When is a Star Wars film NOT a Star Wars film? If you listen to some die-hard fans, they'll tell you that a true Star Wars film needs to start with the title crawl -- the streaming text that establishes where a movie starts on a timeline, which is preceded by a blast of John Williams' signature score. But recent suggestions that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story might not open with the expected crawl has fans in a dither. Well, based on something that we managed to see at Star Wars Celebration in London, I think there's a solution that meets both sides in the middle.
First off, I think it's strange that Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story might not open with a crawl. From what Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy is implying, these standalone movies aren't Saga stories, and they company wants to come up with creative ways to help them stand apart. Save the crawls for Trilogy films. That makes sense. But Star Wars: Episode VIII doesn't need a crawl, as we now know it will open a few minutes after the end of The Force Awakens. What will it possibly tell us? Rogue One, on the other hand, needs to establish for casual Star Wars fans WHEN it takes place on the timeline... because I'm not sure people really know that this is an immediate prequel to Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope. Otherwise known as the original Star Wars.
There's a solution, and Disney actually used it at the start of its Rogue One Panel at Star Wars Celebration. The panel began with the title crawl FOR A New Hope. In case you haven't read it for some time, the crawl begins with this paragraph:
It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
Which is all of the set up/reminder that you need to be able to strap in and prepare for Gareth Edwards' Rogue One, which will follow a band of rebels, led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), as they steal those secret plans and aid the Rebellion... eventually leading to the events of A New Hope. During the Rogue One panel, after starting with John Williams' score and beginning the New Hope crawl, the screen scratched out, and the text was ripped off the screen as the Imperial Klaxon Siren blared, and it transitioned into Rogue One footage.
What better way to start this new movie?
By doing so, you satisfy the audience who wants to see a crawl before Rogue One. You quickly educate casual fans as to what story this movie is going to sell. And you give Rogue One a different, unconventional opening, which was Kathy Kennedy's hope. What do you think? Would that solution work? Weigh in in the comments section below.