Star Wars: Gary Whitta's First Rogue One Draft Had an Opening Crawl
Despite some other claims to the contrary, Gary Whitta's (who received a story credit alongside John Knoll) very first screenplay for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story did have an opening crawl at the beginning. The crawl is a classic Star Wars storytelling element, giving fans a way to "catch up" as the stories tend to start right in the middle of the action. It's been used on all seven episodic films, as well as in several video games, and even in the front of many Star Wars novels, where they have those four sentences sitting in the middle of the first page. That revelation about Rogue One comes from Empire Magazine's spoiler-filled podcast interview with Gareth Edwards, recapping the making of the film from a post-release perspective.
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"At some point, probably six months beforew we were filming, we were in a meeting, and they talked about not having an opening crawl, because these are standalone films, not part of the sagas," Edwards said. The response at first was much like most Star Wars fans: incredulous. "If I'm honest, there was an initial kind of like, 'Whaaaaat? I want the crawl!'"
Eventually, obviously, he came around. The prologue sequence featuring the Erso family on La'mu and Director Orson Krennic coming for Galen was all the backstory they felt necessary for the film.
"The opening sequence is kind of the crawl of our movie. It's the setup. And our film is also born out of a crawl – the reason we exist is because of a previous crawl, so it feels like this infinite loop that will never end. It's a small thing to give up to get to do Star Wars," the director said.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. 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."