Amidst all of the recent news surrounding Rogue One: A Star Wars Story there was one tidbit that caught my eye: Rogue One might not have an opening crawl. Here is what Lucasfilm President, Kathleen Kennedy had to say on the subject:
“We talk about that all the time. It’s something that we’re right in the midst of discussing even now, so I don’t want to say definitively what we’re doing. The crawl and some of those elements live so specifically within the ‘saga’ films that we are having a lot of discussion about what will define the [stand-alone] Star Wars Stories separate and apart from the saga films. So we’re right in the middle of talking about that.”
I agree, differentiating Rogue One from the other Star Wars movies is important, but removing the opening crawl doesn’t make Rogue One unique or special. It makes it like every other movie that isn’t a Star Wars movie, and that is definitely not what you want to go for with Star Wars. Even if removing the opening crawl was the key to defining a stand-alone film, Rogue One isn’t really keeping it’s distance from the saga films.
I hate to break it to you, but when you have the Rebel Alliance, the Empire, the Death Star ,and Darth Vader in your movie, you’re tying yourself to the greater saga.
The premise of the movie is so closely tied to Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, you could pretty much label it Episode 3.5 and no one would argue. Rogue One is practically the special edition to A New Hope that fans never got, but always wanted.
Imagine, if instead of giving us three versions of Han’s encounter with Greedo, George Lucas decided to make an extended edition that was all about the stuff that happened right before Darth Vader went chasing after Princess Leia. That’s what Rogue One is. When Rogue One is released to DVD, it will be impossible to watch it without watching A New Hope immediately afterwards.
If the goal was to separate Rogue One from the other films it is failing hard. That’s a good thing by the way. Not only does it tie into A New Hope, but it also bridges the gap between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and the Clone Wars series, and it does it brilliantly. Like it or not, Rogue One is deeply rooted to the lore of Star Wars, and foregoing the opening crawl because Rogue One is its own separate story is a tough sell, and one that I’m not buying.
Beyond that reason, Rogue One needs an opening crawl because the opening crawl is an inherent part of the Star Wars storytelling experience. George Lucas didn’t invent the opening crawl, but he adopted it to Star Wars and it is a hallmark of the franchise. It is more than just something used to begin every Star Wars movie. It can be found in many art forms including novels, comic books, and video games. The opening crawl is woven into the very fabric of Star Wars and omitting it is a huge mistake.
Rogue One looks very promising, and fans are starting to get excited for it. By not giving it an opening crawl, it gives the impression that it’s not worthy of being a Star Wars film. It’s as if Adele were performing a concert and decided not to sing her hit song “Someone Like You” because she was performing in Cleveland and not a big venue like New York or London. Sorry Cleveland, you’re just not worthy.
When I’m at home watching a Star Wars movie there are parts that I like to skip over. The Han and Greedo special edition scenes, Luke and Leia kissing, anything with Ewoks, and all of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. The one thing I never skip in any of the films is the opening crawl.
Going to a Star Wars movie is an exciting event and one of life’s great escapes. There is a ritual that has started each film thus far, and it needs to continue with Rogue One.
The previews end, the lights dim, and the theater quiets. The Lucasfilm logo appears on the screen, and as it fades away and you see those famous words.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”
A brief pause as the adrenaline kicks in a little higher, and then all of sudden the silence is broken as the Star Wars main title begins to play, and the opening crawl scrolls into view.
“It is a period of civil war.”
“It is a dark time for the Rebellion.”
“Luke Skywalker has vanished.”
As those words scroll by, the world around you vanishes, and the one thing you know for certain, is that for the next two hours you’re experiencing something truly unique. You’re watching a Star Wars movie.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!