Rogue One doesn’t have an opening crawl — but should it?
"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.
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…"
Almost four decades after that now-iconic opening crawl introduced us to a galaxy far, far away, that same text serves as the plot inspiration for Rogue One, the first Star Wars spinoff. With the film hitting theaters this weekend, we're finally meeting those Rebel spies and seeing that battle firsthand, following Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) as she and her band of ragtag rebels take on the Empire.
But although Rogue One owes much of its existence to that original yellow-on-black text drifting off into the stars, the film doesn't have a crawl of its own. It does open with that equally iconic blue title card, promising that this story takes place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." (How could it not?) But instead of launching into John Williams' main theme and setting the scene in yellow font, Rogue One begins with a prologue, introducing Jyn and her scientist father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen).
It's a decision that Lucasfilm has been debating for a while now, and the final choice to skip the crawl sets the tone for any future standalone Star Wars movies going forward. (The still-untitled Han Solo spinoff is slated to hit theaters in 2018.) Because last year's The Force Awakens was a part of the big Skywalker saga, it got a crawl, but Rogue One is more tangential to that main story. Including the "galaxy far, far away" title card but eliminating the crawl reminds the viewer that yes, Rogue One is a Star Wars movie, but it's also something new.
"More than likely we will not have a crawl," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told EW in November. "We feel that that is proprietary with the saga films. But how this evolves…? We haven't fully decided, and [traditional Star Wars elements] may be pretty spare for this first one."
So was it the right decision? It depends on who you ask. EW.com editors Christopher Rosen and Jessica Derschowitz made their cases for each side in a Facebook Live video (embedded below), and now we want to hear from you. <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FEntertainmentWeeklyMovies%2Fvideos%2F729189930564810%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="" class="" resize="0" replace_attributes="1" name=""></iframe>
For more on Rogue One, check out the complete collection of EW's coverage here.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story