Lucasfilm

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Crawl Text Will Bring You Back To A Galaxy Far, Far Away

By
Ad failed to load

With the sole exception of Rogue One, every Star Wars movie begins the same way. There is darkness and silence, and then the words "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...." appear. The crash of cymbals, the fanfare of horns, the ringing of bells, and then John Williams' iconic opening theme kicks in while the long-awaited yellow scroll of text slowly floats across the screen. The first time the Star Wars: The Last Jedi crawl text appears on screen, it's is an emotional gut punch, an introduction to a Star Wars story told anew.

In George Lucas' original screenplay, he describes the text as such:

A vast sea of stars serves as the backdrop for the main title.War drums echo through the heavens as a rollup slowly crawls into infinity.
Ad failed to load

Those iconic "roll ups" which have since become the "Chapter Openings" for the Star Wars films are not just any old introduction either. For many hardcore fans, they are scripts to memorize and recite on command. So when a new writer comes on board at Lucasfilm/Disney, the prospect of writing the movie begins with the daunting task of creating those opening lines.

The prospect can be so intimidating that some choose not to write them at all. (See also, Gareth Edwards, deciding that Rogue One didn't need a crawl.) But for those doing the core trilogy, they're not optional. Prior to The Last Jedi's release, writer and director Rian Johnson admitted to The LA Times the concept of doing it nearly "petrified" him... but then he just got on with it.

So what is the opening crawl that Johnson came up with? (Or "roll up," to use Lucas' phrase.) Check out this footage from opening night, complete with fan reaction.

Ad failed to load

WARNING: Literal Spoiler Footage from Star Wars: The Last Jedi follows.

MovieFails on YouTube
Episode VIII
Ad failed to load
THE LAST JEDI
The FIRST ORDER reigns.
Having decimated the peaceful Republic, Supreme Leader Snoke now deploys his merciless legions to seize military control of the galaxy.
Ad failed to load
Only General Leia Organa’s band of RESISTANCE fighters stand against the rising tyranny, certain that Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will return and restore a spark of hope to the fight.
But the Resistance has been exposed. As the First Order speeds toward the rebel base, the brave heroes mount a desperate escape....

Trying to describe what it is to write a crawl like this, Johnson said that he found a behind the scenes clip with George Lucas talking about the earlier films, where he likened it to trying to write a haiku.

Ad failed to load
lord4SHOT on YouTube

Johnson said he realized what Lucas meant as he tried to edit his initial drafts down.

We didn’t finish the opening crawl and totally lock it until [just before the film was finished] actually. Because you’re like, ‘Do we need this word, do we need that word, what if we shift?’ It’s like a poem, there’s very little room for error in trying to get it just right. Which is awesome, it’s really fun.
Ad failed to load

So how did the opening crawl become such an icon? It wasn't exactly new. Lucas was calling back to old school 1940s and '50s Westerns, which opened the same way: an opening chunk of text, silent movie style. In fact, in an interview with Art Of The Graphic, designer Dan Perri name-checks Cecil B. DeMille's 1939 film Union Pacific as the opening that inspired the "roll up" effect for the graphic.

Mediocre Bowl on YouTube

Those plot expositions that set the scene are also where the habit of capitalizing certain important words in the text comes from as well. But by the 1970s, these early era films had dropped such openings, leaving Lucas to revive them for a science fiction generation.

Ad failed to load

The original crawl was actually opposed by 20th Century FOX when Lucas suggested it. They wanted a narrator to voice over the opening text instead. Thankfully, they relented after director Brian DePalma came in and helped Lucas streamline down the original text to what we know it today.

The icon was born. Eight movies later, those crawls are still getting applause when they arrive ahead of every new Star Wars film. Let it be ever thus.

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

Your Weekly Horoscope Is Here & Your World Is About To Be Filled With Sunshine

If you've had enough of the sleepy and heavy feeling associated with Taurus season, prepare yourself for a replenishing rush of fresh energy. As of May 20, the sun has officially moved into Gemini, and the weight on your shoulders will finally start …
By Roya Backlund

13 Must-Have Experiences You Should Buy In Your 20s, Instead Of A New Couch

Life is one big experience. When you hit your 20s, though, you start getting pulled in the direction of your responsibilities. It isn't totally a bad thing, but you don't want to get so wrapped into adulting that you forget life's zest. Amazing exper…
By Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

I Tried Kim Kardashian's Weird Beauty Obsession & I Can't Stop Taking Selfies

You've been there before: You're scrolling through your Instagram feed when you see your favorite celeb post about their favorite new product — a face serum, vitamins that will make your skin brighter, or a specialty food service. You can't help but …
By Stephanie Montes

