As soon as the phrase "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" inches onto the screen, you know exactly what you are in for. As the triumphant score from John Williams sounds, you franticly peer at the screen for a minute, desperately trying to recap the plot of the previous film as the new #StarWars opening crawl passes you by. Along with Jurassic Park opening its gates or Ethan Hunt accepting his impossible mission, the opening crawl is a staple of cinematic tingles.
Every Star Wars episode from The Phantom Menace right through to The Force Awakens, has included the cosmic prose. Meanwhile, it was wildly divisive that anthology spin-off Rogue One didn't feature the signature opening crawl; however, not being one of the "main series" of films, you can't blame director Gareth Edwards for wanting his film to stand out. Luckily, #RianJohnson's #TheLastJedi will return to form with that raft of giant lettering and the iconic Star Wars opening.
Start As You Mean To Go On
While we are still in the dark about what Rian Johnson's opening spiel will say, we can only hope it will explain where the eff Luke Skywalker has been for the last 30 years. Although we know Episode VIII will pick up directly where The Force Awakens left us in 2015, Johnson told MTV that there is "still some stuff to set up."
A rough cut of The Last Jedi may have been called different to the previous, but at least we know that there will be one constant: Johnson confirmed that the opening crawl will stick to the classic three paragraph formula. Speaking at the Star Wars Celebration, the director teased:
“Even if it picks up right where the last one left off, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions about what the state of everything is. We were able to fill three paragraphs.”
Recapping The Story
The crawl will likely address the First Order's dramatic defeat and the loss of their Starkiller Base, the Rebellion's plans moving forward, and hopefully nods toward what Supreme Leader Snoke is planning and the tragic demise of Han Solo. We also need to know how the likes of Kylo Ren and Captain Phasma escaped The Force Awakens with their lives and where Finn is heading next. Phew, not that much to fit into three paragraphs, is it?
Introduced with A New Hope back in 1977, the opening crawl was an homage to the Flash Gordon serials of the '30s and '40s. Although the first iteration of the crawl went on for six paragraphs, Brian De Palma (as a friend of George Lucas) cut it down to the form we know today.
Lucas has said that the opening has to read like a poem, so expect Johnson to honor this legacy. Even if The Last Jedi is vastly different to classic Star Wars, at least we know that the opening crawl will still be the same. We'd better get the reading glasses out.