Star Wars has got a lot of iconic moments and visuals, but maybe nothing screams Star Wars more than the opening title crawl. From the second you see “a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away” and the music cues up, you know that this is a Star Wars film. These words come from an anonymous narrator, who I didn’t know about until today, but apparently he exists. The identity of this narrator has been a mystery since 1977, but know we finally have a face to match the words with, thanks to none other than the former master of all things Star Wars, George Lucas.
As reported by io9, on the set of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas had a conversation with his animation director Rob Coleman about the identity of the narrator. This information was then passed on to Chris Taylor, author of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe. In it Taylor writes:
The entire story of Star Wars is actually being recounted to the keeper of the Journal of the Whills—remember that?—a hundred years after the events of Return of the Jedi by none other than R2-D2.
I’ve never wondered where those words flying through space came from – though I have wondered if any space ships ever crashed into them – but this makes a lot of sense. R2-D2 is one of the only characters with a strong presence in each film, so he actually knows everything that’s going on. He also never had his memory wiped like C-3PO at the end of Revenge of the Sith, so he has knowledge about all the trilogies and the events leading up to the new one (he’s the only one who knew where Luke Skywalker was). The only hole in this theory is that R2-D2 is “rebooting” through most of The Force Awakens before he wakes up the end, so he wouldn’t have a personal recollection of that movie. Maybe BB-8 can take over for him?
This is another prime example of George Lucas’ words being transformed into canon. Basically, anything he says about Star Wars is taken literally. One famous incident is the origin of Obi-wan Kenobi’s planet. During a convention, Lucas was interviewed by Jon Stewart and was asked the name of Kenobi’s planet. Lucas jokingly replied, “Stewjon” (which is just a tuckerization of Jon Stewart). That off the cuff joke is now the official name of the planet. Now that Lucas isn’t involved with the franchise anymore, I wonder if his words will hold quite the same meaning.
You can next see R2-D2 recount his life story in Star Wars Episode VIII, which comes out December 15, 2017.