Where You Should Vacation This Summer, According To Your Zodiac Sign

Summer is so much more than just sweating in 90 degree weather and enjoying a long, lazy break from school (if you're lucky enough to still be in school). It's a time for making exciting new plans, falling madly and hopelessly in love, opening your m…
By Roya Backlund

Wander or Bust: The Amalfi Coast May Just Be The Most Beautiful Thing You'll Ever See

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown. They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, a…
By Kaylin Pound

6 Brutally Honest Phases Of Life After A Breakup, Because You Will Survive 

If you've ever been through a bad breakup, you know that the struggle is real. For the weeks (or possibly months, if it was a really bad one) that follow, life can be rough, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Don't believe me? Just l…
By Rachel Shatto

Here's How You Can Find Out What Your Aura Color Is

Do you remember that movie Almost Famous? More specifically, the scene where William is trying to have a phone call with his mom, but a clairvoyant Band-Aid keeps shouting "Your aura is purple!" in his face? Well, that was the first time I had ever h…
By Roya Backlund

9 Women In Their 20s Reflect On The Advice They Wish They Had At Graduation

Graduating college can feel seriously scary. You've spent your entire life in school, working and preparing for the moment you enter the real world, but what happens when you get there? What if things don't go totally according to plan? You may have …
By Brittney Morgan

3 Early Signs You Are Going To Have Undeniable Chemistry With Your Crush

I don't know if there's anything better than the excitement of having a new crush — especially when that feeling's reciprocated. The butterflies that rush through your stomach as soon as they enter a room. The electricity that zips through your veins…
By Genevieve Wheeler

A Dentist Reveals The Best Times To Brush Your Teeth & It's Actually So Surprising

Do you brush your teeth twice a day? If you do, you're already way ahead of me, since I usually forget about brushing my teeth before bed at least three out of seven days of the week. I'm so bad about remembering to brush my teeth before bed, that I'…
By Caroline Burke

Emoji Pool Floats Are Here To Match Every Mood You’re In This Summer

Searching for the perfect poolside accessory to lounge around in this summer? This year’s hottest warm weather water trend isn’t a big floppy hat or designer sunglasses — it’s an emoji pool float. That’s right: Your favorite little digital expression…
By Rachel Murphy

Here's How Your Mood & Your Favorite Music Are Secretly Connected, According To Science

If you're someone who's likely to be found with ear buds in her ears at all times, you might not realize just how often you listen to music, or the ways in which it's really affecting you. From your morning commute to the tunes you blast while you co…
By Caroline Burke

This Is How Long It Takes For A Partner To Really Trust You, According To Experts

Trust is easily one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, but typically, it's not something that's fully there from the start because it takes some time to build. How long it takes for a partner to trust you is a question that doesn'…
By Tayi Sanusi

7 Things You Forgot To Thank Your High School Friends For & Should ASAP

Friends are a dime a dozen, but a solid, genuine group of girlfriends can be difficult to come by. When you find your tribe, you need to stick with them until the end. For some lucky people, your high school friends have been your besties since day o…
By Rachel Chapman

These 3 Zodiac Signs Will Have The Best Week, So Bask In The Glory

It's officially the second week of May, and the warmth of spring has finally arrived. The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the bright weather is allowing everyone to finally break out their favorite pair of shorts. If you think the gorgeou…
By Roya Backlund

7 Men Reveal What Attracted Them To Their Last Crush & They'll Make You Swoon

He reminded me of Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl. That's legitimately what I found appealing about my most recent crush. Sorry, but it doesn't get any deeper than that. In other instances though, when I'm not trying to live out my lustful, adolescen…
By Sydnee Lyons

A Relationship Expert Reveals His Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide

"Long-distance relationships are extremely relaxing and easy to navigate," said no one in a long-distance relationship ever. Whether you are bicoastal babes or a quick two-hour train ride apart, distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it also makes…
By Kimmy Foskett

How To Start Reading Tarot When You Have No Clue Where To Begin

I've been practicing tarot almost daily as part of my self-care routine for years. My favorite part of the day is putting on a face mask, pouring myself a blushing mimosa or some coffee, busting out a few crystals, and sitting down to spend a little …
By Minerva Siegel

7 Questions You Should Be Able To Answer About Your Life By The Time You Hit 30

Nobody has all of the answers in life, but you're probably pretty proud of yourself for how far you've come. Somewhere along the way, some of us got the hang of adulting and began to appreciate the unexpected things that come with being 20-something.…
By Marisa Casciano
)}