — and how it all might connect to the upcoming release of The Rise of Skywalker. But we’ve got one big question: did The Mandalorian just totally change the meaning of “echuta,” far and away the sauciest cuss-word in the Star Wars universe?
Here’s a little refresher on where you may have had a taste of this spicy meatball before. Shortly after the Millennium Falcon arrives at Bespin in Empire Strikes Back, C-3PO sets off exploring. While meandering through the halls of Cloud City, he encounters another protocol droid that looks just like him, only this doppelgänger’s painted a glossy silver. (This sassy fella is named E-3PO, apparently.) Their all-too-brief encounter culminates in this classic exchange:
In this scene, it’s very clear that “echuta” means something very rude, like “screw you” or “piss off.” It’s a brilliant made-up word, because the cadence of the nouns and verbs somehow just sounds obscene and crude. (Maybe it’s the hint of “eat” in there.) As a youngling with a worn-out VHS copy of Empire, I’d always assumed this other droid had basically lobbed an F-bomb at poor unsuspecting Threepio, and my fellow Inverse staffers confirmed as much.
In The Mandalorian, “echuta” is more of a brusque “hey,” a Noo Yawk “hey youse,” or a Wolverine-y “hey bub.” If you don’t have a Disney+ subscription yet, don’t worry, you can see the exchange in the latest preview. It’s right after the 20-second mark.
Here, “echuta” is used as a form of address or greeting, not as an expletive. The subtitles even translate “Echuta, Mando” as “Hey, Mando.” In context, that seems to be very much what’s going on here — he’s feigning politeness while making it obvious he’s a menacing dude who’s eager to fight. But according to Wookieepedia, “echuta” is a catch-all Huttese insult, so using the term this way doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Sure, C-3PO’s a bit anxious and sensitive, but surely he wouldn’t have had such a gobsmacked reaction if this was all “echuta” meant. After all, Threepio spent all of Empire escaping from Hoth and flying up a big space worm’s poopshoot while getting berated by Han and Leia. He has to deal with ill-mannered individuals all the time. Someone brushing past him and saying “hey” aggressively wouldn’t merit this kind of response. By this point in the movie, he’s put up with so much abuse that he probably wouldn’t even notice.
This isn’t the only example of the streaming service’s inclination to play Jedi mind tricks on old-fart Star Wars fans. The Disney+ version of A New Hope includes yet another revision of the Han and Greedo scene in the Mos Eisley cantina, which gives the bug-eyed troublemaker an entirely new line of dialogue. Han shot first, you cowards!
The Mandalorian is streaming now on Disney+.