It's official: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will not begin with the opening crawl, the slanted block of text that has started each live-action Star Wars film so far. Previously alluded to as far back as July, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy finally confirmed the film won't have a crawl in a recent feature with Variety. Both she and director Gareth Edwards have stated many times that it "most likely" wouldn't have the classic intro, due to it being the new standalone film, a movie that lives outside the central Skywalker Saga.
"We felt [the crawl was] so indicative of what those Saga films are. Initially, we probably will begin the film in a way that is traditional, with just the title," Kennedy said.
That builds off of what she's said before: the Saga films need to have their own signifiers aside from them always starring a Skywalker or two, and the crawl is one of those things. Of course, crawls have appeared outside the core Saga - most Star Wars video games begin with the crawl and the classic fanfare for instance, and given the fact they've been deliberating this since at least July, they've certainly taken that all into account.
So how might the film begin? Well, it's been described many times as a World War II-style war film, and many of those open right off with a major battle scene, leading to the title credits. There's also the possibility of what they used for the presentation of Rogue One at Star Wars Celebration Europe in London this past July. There, they started the opening crawl of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, but interrupted it with chatter and radio buzz, eventually dissolving it away entirely.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits US theaters December 16, 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "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."
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