A lot has been said about the fact that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story doesn't open with a text crawl. However, since the screenplay for the film was written long before the decision to remove it was made, it turns out that originally the movie did have one. Director Gareth Edwards recently revealed that Gary Whitta's original script had the crawl because nobody told him not to include it. It was only later that the decision was made to remove it.
Discussing the opening text crawl appears to have been a fairly significant point of conversation for the movie. Gareth Edwards tells Empire Magazine that the first meeting that mentioned not having it took place six months before filming began. However, the first comments from Lucasfilm publicly only came about six months ago. At that point, Kathleen Kennedy said that they were still in the middle of talking about the text crawl, as well as other elements of the Star Wars franchise, and which parts should be limited to the main storyline. It would appear that while conversations started a long time ago, finding an answer was not a simple process.
It appears that all the conversation was worth it too. The lack of opening text in Rogue One: A Star Wars story is being talked about as much as CGI Peter Cushing. Fans have created their own opening text crawl since the movie didn't have one. The creator of the original crawl from Star Wars: A New Hope has made public comments about what a mistake he believed it was not to include one. This was clearly no small issue.
Eventually, Lucasfilm decided not to include one, apparently because they felt that since the plot of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was born from the original text crawl, it shouldn't have its own. It did open with A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.... which we now know has four dots after it, in case you'd never noticed.
The text crawl may continue to be an item of question going forward. While we, of course, expect Star Wars: Episode VIII to have one, the fact that the movie will pick up immediately after the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens would cause us to wonder exactly what information you would put into it if literally nothing has happened since the last movie. We'll know in December when the movie opens, in the way that we expect Star Wars movies to open.
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