Everybody knows how a Star Wars movie starts. The words “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….” appear on a silent screen, before transitioning into a title flying through space with the iconic score playing in the background. Then three paragraphs of text follow the title setting the stage for the movie that’s about to take place.
The opening crawl, was an idea that was taken from the old serials that inspired Star Wars, and were usually a way to help recap the events of the previous chapters for audience members who didn’t remember, or had missed a chapter here or there. However, the image has become so associated with Star Wars, that it’s one of the identifying markers of the opening of a Star Wars movie. Except that isn’t as true as it once was.
When Disney took over Star Wars back in 2012, one of the changes that they made was to how the movies opened. While the three movies that made up the sequel trilogy still all had opening crawls, the spinoff films transitioned from the “A long time ago…” screen straight into the movie. At the time it was explained as a way to differentiate the main “Skywalker Saga” movies from the spinoffs, but now it looks like plans might be changing.
With the massive announcement that Daisy Ridley would be returning to play Rey in a new, upcoming Star Wars movie, producer Kathleen Kennedy was asked about the possibility of Rey’s upcoming movie having an opening crawl since by the end of The Rise of Skywalker, she could be considered to be the next part of the Skywalker Saga. Kennedy confirmed that “The crawl is coming back,” in an article from Entertainment Weekly. However, perhaps even more exciting was that when asked to confirm if she was talking about the Rey movie specifically, or all three movies that were announced at Celebration, Kennedy expanded her answer by saying, “The crawl is for movies,”
So, while it seems like any television show will continue to operate without an opening craw, as has been the case since Disney+ began, the plan right now is for all theatrical movies to once again start with an opening title crawl.
While this will make Rogue One and Solo odd outliers in the Star Wars movie line if it ends up being true, the return of the crawl is likely a very good thing for the future of Star Wars. Just as an example, the three movies announced this year at Celebration all take place in wildly different eras, with one taking place after The Rise of Skywalker, one taking place between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and one taking place centuries before any of the other movies. While a Star Wars fan will know exactly what they’re getting into when going to a Star Wars movie, casual audience members might not be as aware of when any given movie will take place on the ever expanding Star Wars timeline. An opening crawl will help get audiences caught up with exactly what they need to know before each movie, just like the original openings of the serials did way back in the day.