Rogue One: A Star Wars Story starts out like any other Star Wars movie. There’s the Lucasfilm logo and the famous “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” text. But then everything changes. There is no opening crawl. No cymbal crash of John Williams’ “Main Title” march. The action starts right away. The reason for this is to further define the film as a stand-alone movie.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, the whole film is technically a movie version of the text we saw at the beginning of Episode IV – A New Hope. In that crawl, we were told that a small band of rebels stole the Death Star plans during a battle and that’s exactly what happens in the film. Since that story doesn’t involve Skywalkers (at least directly, since we see both Darth Vader and Princess Leia in the film), it can be told outside the main saga films.
“You know, we’re in the midst of talking about it, but I don’t think these films will have an opening crawl,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Tonight back in July during Star Wars Celebration.
“The idea is this film is supposed to be different than the saga films…the whole crawl of it all — it’s funny people are fascinated on that,” Edwards also told ET at the same event.
In November, Kennedy also confirmed to Variety that the stand-alone films will not have opening crawls.
“We felt that’s so indicative of what those saga films are,” Kennedy told Variety. “Initially, we probably will begin the film in a way that is traditional, with just the title.”
Incredibly, the film didn’t even open with Star Wars in the title. After the prologue, Rogue One appears on the screen, but the subtitle A Star Wars Story was nowhere to be found. However, when the movie was over, it did conclude with the familiar Williams “End Title” opening. The rest of the film’s score was written by Michael Giacchino, marking the first time that a composer other than Williams worked on a Star Wars film.
Another big difference from all other Star Wars films is that we see text on the screen explaining what planet we are on. That certainly would have helped in The Force Awakens, since the planet names in that movie – other than Jakku – were only revealed in books.
The next time we see a Star Wars movie without the famous crawl is May 25, 2018, when the Young Han Solo Movie comes out.