The most surprising part of Ahsoka happened in the first thirty seconds

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in Lucasfilm's STAR WARS: AHSOKA, exclusively on Disney+. ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

The first two episodes of Ahsoka were jam-packed with something for all Star Wars fans to eagerly analyze, from references to previous Star Wars shows like Star Wars Rebels to nods about where the story might be headed. There is plenty to get excited about during these first two episodes, but the most surprising thing of all may have been at the very beginning of the first episode.

The first episode of Ahsoka opens on a starfield background, with floating paragraphs to help establish the show’s setting. That’s right, Ahsoka has an opening crawl, something that was, at one point, a staple of all Star Wars stories.

To be clear, this opening crawl is very different from the ones we’re more familiar with. There’s no bombastic John Williams score, and the words travel directly upward instead of flying off into the distance of space. Perhaps most jarringly, the words are red like The Clone Wars title screens during season seven’s Siege of Mandalore arc instead of the more familiar yellow of other opening crawls.

But there’s no mistaking it, this is still a Star Wars opening crawl. The structure of the paragraphs, the setting of the story, the all-caps presentation of the named characters in the text, and the four ellipses at the end of the final paragraph, all point to the fact that this is intentionally bringing back something that has been missing from Star Wars for quite a while.

Ever since Disney took over the production of Star Wars, it has seemed like the opening crawl was something they wanted to get away from. While the three movies from the sequel trilogy all had opening crawls, it seemed like this was almost out of obligation more than anything else. The movies that weren’t part of the Skywalker Saga didn’t have opening crawls, and up until now, there haven’t been any for the Disney+ shows that have come out.

It was announced that the opening crawl would return at the most recent Celebration. However, when talking about the return of the crawl, Kathleen Kennedy stated that the crawl was for the movies, which makes the fact that this opening crawl appeared in a series a pleasant surprise. But why is it so exciting that the opening crawl has returned? Simply put, the more Star Wars there is, the more the opening crawl becomes necessary.

Star Wars is a vast, sprawling story that takes place over thousands of years, and it’s not being told chronologically. From its very beginning, the franchise began with the fourth episode in a nine-part story. From there, it went forward briefly, then bounced back to the beginning before jumping to thirty years after the Original Trilogy. Meanwhile, supplemental stories were being added to all different points on the timeline through books, comics, and video games.

With Disney cranking Star Wars production into high gear, we’ve gotten even more projects from all over the Star Wars timeline. Within the past year, we’ve gotten Ahsoka set in the New Republic era, Andor set before Rogue One and the Original Trilogy, Tales of the Jedi set during the Prequel era, and Young Jedi Adventures set in the High Republic era, hundreds of years before anything else. While dedicated fans are more than happy to research every detail about when a certain movie or show is taking place, the elaborate tapestry that is the Star Wars timeline can be confusing to more casual fans.

The opening crawl can help with this issue. Right at the beginning of Ahsoka, it is established in just a few sentences that in the grand Star Wars story, these events were taking place, and what the state of the galaxy is at this given moment. This might be obvious news for someone who has been eagerly reading every update about the show since it was announced, but for people who stumble upon the show while browsing Disney+, this helps catch them up quickly. As Star Wars continues to grow and attract new fans, every new project will be a potential entry point, and the crawl can be an instrumental tool in ensuring its success.