Why The Opening Crawl Could Set ‘Rogue One’ Up As A Radical Addition To Star Wars

There’s something very special about Rogue One. From the moment it was announced we knew this wasn’t just another Star Wars story — set just before A New Hope, this film marks the first time Lucasfilm have branched out (in a live action movie) beyond the episodic saga to give a fresh perspective on this interstellar saga. This means that expectations are high for Rogue One, and the film faces a tricky Catch 22.

Rogue One cannot be too much like the saga films, because the point is that it stands apart. Yet it is still a Star Wars movie, and must fit with the aesthetic and themes. The trailer established a strong visual connection to the original trilogy, right down to the Rebel Alliance uniforms, and .

But not everything can be copy-pasted from the OT, and recently the subject of whether Rogue One should have an opening crawl came under fierce debate. This was catalyzed by :

“The crawl and some of those elements live so specifically within the ‘saga’ films that we are having a lot of discussion about what will define the [stand-alone] Star Wars stories separate and apart from the saga films. So we’re right in the middle of talking about that.”

Well, after the Rogue One panel at Star Wars Celebration, it seem as though Lucasfilm found the perfect solution to this issue.

Reinventing A Staple Of Star Wars

Shooting the opening for 'A New Hope' [Lucasfilm]
Shooting the opening for ‘A New Hope’ [Lucasfilm]

It may seem like a small thing, but the opening crawl is a good thing to discuss in regards to Rogue One — although it has become synonymous with Star Wars, opening crawls featured in many an introduction to TV shows , such as Flash Gordon, which George Lucas cited as an inspiration for Star Wars.

The crawl is beloved for many reasons, and even that lets you write your own opening crawl. But it is a tad formulaic, somewhat dated, and it’s very much a staple of the episodic Star Wars saga. Which is why Rogue One needed to do something different with it, and the method they may have settled on is guaranteed to give you chills.

The Rogue One panel was probably the biggest of Star Wars Celebration, as Gwendoline Christie invited the entire cast onstage to discuss the film. There were hints galore — not to mention — and we even caught a glimpse of some footage in the sizzle reel (the above video).

But before all this kicked off, something else was thrown up on the screen. To our surprise, we were introduced to the panel by the opening crawl from A New Hope, but with a thrilling twist.

Forget What You Think You Know

The classic opening crawl [Lucasfilm]

The classic opening crawl [Lucasfilm]

As we were forbidden from filming, let us paint you a picture. The text scrolls past the screen, as per usual, but there’s something different. Instead of the story we know, the words describe the mission embarked upon by a scrappy band of rebels, who set off to steal the plans to the Death Star. Or, it starts to tell this tale, but soon the crawl is interrupted.

The text jumps and splinters, as though the transmission has been disrupted by another signal. As the music dies out, the warning claxons from the Death Star itself blast ominously. The crawl fizzles and blinks, with a few words picked out individually. Then the camera zooms in close to the crawl, then through it, to reveal the Rogue One title card behind.

Star Wars Celebration [Collider]

Star Wars Celebration [Collider]

As you can expect, this was a truly thrilling experience, as the creative team defied the unexpected, and it seemed to put the subject of the opening crawl to bed — many of us assumed that this was a sneak peek at what we’ll see in movie theaters when Rogue One is released. After all, it’s the perfect solution to this issue, combining the classic crawl with the unsettlingly alternate perspective on the war offered by Rogue One. Even the way the crawl was interrupted was reminiscent of transmissions reported from behind enemy lines. But one pesky question remains…

Is This What We’ll See In Cinemas?

The answer: Possibly. After the panel, ET Online spoke to director Gareth Edwards about whether Rogue One would have a crawl, and his response was intriguing.

“This film is supposed to be different… this movie was born out of a crawl, and there’s this feeling that if we did a crawl, then it’ll create another movie. And so the honest answer is you’ll have to wait and see.”

Gareth Edwards on the 'Godzilla' set [Warner Bros]

Gareth Edwards on the ‘Godzilla’ set [Warner Bros]

Kathleen Kennedy also commented that this was still under discussion, and that the beginning of the panel “telegraphed” what they intended to do with the film.

As for the likelihood, it seems unclear as to whether the panel offered us a glimpse of how Rogue One will begin, or whether it was just a cool way to introduce the convention’s biggest event. We’ll have to wait for the movie to find out, but personally I’m hoping that they use the Celebration opening crawl for Rogue One, if only so that the audience gets goosebumps all over again.

Do you think Rogue One should use the opening crawl?

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MP staff writer. I talk about superheroes a lot. Sometimes I’m paid for it.