One of the most furiously debated aspects of Rogue One was its lack of an opening crawl. Star Wars purists believe that every film from the franchise should begin with this feature, while the team behind Rogue One argue that since the film was born out of the opening crawl for A New Hope, it would be peculiar if it did.
Ultimately, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story decided not to include an opening crawl. But it has now been revealed that an opening crawl for Rogue One was actually written by Gary Whitta. However, he and director Gareth Edwards differ in their beliefs that it actually ever made it into a draft for the film.
Gareth Edwards made this revelation regarding Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s opening crawl during a recent Reddit question and answer session. After being asked just how close the film came to including an opening crawl Gareth Edwards insisted that Gary Whitta actually had one in his first draft for the film.
“Gary Whitta actually wrote one in the first draft. You’ll have to pester him for it ;)…I do believe that those opening crawl words are actually floating out there in space somewhere. We just have to fund NASA well enough so their deep-space telescopes can find them, lets crowd fund it and make it happen.”
But it seems as though Gareth Edwards might have slightly exaggerated just how far Gary Whitta got with the opening crawl. That’s because the screenwriter later explained in an interview with Gizmodo that while he did write an opening crawl for Rogue One it never made it all the way into a draft of the film’s screenplay.
“Gareth misspoke. It was never actually in a draft of the script. It’s just in a document, like a story document that I wrote.”
Gary Whitta then went into more detail about why they decided against including the opening crawl in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, explaining that they asked themselves a series of questions about how to make the stand-alone Star Wars films unique, which included whether or not to have this feature.
“Literally in the very first days working on the film we were asking ourselves those questions. Like ‘What makes these stand-alones different? Do they have opening crawls? Do they have John Williams music? Do they have all the same furniture and trappings? Do you do the Kurosawa wipes? Or do find your own language?’ As we started to embrace the idea more and more that these films were going to be different, and they didn’t have to be beholden to all the same laws as the original films, we were like, ‘You know? We’re better off without it.'”
The decision to leave out the opening crawl provoked a furious response from Star Wars fans, who believed that it took some of the magic away from Rogue One.
Dan Perri, the title designer on the original Star Wars film who actually created the opening crawl for A New Hope, was one of the individuals who insisted that Rogue One made a mistake in leaving it out, as he told the Hollywood Reporter that it was “foolish” not to put it at the start.
“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.”
Gary Whitta admitted that he understood their disappointment, but he insisted that it was the perfect way to show that Rogue One was a brand new type of Star Wars film.
“And I understand there are some people out there that really want things the way they want them, and they’re upset there isn’t an crawl. But I feel like it was a really great way to make the bold statement at the very beginning, literally the very first frame of the film: This is not like the Star Wars films you’ve seen before.”
[Featured Image by Lucasfilm]