Aside from being the first theatrical Star Wars spin-off, there are a number of different ways that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be set apart from the seven movies that followed it. The biggest difference is that this will be the first film that won't follow the Luke Skywalker saga, telling a much different story set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. This will also be the first Star Wars movie that won't feature a musical score by John Williams, with Michael Giacchino taking over the scoring duties. It was recently confirmed that this movie also will be the first Star Wars adventure that won't feature an opening crawl, but, according to LucasFilm's Pablo Hidaldo, the opening crawl was never even part of the script.
Ever since 1977's A New Hope, the opening crawl set the Star Wars franchise apart from the pack, giving fans some insight into what happened in this galaxy far, far away that lead up to the events in this story. We first learned about the possibility that there won't be an opening crawl back in May, when LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy hinted that they wanted to exclude the crawl to keep that element strictly for the "saga films," although the crawl's exclusion wasn't confirmed until earlier this month by director Gareth Edwards. LucasFilm executive Pablo Hidalgo was asked by a fan on Twitter if there was any "back and forth" on the opening crawl dialogue in earlier versions of the script, but he revealed that it was never in the script to begin with. Here's what he had to say below.
The script never had one; always had the prologue. It was always a back-pocket possibility if the movie needed it. It never did."
What's ironic about the crawl's exclusion in Rogue One is that this story itself literally has its origins in the crawl for A New Hope, telling the tale of the Rebels who destroyed an Imperial base. Instead of a crawl, director Gareth Edwards revealed the film will open with a prologue that is set 15 years before the story, filling in some of the large gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The prologue will focus on young Jyn and her relationship with absentee father Galen Erso, who is taken away from their home by new villain Director Krennic to work on the Death Star. Jyn's mother will also be introduced in this opening, as she teaches Jyn about the force, giving her a Kyber crystal, a mineral that is used to fuel and power the Death Star.
What remains to be seen is how fans will react to the lack of a crawl. The early reactions to Rogue One were all incredibly positive, and the film currently has an impressive 84% score on Rotten Tomatoes, so it seems the critics weren't too bothered by it. The fans, however, may be a different story, given how iconic the crawl has become in this franchise's 34-year history. Still, the film is predicted to open huge at the box office this weekend.
Early projections revealed that LucasFilm was eyeing a $130 million domestic opening, while another report from yesterday claimed that the movie could surpass $350 million worldwide on its opening weekend. Only two films have had a bigger worldwide debut this year, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice ($422.5 million) and Captain America: Civil War ($379.5 million), but if the strong critical responses carry over to the fan base, positive word of mouth could push this spin-off to new heights at the box office. While we wait for the numbers to roll in this weekend, take a look at Pablo Hidalgo's tweet below, where he reveals there was never an opening crawl for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.