There is no debate that Star Wars is one of the most influential franchises in the history of cinema. The property went from a doubted concept to a global phenomenon and has once again risen to the height of pop culture. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens helped rejuvenate love for the franchise, which majorly borrowed from previous films in doing so. However, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story veered from some of the regular Star Wars traditions by doing away with wiping transitions, a lack of Skywalkers, and most notably no opening crawl.
The lack of an opening crawl has been one of the most debated topics in the lead up to the film, but alas, viewers did not see one as they have with the previous seven movies. Fans who are upset about this decision are not alone as the original opening crawl creator has now spoken out about it.
The crawl in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was designed by Dan Perri and when THR asked him about Lucasfilm’s decision to not follow suit with Rogue One, he responded:
Frankly, it is a huge mistake, because the image is so iconic and it’s so important to tens of millions, hundreds of millions of fans. I couldn’t imagine it starting without that. It’s foolish.
While it may have seemed like a good idea at the time to further differentiate Rogue One from the saga films, this is a decision that has continued to receive backlash from more than just Perri. He makes a point about how iconic the combination of the opening crawl and John Williams’ infamous theme has become, which only further illustrates how embedded these aspects have become in the DNA of the Star Wars brand.
With this decision not being well-received at the point of announcement or now after audiences have seen an alternate style opening, it should be interesting to see if Lucasfilm switches their stance on not having a crawl in other standalone stories. The opening prologue to Rogue One plays as a crawl of sorts, and when that is combined with the backstory in Catalyst, there is evidence Lucasfilm provided the information that would have been in the crawl in a different manner. However, with a young Han Solo movie in the future and the promise of more standalone films after that, these will certainly not be the last conversations to be had in terms of implementing opening crawls in anthology films moving forward.