Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is breaking a trend that's been present in every live action Star Wars film since the franchise's inception: including an opening crawl. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed late last month that the first Anthology spinoff will not begin with that familiar text setup as the main Star Wars movies do. However, Rogue One will still kick off in a unique way by opening with a prologue instead.
Director Gareth Edwards explained to French website My TF1 how because the events in this movie are vaguely referred to in A New Hope, he and the cast and crew had to find a different way to differentiate Rogue One from the main Star Wars installments, hence choosing a prologue as the opening. As he put it:
There is no opening crawl. But there is a prologue at the beginning of the film that takes place 15 years before the action of the film and that is how the action is exposed. Our film comes from the text of Episode IV if we give the text, it would be endless. We really had to differentiate Rogue One from the rest of the saga.
If you've watched the recent Rogue One trailers, it's clear what will take place during this prologue. (Just to be safe, though, mild spoilers ahead!) There are scenes showing a young Jyn Erso watching her father, Galen, being taken away by Orson Krennic to serve the Empire. Another preview showed Jyn's mother, Lyra, given her a small crystal, which has been all but confirmed to be a kyber crystal, the artifact that powers a lightsaber and many of which powered the Death Star. One can presume we'll see these events unfold at the beginning of the movie, and then we'll snap forward to follow the adult Jyn Erso begin her adventure.
Whether you believe Rogue One throwing out the opening crawl is a good idea or not, that's one of the many ways this Star Wars movies is distinguishing itself from the trilogy entires. Still, one wonders if the other Anthology movies will follow suit by starting with a prologue. For instance, with the Han Solo movie, will we see the eponymous hero as a child before jumping forward to spend time with Alden Ehrenreich's iteration of the character. It would be an unusual move to leave an opening crawl out of Rogue One but include them in the other spinoffs, but not outside the realm of possibility. Of course, when all is said and done, this is only a few minutes were talking about. Once the blaster bolts start flying, then moviegoers won't have care about the opening crawl one way or the other.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, sans opening crawl, hits theaters on December 16.