The original actor who portrayed a human Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars has been made canon. Jabba’s forgotten counterpart first appeared in a deleted scene from A New Hope, but several decades later, he has returned.
For many years, the existence of a human version of Jabba the Hutt was a relatively deep cut, as the original iteration of Star Wars has been famously lost with time. When the saga was rereleased, George Lucas reincorporated the deleted scene featuring actor Declan Mulholland in the role of the gangster. At the time, Lucas hadn’t conceptualized the large slug that fans know today. Since the scene was reincorporated into the film, the crime boss was covered by a CG version of Jabba from Return of the Jedi. Despite being omitted multiple times from the original Star Wars, Mulholland’s part in the saga has been given a nod in Star Wars #16 written by Charles Soule with art by Ramon Rosanas.
The human version of Jabba the Hutt has a cameo aboard a gang ship that’s been invited by Crimson Dawn to the auction of Han Solo. While Luke Skywalker is chased by TIE Fighters in his X-Wing, he flies past the ship belonging to the familiar faced gangster. Leading a group known as the Dark Syndicate, the man who resembles the first iteration of Jabba seems to be a crime lord in his second life as well. He appears to dislike the Empire just as much as the rebels, but doesn’t want to exert the energy to fight back. When Luke leads the TIE Fighters to crash into the Dark Syndicate’s vessel, he seems satisfied enough to play a part in their loss. “Well waddaya know? A few Imperial shots happened to hit our hull. Good enough for me. End these blasted buckethead imps.”
Not many characters in the Star Wars galaxy make a fur vest work like the human Hutt. Although he isn’t named, an alternate version of Declan Mulholland’s take on the gangster has been renamed before in an audio play adaptation of A New Hope. Dialogue which previously belonged to Jabba the Hutt was ascribed to a character called “Heater,” as he confronted Han at the spaceport. If he were to show up again in a partnership with Crimson Dawn, it would be an additionally fun nod for the name to resurface.
As the War of the Bounty Hunters continues, it’s perfect timing for Mulholland’s likeness to be incorporated into the event. The Empire, the rebels, Crimson Dawn, the Hutts, and a wide selection of bounty hunters are chasing after the carbonite encased body of Han Solo. Although the footage of Mulholland’s Jabba the Hutt was never used in the original cut of Star Wars, it makes sense that the man who first chased down the smuggler would join the search for Han.